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DWTH Day 37: We’re Depending on Tinajas and Rain From 2 Weeks Ago

DWTH Day 37: We’re Depending on Tinajas and Rain From 2 Weeks Ago

Stats

👣 Miles: 12.51

📈 Elevation Gain: 3,681 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 1,670 ft

Overall Weather: Partly Cloudy, Hot

Hot Night

We awoke to our internal clock, this time at 5 am, because now we’re on California time. 

Neither of us slept well because we could barely be in our sleeping quilts. We needed them half on for the wind that snuck under the tarp, but otherwise, we sweated. 

It made it for an easy get-up-and-get-moving morning. 

For the first 3 miles, we mostly walked old mining roads to the usually dry Whipple Wash. 

Finding Water

A large Tinaja of water in the desert hidden in a canyon.
Tinaja Life

We reached the first water waypoint to find zero water. We walked up the wash on route for about 0.1 before we turned around and walked the quarter mile off trail to more reliable Tinajas. 

Indeed, right where BT said there would be water, we found a burro-dug seep and two large tinajas. 

We chose the one with fewer swimmers and loaded up. 

Here, we didn’t quite know what to expect since the last water report update happened two weeks prior. That was also about 4-5 days after the last rain (our sufferfest day). 

While it was supposed to rain on our zero, barely anything happened. I pinpointed this wash on the Open Snow map, and it claimed 0.04 inches of rain fell. That’s better than nothing, but certainly not reliable. 

Moving up the Wash

Desert mountains, green and alive from winter rains.
Whipples View

Holy shit, BT was right to call it a treat (minus the water difficulties)!  A beautiful canyon with fun, easy scrambles throughout. 

We found another tinaja a little further than we went earlier, and I made a waypoint for the water report. That one could be around for a bit. 

As we progressed up the wash, we found many dry puddles that had just dried up maybe only a week ago. We did find a few extra puddles, some better than others. 

Early Lunch

We went to what we thought would be the last water for about a 30-mile gap and took a long break. 

We found a large burro-dug seep (that they nicely pooped to the side of and not in) and a fabulous large tinaja. 

There, we cooked lunch. Neither of us wanted to carry the 2/3 of an extra liter to cook later, so we drank about 3/4 of a liter each and filled it back up. 

We saw the last puddle as we walked up to the last pour-off scramble. And…right above it, a burro carcass. That water in the last puddle likely ran through that carcass…that’s why you filter your water!

The Heat Got Turned On

As we left the water, it got hotter and hotter. 

We took frequent shade breaks until right before the climb out of the wash (and most of the shade). 

We decided to wait out some of the heat so we didn’t down all our water on a hot, steep climb. 

The Climb Out

Taking a break at a view point with a woman's sandaled feet in the photo.
Taking a Breather

We started by climbing 400 ft in 0.2 miles with the occasional help of a random burro switchback. 

Our nap allowed this particular climb to become shaded, which helped immensely. 

Eventually, we gained the main ridge we needed and found more burro trails here and there. It helped some, but it was still a steep-ass climb at the beginning of a huge water carry. 

While the mountains and views were stunning, we wished the route here had more access to water. Relying on seasonal tinajas for a whole small section kinda sucks. 

The ridge bobbed up and down and sometimes went through cholla gardens and loose rock. I picked up a decent cholla on my right ankle that took me a second to pick out of my leg. 

Another Burro Camp

A desert sunset over a ridge with the moonrise.
Sunset Vibes

It seems as though the burros used to like sleeping up on this ridge. 

We found multiple burro-cleared spaces perfect for two-person tents. 

Eventually, we found one where we could have our heads facing the wind and the slight downward slope toward our feet. Our tent deals with wind better that way. 

Just after sunset, we got everything set up and watched the full moon rise. 

We had peanut butter and jelly ciabatta rolls for dinner and tried to sip our water slowly since we still had many miles to go to our cache.