Daily Miles: 15

Total Miles: 235

We decided to set our alarms back to our original wake up time of 5:15am. It has been at least a week since we’ve gotten up that early, and today was still quite dark as we were ready to go. Hiking in the dark when we are doing cross country miles is definitely not a good thing to do. It was just a lot harder to see our footing, and it can be harder to get your bearings in the dark. As we were starting off, we decided that we would push our alarms back a half hour tomorrow.

The morning started with a climb up to the ridge. As we were going up, we came upon the first cairns of the Desert Trail. Apparently there is another association (not the one that created the ODT) which made a 12ish mile Desert Trail in this area that is marked with large rock cairns.

Most of the rest of the day was spent going from one cairn to the next. It was interesting though, that from multiple cairns, it was impossible to see the next one. Most of today’s miles were cross country travel. Even though we were following the Desert Trail, there wasn’t an actual trail to walk on.

A lot of the hiking today was walking along the slope of the mountains. That kind of side-slope walking is pretty hard on the feet. We were also pushing our way through sage bushes, a gnarly stretch of small mahogany and often walking on snow, which made things very slippery. This walking was generally very slow going…especially when walking on snow.

The weather today seemed quite fickle. The sun poked out a few times, but often it was behind clouds. We even got several snow flurries and a few rain drops at the end of the day. We were constantly putting layers on and taking layers off during the day. It cooled down really quickly this evening and we were all pretty cold by the time we stopped to camp.

The scenery today was really fantastic. It was great to be back in the mountains. A lot of the mountains had the look of a dusting of snow, and very snowy summits. It made for a very dramatic vista as we made our way today.

The miles came pretty slowly today, but luckily we were able to go a bit faster in the afternoon, as we found some game paths between cairns. In the late afternoon, we finally made it down to a dirt road that we had eyed at about noon from a couple thousand feet overhead. We are camped along it now and will continue on it tomorrow into the tiny town of Fields, where we’ll pick up our next resupply.

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