We wake up and there is condensation on the top of the tent. It drips onto my face and I’m annoyed. I don’t mind waking up to the cold, or rain. But, condensation in the tent is the worst. Lupine removes the rain fly and drapes it over a giant boulder in the sun.
As we sit eating breakfast, and drinking coffee the sun slowly rises, shedding light onto the bushes and shrubs that surround us. The birds sing in delight. We notice an ant hill to our left with no ants yet awake. Outside their hill we notice how they’ve excavated larger stones from their tunnels. We suspect the ants will soon wake up once the sun hits their hill. We finish eating and pack our bags, periodically checking on the colony. By the time we leave the camp they are still nowhere to be seen.
It’s cool outside and there is a layer of mist hovering over the hills. The trail climbs up into the myst, cooling our skin as we climb. We wind along rolling hills that are surprisingly green for the desert.
We drop onto a dirt road that runs along a row of giant power lines. We cross underneath them as they sizzle with the moisture in the air.
Then we climb up and around, slinking through the hills, the mist separating around us. We come to an edge I peer over, careful to watch my step. It’s a canyon with dirt walls. The thought of the dirt giving out pulls me back from the edge. We stand and watch as the clouds blow up over the lip of the canyon, then twist and roll like a wave. We turn our backs, too cold to watch for long, eager to get to town.
Upward we climb through switch backs. I spot purple Lupine flowers blooming all along the trail. From desert to alpine, anywhere in between, these blooms seem to thrive. They provide a suitable trail name for Rachel.
As we crest the top of a hill, we stop again to admire the canyon below, and the view. At our feet we notice a colony of ants, spread throughout a large dirt bank aside the trail. We watch them as they work. I notice several carrying large sticks and lengths of grass. They carry their treasures back to their hole, and easily maneuver their cargo inside. I’m amazed by their efficiency. Occasionally a large gust of wind blows the ants around and they right themselves and continue what they were doing. They’re interesting creatures I remark to Lupine.
As we descend I’m reminded by the landscape of sand castles in the sand. There are sections where hills have given away and only dirt walls stand. We walk below the knifes edge of a ridge descending, descending, descending, then entering between a canyon. The canyon is pretty and quiet. A creek runs down the middle. We spot poison oak along a bank and carefully walk around it.
Suddenly the canyon opens to a raging highway. We’ve arrived at Interstate 15. We are overwhelmed by the noise of cars. I stand at a picnic table silently watching them all, hypnotized by the scene. We join a road and walk up it past heaps of trash, and litter blowing in the wind. A line of cars stretches into the McDonald’s parking lot. Trash is strewn everywhere. It’s just a temporary stop along the highway. A concern for few if any of the travelers passing through.
We walk to the intersection of I-15 off ramp and highway 138 where we must cross and then walk along a narrow shoulder over I-15 to get to the hotel on the other side. We calculate the traffic, cross quickly and make our way.
Our rooms are not quite ready, so we decide to walk to the Subway across 138. Another hiker, Chef, who we met before arrives and tells us he will meet us there as well. As we approach the highway we spot Horse steadily making his way across I-15. He decides to join us as well. We all wait for a safe moment, then all four run across the highway.
When we return to the hotel with sandwiches and junk food in hand, our hotel rooms still aren’t ready. The four of us all sit outside eating our sandwiches in the wind and sun, waiting to shower. I hear a strange noise over my left shoulder, “lump, lump, lump” and turn my head to see what it is. A car is driving through the hotel parking lot, with two left tires falling off, riding on the rims. I look to my colleagues and back to the vehicle. Is this real? We all watch perplexed as to what we’re watching. The truck drives to the intersection then drives across 138. Perplexed, we continue chatting.
Two more hikers show up and offer us a beer from a 12 pack of Coors Light. Chef and I each take one. Soon our hotel rooms are ready and we each disappear to recover and wash our laundry.
Since the laundry machine is broken, Rachel and I wash our clothes in the tub then pay to use the dryer. Mission accomplished.