Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 37

Day- 37
Date- 5-20-16
Location- Tyler horse canyon
Elevation- 4,856 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 18.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 541.5 miles
Weather/Temp- windy, cloudy, 60s
Injuries- small blister at base of right toe
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- thinking positively
Days without shower- 1
Hunger/craving- low


My God was today boring.  I guess I’ll start off by saying that Katana killed it, blazing through all of the nearly 19 miles today.  If her eye is bothering her,  she’s not showing it.  She set the pace today,  and had me walking extra fast to keep up.  I actually had to call her to stop more times than I can count,  so that I could be close enough to scan ahead of her for any potential dangers. 


When I hike with Katana,  I liken it to driving a car. When I’m driving, I’m unconsciously checking the rear and side view mirrors,  as well as scanning ahead and anticipating what other drivers are going to do. All of this I do without really realizing it,  it just happens naturally.  When I’m walking with Katana, I’m always scanning ahead of her, as well as the side of the trail for any potential threats or distractions. It’s pretty much all I do, all day,  and it’s not exhausting, because it comes naturally.  In fact I enjoy it,  because as a consequence, I’m more in tune with the animals, and other natural occurrences, and usually spot quite a lot of them. When I see something suspicious,  I whistle or say “Katana wait,” then she’ll freeze and wait for me to walk up to her before she starts moving again. That’s how every day goes for me out here…trying to stay one step ahead of my dog that’s always trying to stay two steps ahead of me.  If she sees something before I do,  or at the same time as me,  then it’s a 50/50 toss up whether she’ll obey.  If I get loud enough, and put enough feeling into my voice,  she almost always comes to a dead halt; but I save that voice for the real dangers.


The walk today was on the smooth, sidewalk like, concrete Aqueduct (millions of gallons of water rushing beneath is), as well as a myriad of dirt roads. We only hiked a few miles on actual trail.  The road walking was easy and quick,  but oh so boring.  We passed a lot of run down houses, rv’s, and trailers that were literally just sitting in the middle of nowhere.  Oftentimes,  they looked like something out of a Hollywood movie set. Which ones had people living in them,  I couldn’t say.  I can say that whoever they were,  they’d probably given up on society, or society had given up on them,  because they had more space and desert solitude than any one person could probably stand. 


One other observation I made today…if there was something that you could shoot at out there,  it had been shot.  Signs,  fence posts,  buildings, the concrete, pipe gates, circuit boxes,  etc. Everything had bullet holes in it,  and shotgun shells littered the ground all day.  Cheap thrills in the desert


The last seven miles were spent hiking through a wind farm.  Huge wind turbines, more than a hundred feet tall were everywhere.  I’ve never been so close to one, or so many for that matter.  The sound of the wind whistling and streaking over the blades filled my ears for the better part of the afternoon. 


Now I’m cowboy camped in a gulch/ canyon,  next to a gurgling stream,  the only natural water source for I think 40 miles.  I want to do another 20ish miles tomorrow,  then have a very short day into town the day after that. 


Putting medicines and creams on Katana is now my morning,  midday,  and evening ritual.  She won’t walk in her booties,  she just lays down and shakes like she’s scared. I can’t bring myself to watch it, so I take them off.  I’ll keep them with me,  but luckily the last 70 miles or so have been mostly sandy trail,  and a breeze for her paws.  Only a little more than 150 miles of Mojave desert to go…


Go to Day 38.


  1. I was presently surprised at another post so quickly this morning. I sat on the edge of my bed reading trying to forget the worlds stresses I’ve had lately and enjoyed getting lost in your adventures. Suddenly realizing the time and yes I’m late for church. But that’s one place I’m sure I’m forgiven. Keep safe and keep posting! Carla

  2. I wondered if perhaps the steroid drops might possibly have a side effect that could contribute to the hazy film you saw on Katana’s eye. It makes sense that those drops were prescribed for a possible allergic reaction but I know in humans sometimes steroid drops can cause side effects but there isn’t a way of knowing who might react negatively to them. Maybe in Katana’s case she was sensitive to them. You were a good dog dad to bring her in again to a vet. That first veterinarian made the right choice but unfortunately wasn’t able to follow up which would have been normal protocol. I am relieved and confident that Katana will be just fine. How ironic that that bush she brushed up against is named after a type of dog.

  3. I had a feeling that stinker wouldn’t wear her booties!!! 🙂 I hope her eye continues healing!! Thanks for updates and awesome pictures!

  4. So glad to hear Katana’s eye seems to be improving. Thanks for all the updates! Walking the trail vicariously through your posts!

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