Started: 07:20 @ MM 608.9 – Landers Meadow Camp & Spring (Elevation 6,248ft)
Finished: 17:30 @ MM 630.8 – Bird Spring Pass (Elevation 5,361ft)
Food: Oatmeal, Granola Bar, Cliff Bar, Tortilla w/cheese & salami, Tortilla w/PBJ, Dates, Trail Mix, Mac’n’Cheese w/chicken, Gummi Lifesavers
Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 3, Days since laundry 4
The day started in the usual fashion, Chance and I bickering lightly as we packed up camp. Once again we was in a total clusterfuck with his food supply. I’m not quite sure what the problem is but he never seems to have enough food. I have taken to clipping my food bag to the pole inside my tent at night and keeping my arms and legs well away from him when he’s eating. I left him trying to Yogi some supplies from Bagel, while I went to find a nice spot to drop off the kids.
After filling up at the spring, I finally got underway. The trail climbed up out of the forest and across a beautiful meadow full of stunning purple flowers. This was the last color I would see for a while. As I started the descent the landscape changed dramatically. The only green thing I was likely to encounter today would be little green men … Things had taken a distinctly extraterrestrial turn!
The desert had returned with a vengance. There was hardly a sprout of vegetation taller than 12″, zero shade and not a drop of water for the next 40 miles! There were rumors of numerous water caches between here and Walker Pass but it was never wise to make these part of a plan. Consequently it was a heavy carry … It was going to be a long, hot and dry day. I plugged myself in to my music and plodded on.
The topography was also becoming distinctively more mountainous. The views and vistas were epic and I frequently found myself stopping to breath it all in. The vastness was difficult assimilate. I found a great little spot and rested a while, happy to just soak it all up. Only in America are things this humongous!
The lunar like landscape persisted for the entire day and it was the perfect backdrop for some great tunes. There was a real spring in my step, both physically and mentally I felt in tune with the trail. Chance, by contrast, was having a nightmare. His brolly had self-destructed in the wind, his solar charger was doing what all solar chargers end up doing … absolutely fuck all and he was also in constant danger of chewing one of his own limbs off!
Not even a soft sand climb at the end of the day could dampen my spirits. As I made the final descent down to Bird Spring Pass the wind started doing that desert thing again. By the time I reached camp it was blowing itself to bits. A handful of hikers were clinging to tiny sheltered pitches. I pitched behind a sizable Joshua Tree that offered at least some protection from the gale and the most amazing views across the valley below.
By 7 o’clock I was all cleaned up, changed into my PJs and enjoying a delicious hot chicken Mac’n’Cheese meal. As the sun started to set, I watched the sky change from blue to pink to purple and finally back to a dark inky blue, all from the snug of my tent. At some point I drifted off to sleep, only to wake again just before midnight and in perfect time to see the full moon rising. The wilderness is a truly magical place to call home!