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DWTH Day 17: 2nd Cache & A Floppy-Eared Dog

DWTH Day 17: 2nd Cache & A Floppy-Eared Dog

Stats

👣 Miles: 17.17

📈 Elevation Gain: 951 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,050 ft

Overall Weather: Cool, Windy, Sunny

Morning Cruise

For the first few miles of the morning, we cruised downhill on a dirt road. It was cool enough out that I used my pogies for the first two miles of it. 

We had great cell service at our camp last night and the whole walk to our second cache. Why? Because we’re headed right towards Highway 8. 

It’s an interestingly odd landmark that I’ve come to watch for on thru-hikes, usually off the North-South variety. You can often gauge your progress in either direction by the numbers of the East-West interstates. 

For example, hiking the CDT, you cross i10, i40, i70, i80, and i90 going nobo. 

This route is a little funny in that regard, but they still prove interesting progress points. Here, we cross i10, i8, i10 again, i40, and i40 again. 

The Floppy-Eared Dog

You know it’s a good day when you can pet a dog!

All of a sudden, before we hiked cross-country for a while, we ended up walking by a spot on iOverlander, a popular van life app. 

A woman and her dog were suddenly walking on the road toward us. We smiled and waved. 

As she passed us, she asked, “Are you guys thru-hikers?”

We’d been recognized…either by our gear or our smell…we didn’t ask. 

“Yes,” we responded and explained what we were up to. She kindly offered us some food and told us her friend Spice Rack just completed her triple crown. Neither of us had met her, but it’s always worth a try. 

We were impressed that she knew her friend’s trail name. So often people ask us this same thing and tell us their given name and we stare blankly. 

Her name was Arica and her dog with the biggest floppy ears was Gracie. We got to pet those floppy ears and it made my day! 🐶 

Cache #2

We got to our second cache right at lunchtime. Aside from camping at a cache, lunch is the next best time. 🪣 

It was still well hidden and perfectly dry, despite the 3 storms since we buried it. 

We found a good spot nearby and sorted out all the food. 

Cleverly, we had a cache meal and another Dr. Pepper Cream Soda to split inside for a treat. This one also had a new canister of fuel in it since we thought that would be hard to get in these small towns. 

We stayed for about an hour and a half sorting, eating anything extra, and drinking water that we didn’t have to filter. Ahhh, the life. 

Then, we reburied it for our return road trip later. 

Some Rocky Cross-Country

With newly heavy packs (thanks to the cached food), we crossed the highway and quickly began some rocky cross-country. The navigation was fairly simple, but the steps were all different, and many of the rocks moved. 🪨 

It was so starkly different from the relatively easy cross-country that we hiked in the morning using a prominent peak for a line of sight. 

Unsurprisingly, we found quite a few more stashed or trashed migrant items. We saw more baby powder (a yellow travel-size bottle seems preferred), backpacks, wool blankets, and some totally done sneakers. 

Evening Water

We got to the water source for the day in the evening. 💦 

No hunter was there like the water report suggested there might be. They had made a blind, but not nearly as intricate as the last two. 

It’s funny because we’ve seen plenty of quail (what they’re hunting) but none have been near the water sources! And believe me, I’ve been looking. 

Since we had a bigger water gap again, we made sure to drink and fill up. 

Camp

We figured we’d aim for about a mile away from the water source because that’s about all the sunlight we had left. 

We debated night hiking a bit, but we were on a section of old mining roads closed to vehicles. When I say old, they’re old. While easy enough to find in the day, neither of us felt like it at night. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Karma Found is a “flat enough” spot up off of the mining road away and we called it there. 

As we ate dinner, he put on a podcast called “Real Survival Stories.” This particular episode of it was set in Joshua Tree National Park. And wow, we picked that one apart from the beginning. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I prefer the podcasts that dissect where they went wrong better…I think it helps others make better decisions, but the narrator was good.