We started out from the Best Western rather late--I blame their delicious hot breakfast. Maybe it was the huge uphill that laid ahead of us. Or perhaps we were fearful of all the warnings: "Watch out for the homeless gangs," "There's no water for 20 miles!" "The poodle dog bites." "The sun burns!" We made it out by 7am, which is pretty late for hikers who tend to wilt in the heat and who knew all of the warnings were a bit true.
But it wasn't a lost cause! No homeless gangs. Also, a few miles in, we came upon a water cache at Swarthout Canyon Road. The water was plentiful as were lawn chairs--like an island of misfits, these trail angels knew hikers would love 'em. About halfway up the climb, we took our first poodle dog bush detour, and hardly went out of our way. And although it was incredibly hot, we found enough shade to make for a comfortable afternoon nap.
That night, we camped high on the ridge, still climbing. I-15 was glowing solidly white and red with car lights, and the sky looked like cotton candy. It is so worth it rise above the bussle. Tomorrow upward some more!