Monday, January 25, 2016

Preparing to Kayak the Salton Sea: Desert in Winter

Last night we camped along the Pacific Crest Trail, near where it crosses California Highway 74. People have been telling us that winter isn't the camping season around here and last night we experienced part of the reason why. It was chilly. All night long. I was amazed at how quickly the temperature fell when the sun went behind the mountains. We were warm in shirtsleeves and shorts around 5pm, and then an hour later, we were bundling on extra layers over our pants and fleeces.

Every time I come into contact with PCT, I get excited. I've been dreaming about walking its route for years, probably since I first learned of its existence, maybe when I was in high school in Tallahassee, Florida. I was grateful to get to spend a night 'on trail,' even though we weren't really on trail in the sense of being hikers. We parked our vehicle along the highway, walked 1/4 mile away from the highway and found a spot to make camp. After setting up the tent, we walked back to the car, where we changed into our sleeping clothes and prepared for bed. We walked back to the tent with our sleeping bags and other gear and bedded down. We were asleep within the hour, with occasional stirrings to readjust and put on more clothes. 

This morning we were up early with the sun. We packed up and drove down to the lovely visitor center at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. It only takes being away from an electrical outlet and running water for one night to appreciate them as amenities in a new way. We quite enjoyed the visitor center. We walked a lovely trail and enjoyed their 43 minute documentary about the area, which included a segment on the Salton Sea.

We're planning to spend this next week on the Salton Sea. We've been preparing today by using the wifi, power and water at the College of the Desert's library. Yesterday we did our shopping at Trader Joes and later this afternoon we will purchase a couple extra gallons of water. We're planning to resupply in a couple of days at Bombay Beach or Salton City, depending on which direction the wind takes us around the lake. Our plan is to circumnavigate the lake, staying as close to the shore as possible. The distance should be about 100 miles, based on research that we (mostly Reed) has been doing. We're excited to get on the water and see how it feels to do an extended kayak trip (previously, we've only been out for overnights).  We're anticipating that we won't have much cell service on the lake, so we'll be eager to get back in contact once our loop around the lake is completed. We continue to be amazed at the generosity and kindness of our friends and family. I want to extend an especially big thanks to our friends in southern California who have sheltered and encouraged us these weeks. 

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