Started: 08:00 @ MM 672.8 – Saddle Camp (Elevation 6,752ft)
Finished: 17:30 @ MM 693.5 Manter Creek, Rockhouse Basin (Elevation 5,846ft)
Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,722/-4,638ft
Food: Oatmeal, Lara Bar, Cliff Bar, Tortilla w/cheese & salami, Tortilla w/PBJ, Trail Mix, Goldfish, Tortilla w/cheese & jerky, Gummi Bears
Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 2, Days since laundry 3
After the trials and tribulations of yesterday, I was in no great hurry to get back on the trail. I’d slept really well in my perfect camp spot, which was equally as perfect in the morning as it was in the evening. If water bhad een more readily available this would have been a great place for an on trail zero. Unfortunately the desert had other ideas and I had to once again set off in search of water.It’s a curious thing how this great quest for water dictates our actions and behaviors on trail. It often forces us to walk greater distances than we would like, or camp in less than ideal locations. As a life giving force, water is truly the Holy Grail out here in the desert. I checked my maps for the next water source … Chimney Creek, just 8 delicious down hill miles away. I finished my leisurely breakfast and made tracks.Back on the trail it seemed that yesterday’s nightmare was exactly that … just a really bad dream. The trail was back to its more customary smooth tread and the gentle gradient was perfect for making good speed. I passed Butterfly, Turbo and Wrong Way hanging out beneath the shade of a pine. Ordinarily I would have stopped, but I was in the zone and so I pressed on to Chimney Creek. When I arrived Spreadsheet was there taking a nap. We hung out and chatted while my water filter slowly did its job. Shortly afterwards Butterfly and the others arrived and we all lounged around in the dirt and dust for a while. Sadly the peace and tranquility was cut short by the arrival of Jack Sparrow and his weird entourage. I had spent most of the previous day trying to avoid this little crew and today looked like it was going to be more of the same. There is a lot of ego on the trail and this bunch had more than most. The halcyon moment was now lost to pretend swords, juggling balls and overly excessive use of the words “dude” and “man”! Listening to their self-indulgent prattle seemed more exhausting than the 2,500ft climb that was next, so I set off!Making the ascent in the middle of the day was hot and thirsty work. Thankfully there was another water source about halfway up which broke the climb up really nicely. I “cameled” up, rested a while and then pressed on. When I reached the top of the climb I was rewarded with my first real views of the snowy Sierras. The mountains were calling, the desert was almost over. I was nervous about the snow ahead but so ready to be finished with all of this dry dust!The long descent into Rockhouse Basin took me most of the afternoon. It was easy walking but tiring on the legs and feet. I reached the creek at the bottom and decided that I’d had enough for the day. Spreadsheet was there but elected to push on. I was happy to chill and have a relatively easy 9 miles into Kennedy Meadows in the morning. I set up my tent and camped alone for only the second time in 43 days. It really didn’t bother me being out here all on my own … at least not until the frogs arrived! I’m not so keen on frogs and when an army of them hopped through my camp, I zipped myself in and refused to come out again until it was light!