Day 33 – 5/24/16
Highway 58 566.5 to Golden Oaks Springs 583.3
Total miles: 17.2
*I’m at mile 602 and in a wet cloud but I have service!*
The alarm went off at 5 am. The thought of not having the soft and warm bed was not an appealing thoughy. Begrudgingly, I rolled over onto my back and sat up. I blinked a few times before rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I thought about the trail for a few minutes. I was ready to do some miles but the lack of bed, shower, and a porcelain throne didn’t help in getting me moving. I put on my hiking shirt for the first time in 3 days. At least it was clean. Relatively. I finished packing up my things before heading down to see if the continental breakfast was set up or had anything we could quickly grab.
I walk up to the door and the lobby and eating room is dark but I see that there is food. I grab a sausage egg and cheese biscuit and nuke it for a minute while I get some orange juice from the juice machine. I grab my biscuit and quietly eat while 5 Star gets his food. I grab a peach yogurt and eat that too. I’m still hungry and think about making a waffle but we are short on time. We have a bus to catch at 6:08 and it’s already 5:45. We walk back to the room and do our last minute packing and filling of water bottles.
Time for the worst part of the day. Shouldering the pack. I shoulder the pack which has the mass of a neutron star. What the hell is in there? 7 days of food plus 3 liters of water. I already start planning on what I’ll eat first. The half pound of cheese will be gone in 24 hours I decide.
We do a quick look around the room for anything we might have forgot and then leave. The bus stop is back by the Kmart which is about a quarter mile away. It’s cold and windy on the walk to the bus stop. We sit in the enclosed bus stop where we get a reprieve from the relentless wind. The bus shows up after 10 minutes and we climb inside the warm bus. We have to ask for the stop we want to get off at since it’s by request only. The bus ride is about 15 minutes and the driver drops us off at the off ramp. She pulls the bus over right in the gore area of the off ramp. Alright then.
5 Star and I get off the bus and adjust our packs and our trekking poles. We walk up the off ramp and cross over the overpass to the other side of the highway. The trail follows along highway 58 for about a mile before it starts to climb up the mountain. The climb up the mountain is about a 2,000 foot climb over several miles. It’s steep but not too bad. Except the wind is never-ending. I’m beginning to hate windmills. Windmills mean wind, obviously, and wind can suck it. I was trying to listen to an audio book but had to stop since the wind was blowing in my ears so loud I couldn’t hear anything.
As we were walking up the mountain of wind 5 Star pointed out a car that was down at the base of the mountain but a fair distance from the road. I zoomed in on it with my camera. Looks to be an old car from the 40s.
We continue to climb and climb and climb up the windy mountain. Across the way is another mountain with windmills lined up along the ridge. I turn a corner and 5 Star is standing there. I walk up and he points out there is no wind. It’s being blocked by a large bush. It’s only 8 but a break from the wind is definitely needed. I open my pack and eat a small bag of cheetos and doritos. These didn’t fit in my food bag so I decided to get rid of them first. We are sitting right in the sun but it’s still so cold.
After about 20 minutes we slowly get up and make our way back out into the hurricane. Somehow it feels as if the wind has picked up and the temperature has dropped. My hat gets ripped off my head. Luckily I put my packs sternum strap through the hat cord for that exact reason. We still have another thousand feet of elevation to climb over 2 miles. As we climb the view from the other side of the mountain starts to come into view. Looks like more rolling hills of the same brown and green.
I finally reach the top and see a beautiful site. Trees! Sanctuary from the wind! We stand in a small sheltered area within the trees. Someone had made a fire there. You’d have to be a real idiot to build a fire there. The ground is covered in dry pine needles and the wind is still able to come through the trees. All it would take is one ember to catch the wind and the whole south side of the mountain would be on fire. We break up the rocks used for the fire pit and throw them in different directions and then cover up the black ash with dirt.
On the other side of the small section of trees it seems as if the scenery completely changes. Finally no more brown desert mountains with desert bush. Finally we have trees! Getting closer to the Sierras!
We follow the trail and come across a marker that says “caution.” Caution of what? Bears? Mountain lions?
We continue walking and 20 feet later we see a wood cattle guard we have to step over. On the other side is a jeep road. We have to continue on the rough road for several miles. The road is rough and rocky. Not nice to walk on that’s for sure. After an hour and half on the road I’m ready for a break and we sit down against a log for lunch. I pull out my food bag and go to town. I eat a third of my block of cheese. That sucker is heavy!
30 minutes later we pack up. Only 6ish more miles to the water source. My body is completely tightened up and I’m limping along slowly. My Achilles is especially tight. I take some ibuprofen and hope for it to kick in fast. For the next hour I’m trying to catch up to 5 Star.
I’m slowly catching up to him when we turn a corner and start walking up towards windmills. No! It was so nice not having wind for the last couple hours.
Luckily the trail drops down below and there isn’t any wind. The trail follows around the mountain steadily dropping. We reach the water and it is a piper spring flowing into a big concrete bathtub. We fill up our water and sign the register. We decide to camp here and go back up the trail a bit where there is an open area.
We set our packs down and pull out our pads and relax for a bit in the shade. After an hour it’s starting too get cold and so we set up our tents in the one flat area that is in the sun. After setting up we eat dinner. I’m tempted to eat all my food but then I would be a sad panda for the next 6 days. We lounge on our pads for a couple hours and then we see Captain and Mommy walk up. They are excited to see us and I wasn’t expecting to see them again or at least not for a long time. They go back to the water and grab there stuff as more people walk up. They set up there tents along with Tea Time and Daniel. After setting up they come over by us and eat dinner. More people I don’t know show up and sit by us and crowd in. Way too many people! As the sun sets behind the trees it is getting way too cold for me so I tell everyone I’m turning in. Hoping all the people I don’t know leave since they are sitting next to my tent. That is too much to ask for though. A few people continue to hang around my tent talking. Ugh… people. It’s pretty crowded here tonight. Hopefully these people are morning people since I’ll be making as much noise as a possible at 5 am.
1 of 7 days down. Only 120 miles left until Kennedy Meadows.