Wednesday, August 30th, 2017
It actually rained a few drops early in the morning. It feels like an event in this arid place.
I assess the water situation first thing when I get up: two liters left. Not a lot of wiggle room, I figure I'll head out late morning. I wander around the crater some more, my myself a big breakfast, take my time breaking down camp. I don't want to leave this quiet, beautiful place but the lack of water leaves me no choice. It occurs to me that it wouldn't take much to die in a place like this: a slip that sprains an ankle or breaks something and the dehydration would do you in quickly.
Slightly overcast today, which helps keep the heat down.
I'm tired, slightly dehydrated, and about as dirty as you can get. Verdict: I'm riding to Arco to get a motel room and a proper shower. My lips are chapped from the sun yesterday; I should be carrying some sunblock stuff for my lips in these desert climes.
I stop at the visitor center on the way out to let them know the cougar didn't eat me. I chat with the rangers about the different kinds of animals they have in the park and what might have been creeping around my tent. They don't seem convinced but I would guess most of the predators follow the big game up into the mountains during the summer. The deer migrate to where there's moisture.
I go out at night to get something to eat. A local burger joint supplies the greasy food. The place is run by a middle-aged couple, the guy is the waiter, he's got a really good buzz on and he keeps messing up everyone's orders. Us polite tourists smile and nod because there aren't too many choices in this town. Afterwards I go next door to the bar for a drink. There are 2 patrons and a bartender, all smoking. I think the last time I saw someone smoke in a bar was in Mexico. The bartender doesn't charge me for the drink and wishes me a safe trip.
Stats for hike (Strava data):
Miles hiked: 4.3mi
Elevation gain: 448 feet
Moving time: 1:40:55