Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 35: Agua Dulce Hills to San Francisquito Canyon

The rain drizzled on our tent periodically throughout the night, but the ground was dry when we woke. Scattered clouds still hung in the sky, making the morning crisp and cool. Although the guidebook warned that the hike out of Agua Dulce is "dreadfully hot," we left camp wearing long sleeves.

The long sleeves stayed on for most of the day. After lunch I wished I also wore long pants, as we pushed our way through countless thickets of poison oak that had overgrown the trail. Contact with the thick bushes of poison oak was unavoidable, and an itchy rash is almost sure to follow.

Rounding a corner an arm bone and pink flamingo beckoned us to enter the Anderson's Oasis, a soda and water cache nestled in the shade of a grove of oak trees. Decorated in a Addam's Family meets Gilligan's Island theme, a three foot Frankenstein doll and a hanging skeleton guard the cooler of sodas. A teddy bear hung from a tree limb above the cache, along with inflatable palm trees, a Tiki doll, a Dora the Explorer, and a few spare bones. A circle of chairs provided a place for hikers to sit down and relax as they enjoyed their cold drinks.

Despite the hanging thermometer reminding us of the coolness of the day, none of the hikers we met wanted to pass by the cache. Instead, we each donned another warm layer and sat for a few minutes, enjoying the Anderson's hospitality, the company of the other hikers, and yes, the icy cold drinks.  We sipped cold drinks and chatted with a group of hikers, including our new friends Shutterbug and Anna (later named Northstar), who we had met earlier that morning.

It was early evening when we reached the road, and we did not see any camping near the trail. Reluctant to hike on much farther, we joined several other hikers camping at the ranger station just down the road. With soft, pine needle covered ground, picnic tables, and running water, the ranger station offered everything we needed for another comfortable night on the trail.

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