5/23/17 – Snake Dancing 

Day 30
Miles: 421.24 to 436
So many times along the trail we said:

“If they put a cooler here with soda for $1.00, they could make some money.”

Today we finally found somebody who had that idea. I don’t think he is getting rich of that though, the money collected from the sodas go to the purchase of the next batch and also water (lots of water) so that the thru hikers after us can too benefit from the water cache on this long dry stretch.

Last night was quiet and calm and our small tent city started to stir around 5:00 a.m. An hour later Dave and I were the first ones to hit the trail.

In the beginning, the trail was taking us down a mellow slope, and here we got our first glimpse of the desert we were descending into. 

In five miles or so, we run to a spring still flowing, an advantage of high snow year, and filled our bottles up for the next 10 waterless miles. 

Right after the water stop, the trail started its daily climb. Today with only 2000 feet of elevation gain was more pleasant than yesterday’s climb and even though the sun was hot from the moment it touched us, hiking actually felt much easier. 

We saw a plethora of flowers today in variety of colors. The most memorable were big bunches of bright pink blooms that lined the trail in many spots.

Poodle Dog Bush bloomed for us too today. It was plentiful and just like yesterday it often grew very close to the trail. It’s appearance became less frequent in the last couple miles but it was promptly replaced by poison oak. 
Apart of blooming plants, we saw a decent amount of wildlife too. Lizards mostly, and two snakes, one of which I nearly stepped on. I made series of jumps when it moved just where my foot was about to land, from a distance it must have looked like sort of a very retarded dance. It worked, it gave the snake enough time to retreat to safety.
Our second snake of the day was spread across the trail and it lay completely still. I was on a watch for Poodles and if it wasn’t for Dave asking: “You know you just stepped over a snake?” I would not have an idea it was there. Luckily it wasn’t a rattler. If it were I would still be shaking and would not be able to type this blog entry.

In the evening we spotted couple deer near North Fork Ranger Station where we camped. It grazed on a slope we descended earlier. According to the ranger it was a black tailed deer.

Our afternoon and evening involved lots of relaxing by the ranger station. We drunk $5.00 worth of the sodas offered here and later cooked some Ramens for dinner. There was no need to go to bed early tonight as tomorrow we are likely to only do a nero (nearly no miles day) to Acton KOA where we’ll celebrate our one month on the trail.