We finally got the early morning start we were hoping for and set off in the dark with our head tourches on. We used a combination of finding the reflective CDT signs and the Guthook app to locate the trail in the dark.
As we crossed the wide open plain we had camped in last night we came across 5 horses. They were very unsure of our head tourches so we switched them off and Yeti used her horse whisper voice to get close to them wanting to recharge her energy with a bit of close contact with horses, the animal that she loves so much. Unfortunately our tourches had spooked them too much and she got to within two feet and then they took off.
As the sun crested the horizon we continued across the basin and just as we passed another water tank we scared a herd of antelope from their grazing. There were about twenty of them that ran right passed us. Just the day before I had asked Yeti what the differences were between Deer and Antelope and today I got to see first hand.
Mid morning we hit a little oasis. It had trees, birds, green shrubs and even some green grass growing amongst the red sand dirt. The only thing it was missing was water to make it a true oasis. We stopped for a foot break and watched the doves, finches and humming birds fly around us. Even though we had some good shade it was too early to stop for lunch so we moved on.
A couple of hours latter we found another tree and climbed under for our mid day siesta. I layed down in the cool shade and promptly fell asleep to wake about an hour later, hungry and ready for lunch.
Today, lunch was mashed potatoes with tuna and vegetables. A hot meal in the middle of the hot day is not what I would normally look for but after sitting in the shade for a few hours the temperature under our tree was pleasant. Both Yeti and I were already growing sick of the bars and things we had bought for our lunches in this leg so something different was appealing.
Around 3:30 Deb and Half mile came walking past and stopped for a brief chat. Deb said she had been looking under every tree to see if we were sleeping there after they walked right past us yesterday.
We started hiking around 4:30 wanting to get a few more miles in before camping for the night. We had several wells to go past in the next few miles so we figured we would hike to these, get some water and the continue on till we found a camp spot for the night.
Along side the road we came across the coolest old bulldozer. It was obviously built in a time when things were made to last. The hydraulic hoses and pipes were twice the normal size. The towing pin and plates it went through were about an 1.5″ thick and looked like they would never break. The seat was full of sticks and cactus bits but it was still in good working order and had signs of recent maintenance. I am sure it would be noisy as all hell to drive but it really appealed to the engineer in me, or is that the young boy wanting big toys? Yeti says it is definitely the later .
Yeti’s feet are hurting a lot and so while I stopped to take photos of my new favorite thing, the incredible old bulldozer, she continued to walk. Stopping and starting seems to hurt more than just continuing to walk at a steady pace. My excitement at seeing the bulldozer had me running to catch up until my body reminded me I was not a young boy anymore and running is not a good idea.
We made it to the solar well with about an hour of daylight left and filled up our water bottles. Yeti tells me if I wash myself and my now salt encrusted, white stained and very smelly shirt, we may be able to snuggle tonight. I quickly throw my shirt in the water dunk my head and start washing.
Snuggling is a nightly ritual for us normally. When we go to bed Yeti lies with her head on my shoulder, I rub her neck or back depending on which bit hurts today. We talk as I try to work the knots out of her muscles. I love this time of day. I love to touch and rubbing her skin feels delicious, soft and warm. I love to look after her and this feels like I am doing that too. Our snuggling time is very rewarding for me and not at all one sided as Yeti sometimes thinks.
After my complete wash in the cow trough I put my wet, cold shirt back on and we hike on down the road. The shirt I wear hiking is a quick dry fishing shirt and it is amazing at how quickly it dries. By the time we are 5 minutes down the road it is hard to tell it was dripping wet a short time ago.
Finding a flat camp site keeps us hiking for another 30 mins until we spy a spot off to the side of the road. The wind is blowing again but after last night we are becoming experts in setting up our tent in the wind.
I stand outside cooking our dinner in the lee of the tent watching an amazing night time sunset show. We are now surrounded by mountains in all directions. As the light changes, different mountains are highlight and then fade to that beautiful blue colour of the night sky. Hiking in the desert can be hot and hard but every day is filled with many moments of awe and wonder.