Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 4: Pioneer Mail Trailhead to Rodriguez Water Tank

The winds howled over the ridge all night, undoubtedly the precursor to the storm predicted to blow in today. But sheltered in our tent under a large oak tree, we had a very comfortable night. We woke to a chorus of bird calls.

The climb out of camp traversed the side of a rocky ridge, with rugged red rock formations and incredible views of the surrounding mountains and the desert valley floor. Unfortunately, this section of trail is near the Sunrise Highway, and it has been marred by ugly graffiti painted on many of the rocks. I hurried through, successfully avoiding having to explain some of the cruder graffiti to my 8 year old daughter.

Continuing down the trail, we passed through fragrant corridors of purple and white lilac bushes. The rocky hillside was also dotted with a rainbow of other flowers. Our travels through this area were accompanied by the rather disconcerting drone of a swarm of hungry bees hovering over the flowery shrubs. Fortunately, we neither look nor smell like flowers at this point in our hike, so the bees left us alone.

Lunchtime was also school time. Although there is lots to be learned while hiking, some subjects, such as math, work best at break time. So Sierra took time at lunch to read on her Kindle (courtesy of her grandparents) and to work on multiplication and long division.

The afternoon found us slowly meandering along ridge tops, before descending past colorful flowering cactus and prickly ocotillo plants to our camp here by the water tank at the Rodriguez Spur Truck Trail, the only water source in the 16 miles we hiked today. This is arid country. Most hikers plan their camps around the limited water sources, so there are several other hikers camped here with us today.


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