Day 32: Mile 592.9 to mile 616
This morning was awesome. Cowboy camping on a warm night was great. It meant that I could pack up quickly and hit the trail to beat the heat.
There was a climb straight away and in the warm air had me saturated way too early in the morning (6am).
I sense a transition to the terrain and vegetation we’re walking through although elements of the desert are still here.
All morning was walking through pine forest. Tall and unburnt pine forest. Thick canopies providing lots of shade.
This mornings first mission was to reach Robin Bird Spring, 9 miles away to stock up on water. Starting early each morning has really allowed me to converse on water for a good part of the morning. Typically I might drink a litre in the first ten miles while conditions are cooler, then guzzling water all day through the heat. Depending on temperature and the amount of shade available I’ll be drinking any where from 5 to 8 litres everyday.
I saw a couple of snakes today. The first was a really tiny rattler, coiled in the middle of the track and was easily shifted out of harms way with a trekking pole. The second I saw about a half hour later and have no idea what it was. Maybe you google detectives out there can tell me.
Just before the spring I came across mile 600 marked on the ground in an arrangement of pine cones. Just 100 mile to Kennedy Meadows.
Reaching the spring by around 9am, I camelled up, drinking a full litre, and topping up my bottles to get through to the next water source, Landers Meadow Spring another 6 miles away.
I wanted to reach Landers by lunch time. Making tracks towards it the terrain was relatively flat and continue through the pines. I was thinking this was going to be case all day.
Landers Spring has the cleanest and coldest water from a natural source so far on the trail. Topping up all my bottles I found a shady patch and set myself up for an hour and half of kicking back. Mixing up an electrolyte mix, I smashed that down and drank another litre over the course of an hour. I found time for a nap as well. Well actually I put my head down and dozed off pretty quickly.
There may or may not be several water caches ahead but for anyone knew this may be the last water for the next 42 mile. So I filled every bottle I had and hit the trail again hoping to sneak in another 10 mile.
From leaving the spring the forest changes again. The pines slowly disappeared and the desert veg encroached on the trail once again. And once again back out in the heat and sun. Damn, when is this desert going to end.
About 2.5 mile into the afternoon kick I turned a corner and came across more trail magic. An older couple had come out on their weekend especially to provide trail magic for PCTers. Unbelievable. Lots of fresh watermelons and the most juicy oranges of all time; hotdogs if you wanted them with all the trimmings; ice cold Gatorade, soda and beers. Half a dozen other hikers were there making the most of a good thing. But these things can be a trap. You sit down, have a drink and before you know it a couple of hours have gone by. I resolved to stay half an hour and keep moving.
I still have a day and a half to get out the next Hwy and possibly head into town and wanted to keep pushing ahead. I’m undecided on town. I have just enough food to make it through to Kennedy Meadows but I’m way early.
I sent a food resupply ahead to the Muir Trail Ranch and it isn’t expected to arrive until the 16th to 18th. So there is no point getting too far ahead as if I arrive at KM and push into the Sierra and beat my food then I’d have to wait around for it and possibly go hungry. So doing a half day and heading to town is a viable option to kill some time.