Rattlesnakes

Day 15 – 4/27/15
Just beyond Hwy 10
Miles – 20.0
Total Miles – 226.9 (PCT 210.5)

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During the night the wind came up and it blow strong. When we finally got out of the tents we had on all our warm clothes on just because the wind was so cold. After what we did yesterday, we still had 6000′ to drop in 15 miles; it will be a lot warmer in the desert at the bottom.
Hours and hours of hiking down, really starts to hurt after a while; mainly the bottoms of our feet, our ankles, and knees. A little Morton helps a lot. At the bottom of the drop is a water fountain, the first water for the last 20 miles. It is rather peculiar to see, in the middle of the desert, with no buildings in site, a water fountain. Mama Raven and Will got there first and joined the 14 other thru-hikers sitting around the fountain. Joon and I came in 30 minutes later. Just before Joon and I got to the bottom, we saw our first rattlesnake of the trip. Joon was walking in front. All of a sudden she stopped and started to back up. She was hyperventilating and pointing. Seven feet in front of us was a 3′ Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. It was stretched across the trail and not moving. I told Joon to take a few deep breaths and calm down, the snake was not going to attack us. I took a few pictures of it. The snake never moved as we climbed up around it.  When we took one last glimpse of it, the snake turned around and went back into the bushes.
After coming in with completely no water, we filled all of our water bags up, and then started to hike toward Hwy 10. We had heard that there was a cache of soft drinks under the freeway for PCT hikers.  We decided to have dinner there. So off we went from the fountain, three miles to the hwy. Within minutes of leaving, we saw another rattlesnake. This one was on the side of the road and it quickly slid into a big bush and rattled at us. We let it be and hiked on. When we got to Hwy 10 bridge, we disappointingly discovered no cache of cold sodas. A big note on a wall said that it had been stolen. We were all disappointed. We ate dinner under the bridge and hiked on. It was getting dark however we did not want to camp underneath a major freeway. It was too noisy. I am listening to my words I just wrote . . . sleeping underneath freeways . . . it sounds a lot like we are homeless. We certainly are starting to look like like it since we are so dirty!
As we hiked away from the highway, we past near a paved road. There was a little yellow car sitting there. The lady in the car called out to Mama Raven, “Do you want a soft drink?” She hands Mama Raven an ice cold orange soda and she tells Mama Raven that she had been sitting there waiting for a thru-hiker to come by to give them something to drink. She then drove off. We all shared it and Mama Raven said trail magic happens!
We have been on the trail for two weeks now, we have seen much, met many good people, and have worked hard.  Our bodies are tired and our feet our sore.  It actually feels like we have been hiking for weeks and weeks instead of just two. All of are endurance has improved since we began our trip, but we still need to get stronger. We will get there!

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