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DWTH Day 39: Cache Nero & The Cholla Spike in My Sandal

DWTH Day 39: Cache Nero & The Cholla Spike in My Sandal


👣 Miles: 8.37

📈 Elevation Gain: 1,729 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 89 ft

Overall Weather: Overcast, Hot

Lazy Cache Morning

Reburying the cache to pick up later with the van.
Reburying for Later Pickup

Since we dug up the cache at night, we took the morning as “rest.”  Last night, we only had the energy to ensure our 3 gallons of water still existed (none leaked). 

The thirsty push yesterday took its toll, so we just allowed ourselves the opportunity to rest. As we buried the caches, we thought we might need extra rest, so we made sure to have cache meals, snacks, and extra water to linger if needed. 

Our next water was 22 miles from here, so we wanted to spend the morning slowly drinking water. 

We spent about 20 minutes finding the cholla spike that went through the bottom of my sandal. It had broken off on the bottom and was not visible from the top. 

The cholla spike had repeatedly stabbed me periodically throughout the whole day yesterday. For some reason, the dirt road steps really made it stab more frequently last night. 

It took two of us, but we got it out eventually!

The Mid-Day Start

While it’s not ideal to start hiking on a hot day in the desert in the afternoon (even in the winter), it’s what our bodies want. 

We had a half liter of extra water from the 3 gallons, so we soaked our shirts for janky air conditioning. 

Washes and More Washes

A thru-hiker walking slowly uphill in a wash into desert mountains.
Wash Hiking

We took the jeep road all the way to its end: a wash. I know you’re probably surprised at this point that we followed a wash. 

Anyway, we went up a wash for hours. It was a trending uphill wash walk, sometimes fast and sometimes slow. This particular set of washes had some soft sand, frustrating rocks, catclaw (not an outrageous amount), and more compacted sand. 

We stopped for lunch and shade breaks periodically. 

At 2 p.m., we were so exhausted that we decided to take a short nap in the shade of a palo verde. 

After that, we decided it was time to listen. Since we’re both currently listening to audiobooks, we put one headphone in each and slogged uphill. 

Camping in the Pass 

Once we got to a certain spot, we had to choose to camp at only about 4 pm at a mildly reasonable but not great camp spot or hope there was enough space to camp on the pass. 

Sometimes, it’s doable to camp in a pass; sometimes, it’s not…total gamble. 

The shelf part-way down the descent looked like a decent backup plan if the pass failed. 

When we finally made it up the increasingly rocky and steep ascent, we saw the perfect “flat enough” patch to sleep. 

The mountains were spectacular and treated us to an amazing sunset.