Day 37 – 5/28/16
Walker Pass Campground 651.30 to 669.55
Total miles: 18.25
Another ridiculous night. Around 11:30 some ass hat backs their truck and horse trailer up next to the table that has a box of food for hikers and gallons of water on the ground. Unloads their two horses being as loud as he can. Ties up the horses to the trailer where they proceed to shit and piss all over the ground next to the water. I could smell it all night and I’m sure my quilt smells like it still. Why did they have to set up right there next to where people are camped out? There were plenty of other places around the campground.
5 comes around and I start to pack up. Quickly. Horses are truly smelly creatures. We fill up on more water and take off. We approach the highway while watching the sun rise behind twin mounds.
After crossing the highway there is a long uphill climb for several miles. 5 Star and I climb and climb and climb. The scenery is very brown. I long for a change of scenery. I’m over the desert. Luckily, I’m almost knocking on the Sierra’s door.
We finally hit the saddle where we cross over to the other side and we see more desert! Imagine that! The trail skirts around the mountain to the east and we can look out at a flat, brown, and presumably hot desert floor. To be fair the rock formations were interesting.
We follow the trail on top of another saddle and we finally cross over into some trees. We stop to take a break and we notice we have service! Well 5 Star has had service for awhile. For some reason Verizon sucks out here. I try and call my mom but I can’t dial out. I only have data. So I use Facebook to call. The connection isn’t very good and there seems to be a delay. We talk for a couple minutes but my connection keeps dropping. I use the messenger instead to text while sending out an uodate. Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of time to upload the photos and the add them to the site. Also drains my battery quickly. So I was only able to put out one day.
I didn’t have time to reply to comments but I think I read them all. I know in my last post I mentioned how tired and worn out I was feeling and that it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other. Some days are good and some days kick my butt. Sometimes it’s multiple days in a row. Usually this happens in the afternoon after 15 or more miles. I’m constantly eating and snacking but I can’t eat enough. I’m burning over 6,000 calories a day but I can only carry about 4,000 for each day. It’s a losing battle no matter what. The more weight I carry the more calories I burn. 4,000 calories is about 2 pounds of food. This is why thru hikers have “hiker hunger.” An appetite that can never be satisfied. 5 Star and I will say “you know what sounds good” and then say some type of food. I’m constantly thinking about when I can get my next burger. When I see a car go by all I can think about is if they have soda or fruit or anything. Every road crossing I’m hoping for a cooler of anything. Food, non-trail food, consumes my thoughts. I try to be as honest about how I’m feeling because I don’t think a lot of trail journals express how difficult it really is out here. Anyone can imagine how physically difficult it is to walk 20 miles every day up and over mountains while caring 30 pounds. The real struggle is mental. Constantly thinking about food, aches and pains, how nice a shower would be, a soft bed. The most difficult is missing friends, family, and pets. Currently my cat hasn’t been feeling well and it hurts that I can’t be there for him. I also miss my dog terribly bad. I miss my bad boy Loki. It helps when I have service and I can call up my mom and dad to talk for an hour but going an extended time is difficult. The homesickness really starts to set in then.
With all that said I’m still happy to be out here. I don’t convey it often but I am enjoying myself. Although the last of the desert is getting frustrating parts of the day take my breath away. Plus, if I was home I’d have to find a new job and sit at desk all day. I’m enjoying my time off work. Almost a month and a half already.
After, our service break we made our way down the forested side of the mountain. It wasn’t overly shady but it was better than the brown, sandy, and treeless side.
We get to the side trail for Joshua Tree spring where there is water. Apparently the water is not safe for drinking. It has a very high uranium content. Oh well, water is water out here. Better than dehydration.
Just kidding! The water report said the spring was dry so we didn’t go down there.
