Mile 541 to 562
I wake before the sun, but seem to be slow getting around. The wind is blowing everything every which way, and I have to filter water. The stream trickle is so small I have to scoop it with my coffee mug and pour it into the filter bag. I filter and carry 4 liters, enough for today and tomorrow morning if necessary. The first major climb is treeless and barren. Part way up nature makes a surprise but serious call, and I have to scramble off trail in search of a location to answer. I fall behind the group and spend the rest of the morning catching up.
At the top of the 7 mile climb I find the group in chairs at a water cache. I could have gotten away with carrying about a liter instead of four. Ugh.
We work our way through miles and miles of turbines. The wind repeatedly blows my sun hat off, which deploys like a parachute with the cord around my neck. After being nearly choked out several times, I switch to a beanie, which looks ridiculous in the desert, but keeps my balding head from burning and my neck from strangling.
Our goal today is to be within striking distance of Highway 58, where we hope to meet my sister and trail angel Susan tomorrow morning. I rest midday in the shade, then press on. We find a couple of small bushes high on a ridge, in the middle of a wind farm. It is blowing hard, and surprisingly cold. We are surrounded by fast spinning turbines. If any of them blast raptors out of the sky, which they are known to do, we will wake up covered in feathers.