Day 31: Hwy58 mile 566.5 to mile 592.9 (26.4 miles, 42.5km)
Last night Ed another hiker from the US and myself arranged an early ride out to the trail with a local who heads to work and right past the trail head at 5am. Perfect as it meant I could get my usual early morning start.
The start to the day was fairly easy with the trail flat for the first three miles, paralleling the Hwy. From here it was a short by steep climb for several miles with stunning views of that giant fireball we call the sun rising from behind distance mountains spilling light across the flat Mojave desert. The ever present wind turbines occupied the horizon to the south and across all the low hills. It seems there is no escaping them at the moment.
There was a strong and chilled wind on top that had me reaching for my down jacket which was unusual. For the last week any wind blowing has been warm. I’m sure it will warm later.
The hill top was littered with Juniper and Joshua Trees creating lots of windbreaks and a stack of nice camping sites. (I later found a bunch of hikers had to bunker down here early last night as the wind was so strong several where getting knocked to the ground)
I over took four people early on and didn’t catch their names except for a Korean guy with the trail name Happy. His English wasn’t very good but he conveyed everything through his huge smile, hand gestures and an infectious laugh. Perfectly named. We leaped frogged each other right through to lunch, always laughing as we past.
Following an ATV track for quite a while the trail descended only to immediately ascend again to a ridge with yet more wind turbines. These things are everywhere.
By 12:30 I’d reached the Golden Oaks Spring and was ready for lunch having knocked out 17 miles already. I was happy with that.
The spring was shaded by taller trees and there were a stack of hikers all the same idea – lounge in the shade and have lunch. They were all new faces to me except Kevin form the UK (still not sure of his trail name) now sporting a freshly cut mohawk. Nice!
After a lazy lunch and still plenty of day left I looked over my maps and made the decision to press on another 9 miles to a campsite that had lots of trees offering shade and protection from the wind. This leg was fairly uneventful travelling through multiple burn areas. It did offer some views across the Mojave and distant mountains to the north – I’m sure if they our first glimpse at the Sierras or not, they could be because the trail has another 100 miles to Kennedy Meadows, as the crowd flies the distance is a lot less.