We continued on for a bit before stopping to take a lunch break. We sat under a sliver of shade. 5 Star gave me some food since he had too much and I offered to help him dispose of it. Right into my mouth. We past the 1/4 mile mark awhile back. If the trail is 2,650 miles then the 1/4 is 662.5 miles. Wow! Quarter of the way done! Have I changed as a person? Have I had an epiphany about life? Was it while squatting over a hole? I’m not sure. It’s only been 37 days but when I think back on that first day it seems so long ago. I feel like I was so unsure about what I was doing, about if I’d like the people, whether I was strong enough mentally and physically. Sometimes it feels like a completely different person.
While sitting and eating we realized that in addition to completing a quarter of the trail we also have less than 2,000 miles to go! The miles are just flying by. After an hour of sitting and looking at the switch backs high up on the distant mountain we got up. Nobody is going to hike the trail for us!
We get up, climb over the mountain we were staring at and then see rocks marking “1/4.” I think we were at 665 so I’m not sure what total mileage they were using.
We continue on heading towards water. We begin a large descent down the mountain. The trees are getting greener and bigger. Some sections are very thick and it is dark under the trees. It would be nice if it weren’t for all the bugs. We come around a corner and take a quick break in the shade. 5 Star looks over and there are a pair of flip flops. The trail does truly provide! I shove them into his pack and set off. If we can’t find their owner then 5 Star gets replacement flip flops after yesterday’s unfortunate event that resulted in Reese Witherspooning one off the mountain.
We finally get to where the water is at 1:45. The Spanish Needle creek. On the trailbits basically just mud. We have to hike up through dense brush and trees a hundred yards to where the water is flowing. We fill up and head back down to where we left our packs, swatting at bugs the whole time. There is a laser system that can detect mosquitoes, target them, and will burn off their wings. I want a shoulder mounted one that can detect all flying insects that come within a foot of me. The small flies that hover in front of my face or land on my sunglasses are very annoying. I quickly filter water, trying not to get frustrated by these annoying creatures by imagining them with their wings burned off. Never to fly again for the rest of their now even shorter life.
I pack up my bottles and filter and slowly walk away. 5 Star is still finishing with his water. I turn the corner and see a couple places where people have set up tents. I wait for 5 Star and see if he is good with here. We walk around a bit looking for some more spots that might be in the shade. We don’t have any luck so we settle on a spot that looks flat. We plan on cowboy camping. I run off as usual to take care of business of upmost importance.
I get back and I find a tree that has shade we can sit under. I grab my pack to move over there so I can lean against it. 5 Star brings over his sleeping pad and lays down. I listened to the 13th book of the Wheel of Time series. So good. 5 Star sits up after awhile and we talk a bit and discuss what sounds good right now. He is craving a bucket of fried chicken. He wants to eat the skins like Cartman.
We move our stuff back to where it’s flat since the sun has set enough. We are sitting looking at the imposing sky when a thru rider trots by. Followed by another horse. I recognize the horses from the campground. So this is the asshat. She trots on by and calls for the second horse who almost walked over to where we were lounging. Right after she passes we discuss the dark clouds forming. I mention maybe we will have to set up our tents instead of cowboy camp again. Almost instantly we hear thunder. I stand up and start getting my tent out. I finish setting up my tent and look at the sky and see a nice blue sky with wispy clouds rolling in. Oh well. Better safe than sorry.
I get in my tent with all my stuff and notice there are ants everywhere just outside my tent. Great… guess it’s a good thing I set up my tent. I must have stirred them up putting in my stakes. I watch them through the netting scurrying around aimlessly. They crawl up onto the walls of the tent and I flick them off.
5 Star offers me one of his “protein smoothie” which is protein powder and Nido powdered milk. It’s actually quite good. 60g of protein and lots of extra fat calories from the Nido.
Only 33 miles to Kennedy Meadows! I’m more excited for the burgers the store makes. I also hear someone offers rides to a restaurant called Grumpy Bears. I want some fat and greasy food before my 11 day trek before resupply.