On my hike I ran into rattlesnakes, bears, and even once a mountain lion, but the only time I actually felt like I was in danger was the day this photo was taken.
It was a very hot day in the desert and I'd walked straight past a pretty crucial water source, I was totally in my own head and didn't even notice until a couple of miles later. I was around 8 miles from the next reliable water, and had just over half a litre left. For some reason, I thought I could make it at a push if I just rationed it well, instead of doing the smart thing and turning back. What I didn't factor in is that it was the middle of the day, and those 8 miles turned out to be completely exposed.
Around four miles later, my water rationing was not going very well. I only had a few sips of water left, and I was starting to feel the effects of dehydration (I was getting tunnel vision and started feeling pretty dizzy). With no shade in sight, there was no opportunity to stop and rest so I just kept on going.
At this point, I knew heat exhaustion was a danger. Half an hour later, I was starting to think about how I would go about getting help.
I turned a corner and thought I could see something manmade in the distance, but was pretty sure either my mind was just making it up, or it was an old building or something (meaning potentially shade at least).
I put my head down and kept walking towards it, mumbling pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease. But as I got closer to the old building, it stopped looking like an old building and started to look like a... gazebo?? with my friends under it?? drinking beer??? Definitely a mirage.
I walked into the mirage and came to the conclusion that this was in fact reality. Someone had driven out into the middle of nowhere, with a few coolers full of cold drinks and water to give out to hikers, and it completely saved me. I think it has to be the luckiest moment of my life.
Anyway, take away lesson is to just hike back and get water. I took this picture a couple miles post oasis, coming down into Cajon Pass (Mile 342)