Water: 1L from Cottonwood creek cache; cameled up plus almost 4L from creek; small bottle from Club cache
All night the turbines spin out the endless mechanical roar of an airplane taking off. Wind slams into my sleeping bag, puffs it with air, throws sand in my face. I worry that my shoes are going to blow away and check them repeatedly in the night.
Morning brings sleepy hikers. Lots of lightweight tents pitched on loose sand kept collapsing on their occupants in the night. I move slowly this morning, feet swollen and tender with yesterday’s effort. The first six miles take an eternity.
Today is another SoCal special: four thousand feet of exposed, no shade elevation gain, while carrying twenty four hours worth of water. More bits of burnt forrest. Fun. I am starting to understand why many elected to skip ahead to the next town or even the Sierra. At least it is not as hot as it could be, only the high seventies I think. And there’s a water cache at the top, with chairs. Real chairs to sit on!
In the early evening I reach the other side of the mountain. There are a few turbines here too. From one wind farm to another, I think. Suddenly, I pass over a ridge, and there are hundreds of turbines, lined up like some science fiction army, occupying hills with endless ranks of backup in the valley below. I gasp audibly at the spectacle of it all in the rich evening light, a kind of green energy sublime.
The sun is near setting, and I have’t found anyone to camp with. Right. Second night in a row, I am wandering through a wind farm alone in the dwindling light. An abundance of “Private Property” and “Danger Wind Turbine” signs. Too far, but not far enough from town. I pass a campsite. It is empty.
But, again, just in time, there are friends with tents pitched just before the road. And the sun is not yet even fully gone down.