Continuing uphill on Kelso-Cima Road, looking ahead
Kelso-Cima Road is one of those typical desert hills that are so subtly uphill that you'd barely notice the rise while driving a car, but when you are pedaling it, it seems to go on forever.
I have a major headwind here, so the subtle uphill is proving to be demanding. Mid Hills Campground, today's destination, is up near the top of those mountains to the right.
It gets dark while I'm still on Kelso-Cima Road, with a dozen miles to go. I turn on my headlight once in a while if I see a car coming or if I need to see a sign; otherwise I'm riding mostly by moonlight. The Cedar Canyon area is really pretty by moonlight!
I'm focusing on the slow, uphill ride and won't take any more photos until tomorrow morning. I'm exhausted and sweaty as I slip-slide up the final few sandy miles of Black Canyon Road, then Wild Horse Canyon Road in the dark. I'm happy that there's no traffic whatsoever because I'm often riding in the middle of the road to avoid the sandiest areas.
I grab site #5 at Mid Hills Campground and change into a dry T-shirt (it's cold and windy up here, and I'm suddenly shivering!) I boil some water and get my instant meal (Mountain House beef teriyaki with rice) steeping while I set up the tent.
The high winds make trying to fall asleep in the noisy tent impossible until they die down around midnight. I wake up several times during the night from the cold as the moon gets brighter. I go for a walk to check the thermometer at the park entrance, which reads 31 degrees F (-1 C).
I'm thirsty and try to fill my water bottle from the tap, but nothing comes out; it must be frozen. I retreat to the tent for more sleep.