June 7, 2015
Bird Spring Pass (630.9) to Ridge after Walker Pass (656.1)
25.2 PCT miles today
669.1 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,784 ft, – 3,725 ft
Today was one gradual progression from good to better to best. If I weren’t so exhausted from all these high-mileage days all stacked one on top of the other, I might not be able to sleep for all my giddiness over this evening’s discovery.
We enjoyed a slow, sunny morning with Mama Bear, sipping coffee and exchanging pleasantries with hikers as they packed up and headed out on the trail. When the day had started to heat up and we couldn’t put it off any longer, we also headed off, attacking the first climb of the day with resolution and determination. The miles dragged by after that, at least until lunch. We were back into the thick of the desert with no shade and no sign of yesterday’s storm clouds, and the weather was getting hotter. After lunch we started in on our first shared book on tape (played over our Bluetooth speaker), Andrew Marr’s BBC production entitled “The History of the World”. It was incredibly fascinating, and really helped the miles fly by, but we had only had time to download part of it, so it stopped abruptly a couple hours in and we were back to silence. Fortunately, the lull didn’t last long. We were only a few miles from our next water source at the Walker Pass Campground, and unbeknownst to us, from some of our favorite trail magic yet.
Just a couple hundred yards off trail, two kind Los Angeles folk, Megan and her boyfriend whose name we accidentally forgot, were all set up and ready to greet hikers. They waved us over and we took a load off in their nice shady campsite. They immediately offered us drinks (beer for Pickles, a mimosa ON ICE for myself) and told us to help ourselves to snacks. There was a fun and chatty group of hikers already there and the ambience was incredibly welcoming. Megan, it turned out, is a yoga instructor, among other things, and so us hikers took turns being stretched out and worked on by her gifted hands. I literally left their site feeling pounds lighter. They were doing a BBQ this evening, but despite the very tempting offer to stick around, Pickles and I had 5 more uphill miles to get in, and we dragged ourselves away while we still had any willpower left. We know it would have continued to be a fun evening, but we have a schedule to keep if we want to get into Kennedy Meadows by my birthday, and we figured tomorrow morning might suffer a bit too if we stuck around.
Amazingly, it turned out the trail had even more magic in store for us this evening. We left Walker Pass at around 6pm, and with more energy than we had had all day, we powered up some crazy, barren switchbacks until we reached a ridge, high above the highway and campground. We couldn’t believe our eyes. On the other side of the ridge were mountains and pine trees in abundance. There was also a gorgeous sunset, and for our final 3 miles, we were cloaked in gold as we watched the sun go down behind distant mountains. We found the perfect campsite hidden among the trees right on another ridge, so we can see every last moment of the sunset, and even look forward to a sunrise in the morning on the other side. Safe from the mosquitos in our spacious tent, tonight we are two very happy campers.