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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Last night was a little spooky. The breeze made the tent fly rustle and the full moon played dancing shadows across the tent flaps. Was that a critter ...?

Finally, I got up and staked down the flaps and tightened the cords to stop the noise. At last I got some sleep.

Sunrise over the dry lake
The day was a slow start. I awoke at 6 and burrowed deeper into my sleeping bag. At 7 the sun came up and started to warm things. By 8 I was drinking coffee and eating oatmeal. 

The hard part was figuring out which bag had what. I had everything I needed but the organization left a little to be desired. By 11 I was reorganized, repacked, and on the trail.

Only 2 1/2 miles off the main trail my little side trip had started as a Class 2 road, then became a Class 3, and then a Class 4 in places going up a steep hill. The trouble was that there was no place to turn around. It was onward and upward only!

Luckily, the AT is extremely dirt worthy. Torquey engine, supple suspension, and grippy tires made the bike dance across the ruts like a billy goat. Not that I didn't feel all 500 pounds of it but I had confidence that I could trust the bike and it didn't let me down.

The road east was Class 2 & 3 so it was pretty easy going. Riding through the canyons exposed some pretty amazing rock formations. All went well until I came to the junction I thought was for Fletcher but turned out to be for Aurora. My map book wasn't any help since I had lost it along the way. I wish DeLorme would use a less slippery material for their covers. It isn't the first one I've lost.

Aurora was a mining town like Bodie but is pretty much gone by now. I have no idea what this strange building was for but it looked cool so I stopped and took a picture.

The temptation to take roads at random that headed south to see if I could pick my way back was great but I also wanted to keep to my schedule so I could spend time in Death Valley. So I back tracked to the road with a sign that said Hawthorne 22 -> and took it. I had no idea where Hawthorne was but it sounded civilized.

View from Lucky Boy Pass at where I had come from
Hawthorne turned out to be Hawthorne Nevada and to get there I had to go over the Lucky Boy Pass. The nice lady at the gas station let me look at a map of Nevada and I picked roads to get back on track. Losing the map book and missing my turn probably added about 75 miles to my day but I got to see more than I expected and proved the old addage, "As long as you have gas in your tank, you're not lost, merely misplaced."

Boundary Peak - 13,147 feet
Traveling across the desert floor on US 6 (the same one that starts in Provincetown MA and passes 7 miles from my house in CT) I came across this curious phenomenon; Heat on the desert floor and snow in the mountains. The snow has to be glacial to have lasted all summer.

I ended up at the Starlight Motel in the town of Big Pine, CA and had dinner at the Kozy Kitchen diner. I'm back on schedule and ready to hit the trails in Death Valley tomorrow.

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