I set off at 4am just as the pale dawn light is starting to flare up. Half the sky is a dark blue and other is a red/orange/yellow haze on the horizon. It feels late. I pass Chloe and her cousin who hiked pass me last night. I’m ten miles away from the next supposed water cache. I’m hungry so I eat a poptart and hike on. My stomach rumbles and I can physically feel it. I have trail mix and cereal biscuits to calm it. I ascend the biggest hill of the day in the shade (woop!) and trail the edge of the hill. I pass a couple who then pass me in turn as I stop to take a photo. I see a few tents dotted off the trail. The scenery is stunning up here. Maybe it’s just the aurora light touching everything or the height but everything just looks amazing….
I finish the ten miles to the water cache and chill in the shade. The couple are from the east coast and have taken time off the trail to visit as many baseball games as they can afford here on the west coast. This water cache and the one from last night are maintained by an ex-hiker called Devil Fish and he’s left some food! Amazing trail magic! Sweet food! I eat chocolate spread on tortilla wraps which are awesome and decide to get some myself when I’m next in civilization. The couple hike on and I’m soon joined by Snakebite. She says she hiked for about 12 miles until she needed sleep. I decide to head up this hill before it gets any hotter and acquire another bigger yucca stick! It works really well and I speed up the hill. It’s lots of climbing and switch backs and I get to the top before 11am and before the heat gets too intense.
I walk another 2 miles and stop for some well soaked noodles which taste good for once but I still want some thing else. There isn’t much height to be climbed for the next few miles but it still takes me ages. I have about 15 miles to go before I get to the Walkers Pass - a campsite where water is.
The miles lengthen out.... I descend down to switch backs and hit a dirt road which seems endless in the sun. It goes up and down, up and down and annoys me more than it should. There is absolutely no shade.
It’s 4:30pm and I have about 9 miles to go and I’m so slow, I’m practically crawling. I eat snacks and plow on, attempting to motivate myself. I have one last poptart - thankfully which helps. What helps even more is when I walk into a lovely pine forest and trail it in and out of the trees. It’s a lot cooler in here.
8 miles - I snack
7 miles - I watch the sun fade
5 miles - so slow…
4 miles - foooood….
3 miles - water break
3.5 miles - snack break
3 miles - pee break
1 mile so close…and then I arrive!
Its twilight now and I know I should put up my tent but I chill with the other hikers instead who’ve just been to town for food. Empty wrappers of a local fast food burger place litter the tables. My stomach rumbles longingly. It gets to 9:30 pm a few hikers hike out and I pitch my tent. Both the inner and outer which makes it hot but I want to sleep in the morning and want privacy. I uncurl my sleeping bag and clean my feet then sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep!