Camping: PCT mile 605.86
Hikers seen on trail: 7
We seem to be getting the true desert experience as we wind down our time here. Water is the farthest between sources than we’ve seen it yet, and consistently so. Our mileage each day from here until Walker Pass is determined for us by the availability of water, not by much else. Today, we had to carry enough to make it 19 miles, which is roughly 4 liters each if you don’t plan to cook in that time. I’d much rather snack all day than carry extra water, and eat at the source. Today this meant skipping my mid-day coffee, but the extra water is not worth it’s weight. I may feel differently tomorrow.
We didn’t break camp until 5:30, but we still managed a leisurely day full of breaks. The hike started out in a burn area, which a lot of people find sad. I see so much life in these areas though, as it opens things up for new plants to grow. Many plants need fire in order to propagate, so I see the whole thing as part of the great circle of life. Like many things that seem bad, there is a greater purpose. On top of my philosophical observations, there were some cows grazing in the burned area. They were pretty cute, and unlike stories I’ve heard from people on the trail, they were docile.
It got hot early, and there were several climbs to do today. Fortunately, after the burn there was a great meadow full of live oak where we took a nice shady rest. The trail meandered through the hills, going up and down through the golden grasses, sometimes red, sometimes green. There were lots of shade trees and big boulders, our feet treated to a pine needle carpet for the first time in a long while. We are in the Sierra foothills, though we dip down to the desert for another hurrah tomorrow. Any respite from the desert is welcomed, though I may miss it when it’s gone.
We took a big long nap under some Ponderosa pines, having to shift a couple of times to follow the shade. It felt dreamy, as I’m a huge fan of naps and breaks. After sleep, I ate a whole bag of picante corn nuts and a snickers bar. I’m short on food I can eat without adding water, so I made do knowing I could eat a healthy dinner. From there we climbed and fell some more through the hills until we reached water. There was a pipe coming out of the hill and cow pies everywhere. We found a little area with minimal dung to cook dinner, and gathered some water for the short 3.5 mile march to the next spring. If only nature were better engineered to space out these springs for us, but it was nice to hike with only 1 liter, if only for a short distance. Tomorrow we have to carry for 21 miles, and it is predicted to be hot.
We found ourselves a little sandy spot to cowboy camp, and we are joined by Dozen and Peanut. The plan is to wake up early, as we don’t drink as much water in the cooler mornings. We can get a solid 10 miles done before it gets hot, saving our backs from the burden of water weight. My goal now is to sleep well before the 4am alarm.