Mile 580.5 to 602.4
After a tough day yesterday, we hoisted our slightly lighter packs and headed down the trail. I got a great sleep on Burnout’s old Neoair sleeping pad. He replaced it because it had a micro hole and would deflate over night, but it stayed inflated all night for me. I am also now using my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent, which my mom brought to me. It’s sturdy and free standing so it should be good for the up coming Sierra section of the trail.
Unfortunately, everyone else seemed to have a poor sleep due to the wind. Since we dry camped, we were all looking forward to the water in 2 miles. When we arrived, we found a tent forest with some tents just barely off the trail. We filled up and moved on while it was still cool. Today was going to be in the 80s and we had a 19 mile waterless stretch to cover.
As we made progress over the course of the day, the terrain slowly changed from the desert of the previous week to rocky hills and small mountains covered with slow growing trees. The shade was much appreciated as we made our way through the foothills of the Sierra. We are all excited for the change of environment the snow coverd Sierra will bring. With just 100 miles left or 5 days, those mountains are on all our minds. We need to keep focused on the present, however, because there are a number of long water carries including a 25 mile stretch coming up. We need to be on top of our game.
Bedazzled and I were leading the pack and were soon by ourselves as we passed several other groups, including a Swiss couple, Snotfish, and some other unnamed hikers. Bedazzled observed that as soon as I see another hiker ahead, I am like a homing missle increasing my pace and once we pass them kicking it up again to put some space in between them and us. I have to admit, since I am in the lead so much, it is nice to have a goal/something to focus on instead of just open trail.
Bedazzled and I made good time hiking for just under 5 hours with one short break and covered 13.5 miles with our still heavy packs. Just before noon, we started looking for good lunch spots and found one under a stately oak tree. We planned to wait for the others to start eating, but we soon gave into our hunger. The others rolled in about 50 minutes later, suffering from their lack of sleep the previous night. I took a solid 90 minute nap in the sun and was reluctant to leave, but it was time to cover the final 6.4 miles to the water.
Bedazzled and I hiked together covering the mostly shaded miles with relative ease. I asked Bedazzled if she felt she was getting stronger compared to when we started. She said she feels like she is getting less lazy than she was in the beginning when she would just hike 8 or 12 miles a day. For myself, I feel like my pace is increasing, but instead of going further I am hiking the same number of miles and spending more time relaxing.
Because there are so many long waterless stretches in this section, hikers are bottlenecking at the water sources with campsites. Seeing lots of new people, but also worried about finding enough camping. Hopefully no issues arise.
Also, I noticed I have a lot of readers from Germany. Welcome. I hope you are enjoying the blog.
Wildlife: Red Tailed Hawk, Snake