May 22: Miles 558 to 579 (21 miles)
May 23: Miles 579 to 602 (23 miles)
May 24: Miles 602 to 624 (22 miles)
May 25: Miles 624 to 650 (26 miles)
May 26: Miles 650 to 673 (23 miles)
May 27: Miles 673 to 689 (16 miles)
May 28: Miles 689 to 702 (13 miles)
Leaving Mojave CA with our packs loaded with seven days worth of food…now that was tough. It’s mostly tough because towns are full of regular comforts – the ones you take for granted, such as showers (please thank God right now for your daily shower…do it for me!), beds, food, and civilization just to name a few. Now add to the equation that we are always leaving town with copious amounts of food in order to make it to our next leg. We allotted ourselves seven days to make it to Kennedy Meadows. I could barely close my pack…she was stuffed!
The weather was great. The sky was full of rain clouds, and we could even see rain showers all around us, but we somehow miraculously dodged any precipitation.
The landscape over the past couple of days has been so varied. We are headed to the High Sierras, but we are still changing elevation a lot. One moment we are at high elevations with pines and wild flowers, and the next we are back in the desert. It’s odd actually…and it often catches me off guard. It’s kind of neat though, because as much as I’m “so over” the desert, it’s comforting to be among cactus and Joshua trees again – well hello old friends…long time no see!
In fact, when we found ourselves mysteriously plopped back into the desert, I exclaimed, “well today is just another opportunity to see a rattlesnake!” We had yet to see one.
Until just moments after that statement! Phew! I was beginning to think we wouldn’t see one at all. I almost stepped on him, but luckily he didn’t seem too threatened by our presence.
We were really pushing to get a good day in the following day. There were rumours of the water caches not being stocked that regularly in this section, and some people were even saying they had to go 30 or more miles without a water resupply. That freaked me out! Water is KEY out here, and in this particular section, there are no creeks or even man made faucets. Water caches are donated by wonderful folk who bring gallons and gallons of water for us…we really depend on them.
So since it was apparently “dry,” Lorax and I had a 28 mile day planned to make it to the next cache. That mile was also significant, because it marks the end of SoCal, and the beginning of the next section – CentralCal. It was a sunny and hot day…as per usual.
We were getting REALLY low on water. At 10 miles in, we only had 2.5 litres between the two of us, and we had 18 miles to go. It was looking bad. I was praying like a maniac that there would be water, or a trail angel waiting there with water, or a puddle of water, or a rain cloud with water…just some sort of water! When we rounded the corner where the cache usually is, I exclaimed, “Thank God!” at the sight of the largest water cache I have yet to see. Water…glorious water! There was also a water cooler with the most delicious peach iced tea I have ever had.
We decided to still push on for a big day, and fell shy of our 28 mile goal because I completely crashed at 26 miles. I was really frustrated with myself…Why couldn’t I do a measly 2 more miles? I even started crying about it. I wanted to get ther so bad because there was a creek where I could bathe. 5 days in the desert with nothing but water caches means no bathing – that water is for drinking only. But it was almost 8pm, so it was time to call her quits. I slept like a baby.
The following morning, we hiked the 2 miles to where we had planned to camp (at Walker Pass), and there was a fantastic group of angels – Yogi, Oakie Girl, Jackalope and Bear Bait – preparing coffee and strawberry pancakes! I know I’m a broken record, but moments where people make you food on the PCT are like no other!! I helped with dishes, and we headed back to the hike 2 hours later. Goodbye SoCal…hello CentralCal!
We had a decent climb after breakfast, and we were feeling strong. When we got to where we wanted to camp by a creek, we were bummed to see that there was only one tiny flat spot, big enough for one tent…and it was taken.
So we had to push on another 3 miles in a ascent that was uncharacteristically steep. I knew that if I slowed down, I would be dead, and there was literally nowhere flat…just a steep mountain pass…so we pressed on HARD. We made the 3 miles in an hour, which is a great pace considering the climb.
The following day we took her easy. The 7 day stretch with no stopping and resupply was getting to us. So we made a point of taking breaks when we needed them, and enjoying ourselves. It felt good to focus on enjoyment, rather than pushing for miles. Some days it feels like we get lost in “getting somewhere”, instead of being in the moment. We had a 2 hour stop with a trail angel named Steve who handed us Gatorades and Subway sandwiches. His wife is hiking the PCT for the second time, and he isn’t into hiking, but he meets her at all the towns and basically supports her hike. It’s the sweetest thing! What a beautiful way to stay connected, and to spend time together, even if hobbies differ. I thought it was adorable.
And that brings us to the final day of the 7 day stretch!! This day was FUN. We had 14 miles to get to Kennedy Meadows…our destination for a zero. WE CHARGED. Cranked out the walk by noon. We listened to 90’s punk songs (come on…we’re 30…we wanted to take it back to high school) and sang along to the immature and fast lyrics. It was a great time.
Now here we are at KM, resting our feet, eating, drinking (trying to mostly drink water, but hikers like to share beer…and sharing’s nice…), relaxing, and preparing for the High Sierra’s!