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DWTH Day 40: The Wind Took Out a Tent Stake

DWTH Day 40: The Wind Took Out a Tent Stake


👣 Miles: 16.88

📈 Elevation Gain: 558 ft

📉 Elevation Loss: 2,192 ft

Overall Weather: Overcast, Warm

A Super Windy Night

When we set up last night, we had a light wind. Enough that we added the extra stake-out of the head section. But we didn’t want to disturb the area a ton by loading the stakes down with rocks. The breeze wasn’t bad…

That is, until 12:20 a.m. when the wind picked up enough to rip a tent stake out. Karma held the pole upright while I got out, hammered the stake again, and found a large rock to go on top of it. 

To be fair, we were only using my vestibule because a cholla lay in wait immediately on Karma’s side. 

Needless to say, we slept like shit. 

The wind eventually calmed down, but it kept waking us up periodically. 

“Trust the Sheep”

Descending some rocky slopes in desert mountains.
The Start of the Descent

When we got up an hour later than normal, we started off following a bighorn sheep path sans sheep. 

I kept my eyes out, but those desert bighorn sheep can be elusive. 

The comment on the waypoint marking the bit of trail was, “Trust the sheep.”  As in, this decent is going to suck, and you should follow the ones that know how to move here. 

No problem. The sheep took us to a shelf ledge further down. That may have been a better campsite, but we didn’t know that. 

The rest of the descent was one of those steep, loose, and rocky numbers. 

However, we didn’t like BT’s line here. We tried it, looked around, and followed the sheep again. We followed the sheep one drainage beyond where the GPS line went and found a different way down. 

The line notes were as described: steep, loose, and rocky. 

The drainage the sheep went to had significant bedrock—basically, solid footing. It had a few rocks on it, but you could easily kick them off and have good steps most of the time. 

The drainages connected, and we followed the washout. 

“I’m Testing the Limits of This Thing!”

Our wash took us to a 4WD road. There, leaving the trailhead where we were heading, was a Ford SUV of some sort. 

This guy was definitely out for an adventure as he went right down some steep shit the vehicle probably should not have done. Like the stuff that you can get down, but can you get back up? Questionable. 🤨 

Either way, we stepped out of his way. He stopped and talked with us for about a minute. His intro to the conversation was, “I’m testing the limits of this thing!”

Then, he looked us up and down, staring blatantly at our sandals, then asking, “Uh, you guys got enough water?”  He’s been the first person out in a vehicle of any kind who’s actually asked us that, and we really appreciated it.  We actually had enough and said so. What we would have given for that two days ago coming out of the Whipples, though…

If he asked us that, we figured he would have enough water if he got stuck. He seemed in shape enough to walk out for help if needed. 

Some Single Track

Panorama view of remote desert mountains.
After the Single Track

After the first person we talked to in 5 days besides each other, we got on an actual trail for about a mile. 

It was even rock-lined. 🤯

It had some crazy legend about gold being left under an arch, but there were hundreds of small arches. It sounded like BS to me. 

Either way, it walked us by several prospecting pits and holes. 

It also took us by a rock formation that the map called “Mexican Hat.”  However, after we walked away from it in the next wash, it looked more like a turtle’s head than a hat. From the back view, it had a head, shell, and a pointy, angled tail. 🐢 

Some Sprinkles

A bighorn sheep skull.
Bighorn Sheep Skull

We got a few sprinkles on the way out into the next wide valley. 

It was not significant enough rain to make any potholes or tinajas, but enough to pull the umbrella out a few times to block my face. The drops dried so quickly that we didn’t bother with rain jackets or pack covers. 

I had checked the forecast radar, and it looked like storms were traveling across the route ahead of us, so 🤞 for full guzzlers and Tinajas.

A Long Sandy Road

A thru-hiker making some miles through a valley on a sandy dirt road with the sunset.
Sunset Miles

Our day ended with a long, sandy road through a wide valley. 

After the poor sleep, we weren’t trying to crush any miles.  Our feet have become a bit tired of washes and sand, so we took a lot of breaks to look around. 

Eventually, we got a beautiful sunset over the next mountain range, and we found a flat enough campsite. 

Loral Ann

Friday 31st of May 2024

You are a great writer. Thank you for sharing your journey.


Saturday 1st of June 2024

Thank you Loral Ann! I promise I'll get the rest of these daily posts out at some point 😂

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