On the afternoon of Day 7, I left the town of Tonopah and began Section 3 with enough food to get to Austin, 136 miles away. I also had enough water to go 44.6 miles to Peavine Canyon, well sort of. I actually only had enough to go 36.8 miles and was hoping that a water source 7.8 miles from town was good, which it was. Due to the nature of this area, I didn't want to count on Frazier Well for my entire supply, which was 2 gallons.
Topped off and still hydrated, I set up camp at the start of the first major cross-country section of the NVT, the San Antonio Range. This is a rocky but relatively straight-forward crossing that is both scenic and a highlight of the trail. On the far side, the remaining 20.5 miles to Peavine Canyon go rather quickly and are made on seldom-used jeep roads, judging by the looks of them.
Although I saw no traffic during this time, I did see some other hikers. For this XC crossing, I had teamed up with Stacy and Bernie, who began their journey in Santa Barbara as well but whom I had met for the first time in Tonopah. They are both Triple Crown hikers and were out doing the entire Hot Springs Trail as well.
Once into Peavine Canyon, the driest miles were behind me and water was no longer and issue. Before long we were on the Toyiabe Crest Trail, a National Recreation Trail that we followed across the mighty Toyiabe Range.
On the far end of the TCT is the option to continue along the crest of the range XC, which I did in 2012 and really enjoyed. In 2016 however, I established a lower route which utilized jeep roads and provides an official alternate for those wanting to avoid this trail-less segment, or for when weather is not favorable for traveling on top of the range.
Reaching Birch Creek signified the end of the Toyiabe Range crossing. This is where the third lesson of the NVT was learned - the importance of constant rehydration. With the luxury of creeks over the past few days, I had slacked on my topping off and now had a slight case of chapped lips, a sure sign of dehydration. Before leaving the shade and accessibility of Birch Creek, I made sure I was peeing clearly again.
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