October 7th, 2018
Mm 620 to mm 587.5
Distance: 32.5 miles
0600 – 1800
I woke up and started doing my usual routine in the morning. Everything was covered in condensation, especially my quilt, which doesn’t make sense at all. I guess because there are no trees? Moisture was settling on any surface it could find. It was as bad as the conditions I normally find in the everglades and Big Cypress. The desert is a wet place at night, apparently???
The morning was absolutely still and very dark. I heard a few coyotes and an owl, otherwise, not a peep or scuffle. I was working on the blog for a good while when I glanced at the time…it was only 4 am! I had forgotten to turn off the alarm set for Mt. Whitney last week. It went off at 2:45 am. Oh well, I was already up and got lots of typing done. I began hiking the trail in the dark. My headlamp batteries were dying but the sand on the trail was light enough to follow. I walked along with the lovely sunrise and came to a water cache for breakfast.
It was then a lot of climbing, which seemed to kick my butt. I stopped a lot along the way to admire the scenery. As I went up, the environment changed dramatically. It went from barren, desert hills to a dense pine forest. It was nice to be walking in a forest again, although it was no good for solar charging. I ditched my anchor battery pack so that I only have my solar panel for charging my phone. Who knew the desert would be so shaded?
Just after lunch, I came to Robin Bird Spring. The next water source was 20 more miles. Earlier in the day, I thought I might be able to make it 36 total miles to get to that spring, but all the climbing had taken it out of me. I decided to fill up here. There was another SOBO, Toc, that I had caught up to. He validated my decision, saying that reports told the next spring was barely running. At least this one had good flow…but it also had a lot of sediment in it.
A cool skink that at first looked like a snake. For some reason it had its legs tucked alongside its body.
I continued on, struggling with a sharp knee pain that had just popped up under my patella. I get phantom pains all the time and can usually just walk through them. This was so sharp and sudden that it had me worried. It came and went all day but got better by the end. I also took some meds. Reading Jupiter’s account of breaking his foot had made me paranoid.
The trail descended into scrubland and a bunch of wind farms. They were cool to look at. I ran into one NOBO, a lady, late in the day. I saw 2 guys early the day before, as well. It is weird to be seeing anyone out here, as the trail felt so deserted and desolate this time of year. The guys looked as if they were headed for the Sierra, as they had bear canisters…brrr! The woman was just finishing up a few sections that she’d missed on her thru-hike the year before.
I began looking for an early campsite, since my tent was still wet and I wanted to give it a chance to dry. I only did slightly more miles than the day before, even though I got a much earlier start. Oh well, it was tough terrain. I can hopefully break some distance and speed records on the aqueduct flats between Tehachapi and Agua Dulce.