Saturday, March 31, 2012

Failed at backpacking.

This is me last Tuesday morning about one mile into my hike. As much as I would love to brag about hiking all 20 miles I started just prior to mile 19 and went about 8 miles into the desert. I just love to lie on facebook.

This is my buddy Margot. Photo taken at the very beginning of our trip - miles before we realized the "adventure" we were really about to have.

We thought we were far more badass than this hike would prove us to be.
Example A: We didn't even make it to our destination of Quail Mountain - the tallest mountain in Joshua Tree National Park. We got tired. It was only about 70 degrees out, but bear in mind the sun is on you all day in the desert, you never hike through the shady pines of home.
Margot on a fallen Joshua Tree

Our journey started off in the flat desert, looking like the photo above for the first half of the hike. Eventually we came into a beautiful mountain valley where we stopped for a lunch break and chased after a legitimate mirage of water (to be fair it had rained in Palm Springs a few days ago). After lunch we didn't make it too far, we had been hiking about 4 hours and both of us were exhausted! We decided we wouldn't make it the rest of the way and started looking for a camp site.  Unfortunately the mountains were steep and about a mile later we still hadn't found a bare spot in a flat area and had to campe in a wash. This is something we had specifically been told not to do, due to the rare floods that occur, but we were so tired we risked it. This wash had two levels to it and we were on the upper level, also, it mostly rains in august , rarely in March.

This is our tent. It was cold as balls. We should have put on the rain cover to help retain heat, but we wanted to see the stars. Once we set this up, both of us passed out in the afternoon desert sun for a good hour. Once that sun dipped below our mountains, you could feel the temperature drop rapidly! I pulled out my propane to make dinner only to discover it didn't fit my stove. We carried out a stove and propane for no reason and I had to have an apple for dinner.

The rest of the night was spent awake and cold. I was in a regular womens sleeping bag made for camping in 25 degrees and considering how cold I was, I cannot imagine being poor Margot in a kids sleepin bag. This comfy looking sand felt like cement and we spent all night trying to fool our bodies into comfort so we could get much needed rest. By 3 AM we were so cold that we actually shared sleeping bags and had to cuddle for warmth - like in that Seth Green movie.

We probably should have put the rain cover on by this point, but we were too cold - oh and also we brought a mini, dying flashlight.

As soon as the sun came up the next morning, we ate my oatmeal soaked overnight in cold water (due to that stove issue) and curtailed it home! Our hike in took 4.5 miles, but on the way out we refused to break under 2 miles and we got out in a little over 3.5 hours.

The desert wasn't very pretty. It all looked the same. I miss my forests, campfires and sleeping pads.

Don't go hiking in Joshua Tree.

The end.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sitting in Cafe Moro laughing in a way that may make the other people here wonder about me. I'm sorry you had such a bad time out there, but it sure makes for an interesting story! I especially love that you chased a mirage. Someday I'll have to tell you the story about how Michael and I looked for a trail for [what seemed like] hours when we backpacked the Lost Coast last spring. I cried a lot and threw a tantrum like a little kid--not one of my finest moments. It asbsolutely sucked at the time, but does provide some humor in hindsight.