The Church at Peach Tree and Indian Valley Rd

22-Apr-17, written on paper to conserve battery

Normally, I would stop Saturday night, and stay over Sunday in a town, to attend services. That town was to be San Miguel today.

boiling water
Boiling water on my camp stove in the morning for coffee.
sweats as hat
I didn’t bring a hat, but if it gets cold, I can improvise with my sweats. The legs go around my neck like a scarf.
Not far up the road, there was a detour. Not a big one, just around the slide area.

About 8 miles outside of the Pinnacles, I met Lewis, a walker. He had dress pants on, and was carrying a trash bag as well as his backpack. He was well-spoken young man of color, but wary of betrayal, and didn’t want to take any food or water from me, and didn’t want his picture taken. He had hitched a ride, apparently, and had been dumped at the Laguna Ranch down the road, instead of the Pinnacles. He said he thought he was on a spiritual journey. I gave him a card.


Thought about heading to San Lucas, 14 miles away instead of 30. But it was an extreme climb up the road, and I had no strength left. Going to the Pinnacles, I didn’t have to walk the bike. Coming out of the Pinnacles, I did walk it about 3 times on hills.

It was here that I met a cyclist going the other way, Dave. He told me that the highway towards San Miguel was a climb from 1300 to 2000 feet, then good downhill. Even that seemed horrible, but at least it was a known quantity. My Google directions said to take Peach Tree Rd, so I did. But when I got to the place where the road becomes Indian Valley Rd, my heart sank. Steep climb, with no end visible.

Decided that I had to stop for the night. It was 5 pm. Not nearly sunset, but I didn’t want to face 25 miles of possible extreme climbing in the dark. My headlight batteries had been drained at the Pinnacles editing the previous blog post. In fact, I was low on all batteries. I had used up the external USB battery to charge the smart phone, and had only the netbook with which to charge the regular phone. No computer work this night.

roadside campsite
First night on this trip camping by the road. I tried to stay as far off the road as possible, in case a truck tried to pull over in the dark. Turned out there was nearly zero traffic overnight.
My entire remaining water supply for the hilly 25 miles ahead. The bottles on the left are practically empty. And it’s hot weather.

Water was also at bare minimum. There was only what was in the bottles, plus that little bit in the jug. Not enough in the heat, but maybe in the cool of the morning, okay. I was going to use the remainder of the jug as the night’s ration, and tomorrows breakfast. No, too risky. There was a farmhouse nearby. I went over and called out, but there was no answer. I opened the cattle gate, and went up to it, but nobody was home. I wasn’t going to use their spigot unless it was an emergency, and I decided that yes, it was an emergency. I went back to camp to get a paper, pen, a dollar, and my card, so I could leave a note for them. But as I was headed back to the farmhouse, a truck pulled up, with a young man in a cowboy hat, and (probably) his wife or girlfriend riding shotgun.

He asked if everything was all right. I told him that I ran out of water. “Got that right here,” he said, handing me a full gallon. I really wanted to give him a couple dollars for it, but he simply said, “No. Won’t take it.” He also said “God bless you” as they drove away.

Trail angels are real.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” – Matthew 10:42 (NIV)


There’s a huge difference between being on water ration, and having enough to brush teeth or cook a meal.  I couldn’t cook, though. Fire hazard.

Nescafe doesn’t mix well with cold water.
dinner and a show
Dinner of dried yellow jack, bagel, salami, and water. But outside, I could watch rabbits scurrying across the road.

Things I did not get a picture of, mostly on account of rush:

  • Lewis
  • Rattlesnake on the road
  • Huge dead rabbit
  • Buzzard picking at dead ground squirrel
  • Wild Turkeys
  • Dave
  • Spectacular canyons cut by the stream
  • Large live rabbits hopping
  • Cowboy hat Trail Angel

Miles today: 51.0

(Visited 99 times, 1 visit(s) today)
    1. If I was desperate, there was enough fresh roadkill, like snake or even a rabbit. I saw a buzzard eating a fresh squirrel in the middle of the road, and could have stolen that. But I had no lack of protein. I still have half that stick of dry salami slices, and one package of dried fish.

  1. Glad you got your water! (For some reason, this is reminding me of a blog I once devoured, written by a young man who had never hiked before, who did the Pacific Crest Trail. Extreme fatigue, heat, trail angels, and water all played their part, at least on the southern part of the trail. And you are heading south…)

    Echoing Clay… keep up the protein, and make sure you always have plenty of water!

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