By 1pm, we were at the hot springs. It was great. We soaked with Drop Dead and there were a few other locals there. We relaxed and soaked for a little more than an hour and started to head out.

Then Cow Bear, Punisher, and Pounder arrived and we talked for a bit. Then Balls and Sunshine walked up. They said the whole crew we were with in Big Bear was just a couple hours away and everyone would probably camp there and hang out. They tried to get us to stay, but we had a schedule to keep to make it to the famous “on trail” McDonalds for dinner tomorrow night.

We walked on and found the washouts just a few miles before the end of the detour. I can totally understand why the forest service has created a detour because it was sketchy. The first one was minor and looked like this.

The next one was more frightening for me. Lots of loose rock and sand with a steep drop off. With a pack on and the strong wind gusts today, it definitely had me shaking. Here is what it looked like.

After the washouts, we came to the Mojave Dam. What a view! I accidentally got a wrapper on the picture.

A mile or so after that, we had to actually ford he Mojave River. It was shallow and calm with a sandy bottom, but just as wide as any major river and in was shocked we had to wade across it. It looked simple and then suddenly, there were spots where the sand just swallowed our legs up to our thighs. Then the wind kicked up again and made for a less than fun experience. When we got to the other side, I noticed I didn’t have my camera! The last place I had taken a picture was back about a mile uphill on the other side of the dam. Top Shelf patiently waited while I forded back over the Mojave River and ran back a mile uphill to look for the camera. I was internally freaking out and trying not to outwardly flip out! The amazing day with the section I risked my life to see was all on that camera dang it! I got to the top of the hill and the camera wasn’t there. Keep in mind, I was already at the end of a 20mi+ day and only making my (and Top Shelf’s) day longer. I made myself go up one last switchback, and there it was! Right in the middle of the trail! I snagged it up, ran back down, and forded the river for the 3rd time. Totally worth getting the camera back. At this point, it was 5:30pm and we were both pretty ready to be done for the day. The problem was that it was crazy windy, we had nowhere protected to camp, and we needed to put in a few more miles so we had a chance of making it to McDonalds tomorrow. We decided to reluctantly head on up into the hills where it could be miles before we found camping. After an hour, we found a great spot just back far enough to protect us a bit from the string gusts. After what felt like an eternity, we got our tents up and they are whipping all around because if the wind. There are also some very dark clouds coming this way as the sun goes away. My stakes have pulled out a couple times, but I hope I’ve fixed them so it won’t happen in the middle of the night. We both are light sleepers and have our earplugs ready, but it’s probably going to be a long night with wind, whipping tents, and possibly rain.

The silver lining in all of this? I didn’t have shin splits today. Also, I have a great signal and get to finally watch Survivor tonight! I’m one episode away from the finale!

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