We could have slept in this morning, but we knew that the German bakery opened at 6 and since we were awake we decided to go and have breakfast. Over some delicious baked goods, we decided that most likely we would have all the "need to do" list crossed off by early afternoon. So, we plan to be on the trail by mid afternoon. Spending a couple of days in town sounds good when on the trail, but then when we reach town, we are always ready to return as soon as possible. We hitch a ride to the grocery store with an older man in a Sprinter who has just returned from a 6 month stay in Baja. We then get a ride back to the campground
where we pack up our packs and head to Wit's End. Yoga Bae and Super Vegan are both there. Yoga Bae has a sore shin and needs to take another rest day. Super Vegan has just arrived and will be spending the night at a trail angels house. Both Dalton and Rachel have gone out of their way to be helpful.
Dalton tells us two hikers that we know are at the bakery eating lunch and that he plans on taking them to the trail head when they are finished. That would work for us as well, so we head to the bakery for the second time today and have a delicious lunch. Dalton picks us up after we have eaten and drops us off where we ended our hike yesterday. We hike along the highway for a while and then look up to see where this climb is going to take us. We have been warned that this section is the driest section of the entire PCT. Often there are water caches, but as the warning says. "Do not depend on them". So with full rations and full water, we slowly make our way up the mountain. We are determined to make it to the top before camping and do!
In the valley below are the ever turning wind turbines.
The campsite is perfect, it has some protection from the wind.
We liked our camping spot last night. If we had water and time, it would have been a great place to linger longer. Alas we had neither so we were on the trail by 5:30. The trail today seemed to spend way too much time on a rocky dirt road. This road was hard to walk on, because it was quite uneven and had numerous rocks that would roll under your feet. It was also quite steep so when the trail finally departed from it, we were glad. We met a couple of short section hikers today. They were out for the week and were heading southbound. They told us that there were two water caches ahead with plenty of water. That sure was good news! We still planned on carrying plenty of water, but could always top off at the caches. They were on the multi year plan to hike the PCT. Their trail names were Captain Crunch and Mr. Clean.
We also met an older gentleman called John Deer. He has been doing various section hikes for the last several years and was pretty sure that he had met us in OR or WA when we were hiking the PCT in those states. Our water source today came from Golden Oak Spring. It was flowing well and even had a resident rattlesnake which made us careful of where to sit.
Once we were off the road and back on the trail it was quite enjoyable. A good grade with lots of wild flowers.
It was a good morning to have breakfast in bed and be on the trail by 5:30. No limbs fell during the night which is always a good thing. One advantage of being up on the trail this early is that one often gets to enjoy the sunrises.
First stop of the day was Robin Bird Spring. Several groups of hikers had camped here last night and were just leaving when we arrived. The spring was a good source of water and we treated what we needed. Another milestone occurred today when this mileage marker appeared.
The temperatures had cooled during the night so leaving early seemed like a good plan. It is a magical landscape of Joshua trees and boulders.
The temperature dropped during the night and was below freezing when we woke up. It seemed quite appropriate to have breakfast in bed. When Don looked out of the tent he saw 3 headlamps walking down the trail. It was the threesome that we had met yesterday. They were meeting a ride at the trailhead and wanted to be sure they were on time. We, on the other hand, were running thru different scenarios. Our original plan was to hike another 50 miles and end this portion of our hike at Kennedy Meadows. The more that we talked to various hikers, getting a ride out of Kennedy Meadows this time of year could be difficult. Hiking back the 50 miles to Walker Pass did not see like a great option either. Walker Pass, where, we were hiking to today, had a bus stop and starting here later would be most efficient. There was also a storm coming that could start dumping snow at the higher elevations. We could handle that, but not sure if we really wanted to when later we could hike the trail in better conditions. So, we could try to rent a car in a nearby town and drive to San Diego tonight. The more we talked this idea over, the more it seemed that this plan had the most merit. Regardless, we needed to hike the 10 miles to Walker Pass and make the final decision there. First we decided to check out an old cabin. Had we been two days earlier the owners of the cabin would have been there, cooking for hikers and telling stories of the past. We had been told that four generations of one family were there.
After we left the cabin, it was mostly down hill.
Right before we got to the bottom Donna spotted her favorite toad and of course the toad posed while she got some great photos.