Distance walked on Day 1: 19 miles (me), 21 miles (Mick)
So, 1600 came and the temperature was feeling a little more manageable (30 degrees under our shady tree), and a nice breeze had sprung up. A good time to try the hill again, we thought.
The first three-quarters of a mile were okay, but the temperture was still outrageous and soon I was overheating and questioning why I ever thought this walk was a good idea.
The next two miles were the hardest two miles I have ever walked and I hated just about every step of them. We adopted a strategy of 20 minutes walking followed by 10 minutes sitting in the shade.
By 5pm the sun had moved enough to give some shade on the trail every now and then, and by 6pm not only had we crested the hill and were coasting down the other side, but the temperature had dropped to a slightly more manageable level.
Spunky Canyon was where we were walking at this point, and our objective was simply to get down to the water cache at the bottom and find somewhere to camp.
It's stange the way that really low points are followed so rapidly by a high point, or vice versa. Reaching the water cache we found not just water, but a cool box full of iced water containing cans of pop and a 'room' under the trees containing a few deckchairs, a library of books for hikers' perusal, and various decorations. It was a fantastic way to end what had been a very hard day (heat + jetlag + sleep deprivation + lack of food don't create the best hiking conditions!).
Having enjoyed cold pop (I cannot describe how good it is to find an unexpected cold pop when you're in the middle of nowhere) we walked all of 5 yards further before pitching the tent on the side of the trail. We would have gone into some woods off to the side, so as to be out the way, except that seems to be where people 'use the restroom', and it was apparent that not everyone carries a trowel to bury their waste.
It's probably not generally advised to go out on a 5-week trip with a tent that you've pitched before (in fact, we'd never even seen one in the flesh before!), but it was straightforward and everything was present and correct. True to the advertising it went up quickly and our initial verdict is that although it's a bit narrow for two of us to sit up at the same time, it looks like it will be eminently suitable for this trip. We particularly liked the ability to tie back the porch doors, leaving the mesh sides of the inner exposed. And that's how we spent the night, with a gentle breeze blowing through the mesh. It must have been comfortable, as Mick tells me that within 30 seconds of lying down, I was snoring (and I don't usually snore!).
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