We hiked down the trail as it lazily switchbacked back & forthacross the hill, back.....and forth....for miles. The rocks were cool though, there was one rock that we took turns standing on top of that tipped and rocked, and another rock shaped like a chair. The daturas, large liy-shaped white purple-edged flowers, have started to bloom. According to Joanne, they are a potently toxic hallucinogen.
There was some soft purplish-brown fluffy tufted grass growing along the trail, and Joanne and I were enjoying its tactile qualities, stroking the tufties, when a small rattlesnake emerged from the clump of grass and popped up towards our hands, like "Hey! What's up guys!" It didn't rattle or anything, or seem alarmed, just curious. We backed away pretty quickly. I also saw a hawk.
When we finally reached the water fountain at the bottom of all the switchbacks next to a rock and a big pipe, Casey was there enjoying the limited shade from the rock. When it came time that we all wanted to lie down in shade after lunch, there was not enough room under the rock for all three of us. So, ingenious folks that we are, we rigged us up a temporary shade shelter out of a GIANT RED ADVERTISING BALLOON THAT that Joanne found on the ground. We tore a slit in it and FOOM! it billowed open in the wind, creating an intriguingly womb-like space big enough for a group of people to chill in. While we held down the bottom, Casey propped the opening up with a trekking pole and string that was attached to the balloon, and the wind held up the rest of it. It was like a tomato skin house. We took naps inside and Casey read more of "A Path With Heart", about ending war within yourself in order to produce peace in the world at large. Gypsy Lulu, Jarrow, & Patch joined us for a little while and then hiked on. We eventually moseyed on down the trail, which became paved at that point, down through the neighborhood of Snow Creek, to where the trail crossed a road. A trail angel named Dave met us there and I had a rootbeer and some BBQ pringles. Then we trekked 3 or so miles across flat, sandy, ultra-windy desert scrub area. When I say windy, I mean this whole town is covered in wind turbines because of how strong and steady it is. It was pushing us around.
We got to the highway and waited by the on-ramp for CAitlyn to pick us up. It was 6 oclock. She was supposed to come between 6 and 8. We left her a voicemail letting her know where to find us, and settled down to cook dinner and watch the people driving by giving us funny looks. The sun went down, it got cold, and we got tired. At 10 Casey stood up and said he was going to go camp under the Interstate. Five minutes later a woman pulled over and haded him 9 bucks, "from the Lord, a gift" she said. We all laughed, delighted at the gesture and at how we must really look ridiculous. I'm pretty sure it lifted out spirits. At 10:30 Joanne and I abandonned hope and joined Casey under the underpass. "Yeah, we're real hobos now", we joked.