June 6, 2015 (8th Re-Ration – Bird Spring Pass)
Tentsite before Landers Meadow Spring (608.0) to Bird Spring Pass (630.9)
22.9 PCT miles today
643.9 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,193 ft, – 3,909 ft
I have a feeling that the desert is upset with us for talking so badly about it over the past couple weeks. Not only did today drop us right back into hot, barren shrubbery before we even had time to fully wake up and smell the pine trees, but this afternoon our sunny day quickly turned into a full-blown thunderstorm, and we were at its very center, running down the trail trying to avoid being pelted by wind-blown balls of hail.
It was an adventurous day, to say the least. One moment we were climbing up a shrub-covered, sandy mountain, dying of heat and begging for shade, and the next we were surrounded by dark clouds, claps of thunder coming from every direction. We had just run into some surprise trail magic from trail angels Jugs and Cat when the rain started to fall. At first it was just sprinkling, which actually felt great and helped cool us off, but within minutes it became a downpour. The wind kicked up about the same time the rain turned to hail, and that’s when we really picked up our pace. We were cold and we knew that if we could just get to Bird Spring Pass, about 7 more miles away, Mama Bear would be waiting for us there (the plan was for her to bring our next 3 days of food and camp with us for a night) with a car that could warm us up and protect us from the elements.
As we neared our destination, the storm lessened and we actually saw blue skies ahead. It felt strange to literally walk out of the storm…we used to out-ride storms quite a bit on bike tour, but we hadn’t really experienced out-running one. By the time we reached my mom we were already half-dry and the sun was out, shining brightly as ever, as if nothing had even happened. There was no easy way to explain the gravity of the storm that we had just hiked through, so instead we just hung out our clothes to dry, set up our tent, and dug into a wonderful chicken dinner that Mama Bear had brought up for us.
We know we’re being spoiled, but Mama Bear loves this trail angel business and we figure we’d be crazy not to take advantage of her generosity and love. Plus, we have rules. We’ll never slack-pack or hitch, and as a way of ensuring that it doesn’t happen on accident, we won’t carry less than 3 days of food and supplies. For example, we have 70 miles to go before Kennedy Meadows, and even though Mama Bear has about 3 different places that she’d like to meet up with us, we’ve asked that she wait until we’ve put in our 3 days of hiking and be there to greet us in Kennedy Meadows. It’s not that we don’t love having her around, we just don’t want this hike to be “supported” and we certainly don’t want to take any short-cuts. But if the desert is going to scald us with the sun and then pelt us with hail, we’re going to accept a glass of wine and a caesar salad at the end of the day and call it good.