There’s only one thing on my mind when I open my eyes this moring: HOT SPRIIIIIIIIIIIINGSSSSSSSSSS. Gon get those two miles done. Gon get my soak on. Gon do that. Packity pack-pack, then soakity soak-soak. Awww. Yisss.
It’s a short-long two miles; I’m zooming along the trail, arrive to le hot springs around 7:30, and arrive to le holy crap actually hot-tub-warm water at approximately 7:32.
It’s so, so nice in the pool I’ve chosen – there are hotter and cooler pools like it, but this one is mine. Well, mine, and a few other hikers and locals’. We sit around, mostly staring into space, but also trading laughs and stories. There’s a bit of excitement as someone who’s stayed in the hot tub too long and had too little water to drink tries to stand – tries, and fails; recovers consciousness for a second, then is out and nearly careens their noggin into a rock. Shiloh, a former EMT, slips his hand between said noggin and said rock at the last second, much to the held breath of everyone in the pool. I come back to myself to find that I’m standing, one arm outstretched towards them. I sit on the edge, much more conscious of dehydration and the heat.
At 9am, I’m too hungry to stand it anymore, so it’s out of the water, stuffing my face with food. Another hiker joins me, then another, then another, and soon we’re all munching and crunching. I expect to see Moses coming down the trail at any moment, but he hasn’t arrived – he tends to sleep in when left to his own devices. My feet get itchy soon enough, though, so it’s packing up and heading off.
Winding around the knife’s edge of a trail around Deep Creek makes for a lovely morning. Not too hot, not too cold, just the right amount of solitude for this already social day – I get glimpses of people in front of or behind me, hop ahead of one person, but mostly, I’m alone.
Soon enough, we come to the end of the canyon, approaching the Mojave River Forks Dam. Open skies, here we come!
The dam itself is a giant piece of concrete with vague human settlements around it; I get into the trees and there are people lounging, eating. I make it to just before the first real climb of the day, park in the shade, talk to Spesh for an hour or so.
While I’m chatting, I give up my shady spot to Steffen for his siesta, find another one better suited for sitting to finish my conversation. Then it’s a magical day of contouring around hills – down into the meeting of the two hills, up to the edge of the next. It’s more monotonous than I expect.
Hours along, I meet Ütaag and Woodford and Adam on a break in a wee piece of shade; Shiloh and Tanya catch up, and then we’re kind of sort of a group moving towards Silverwood Lake.
Soon enough, we get to the power plant side of things, and I get a little turned around – the marker is hidden under an overgrown pine tree. Guthook’s app and Shiloh help me get sorted, and it’s a short highway walk to shade and Team Turtle’s trail magic – with fruit, and a register! I’ve found some of my friends! – and the last little up of the day before Silverwood Lake.
The lake itself is beautiful, and while I have an issue with still water, I fill up and treat from the lake itself. I don’t think I’m going to manage to make it to an actual campsite, but there’s a picnic area-looking place that I think will do.
There are hikers already there – it’s a boat-in picnic area – eating, selecting spots to sleep. Most people opt to cowboy camp in the area or set up on the beach; I wander around, indecisive, until all the good spots are gone, and I have to set up my tent by the privy in dirt so hard my stakes won’t go in. My tent is kind of freestanding – it almost blows away once, but it works – but the wind gives it a kind of ethereal quality for the evening. We all eat and watch the sunset until the hour puts us to bed.
Start: 306.0 • End: 326.4 • Day: 20.4
Notable Accomplishments: Soaked in Deep Creek Hot Springs • Managed a 20 having soaked in Deep Creek Hot Springs • Found a few friends in Team Turtle’s registe