I got up at 5.30 and was ready to hike out at 6.30. I’m always so much faster when I know I’m getting into town. I left before Pedro and Lipstick but they were close to being ready so I knew they wouldn’t be far behind me. My first stop would be the North Fork Ranger Station where there was water and apparently cold soda’s and snickers as well. It was about 6 miles and pretty easy terrain. Little uphill and lots of going down. I was in the shade of the mountain most of the way so it was a nice temperature. I got there at 9 and met up with Lipstick again. I gorged on the snicker bars and enjoyed a cool orange soda. I was feeling energetic and confident in getting the next 8 miles over fast. Since it was still early I didn’t expect it to get too hot. I took a liter of water with me and 2 soda’s and was ready again a half hour after I got there. I was an absolute idiot for taking so little water and by no means prepared for what came next. The heat just slammed me right in the face. It was so overwhelming and came out of the blue. It was not even 10 AM but almost a 100 degrees. The trail kept climbing up and the excrutiating heat covered me like a blanket. There was nowhere to escape it. No trees to hide under. Nothing. Sand, dirt and dry bushes was all I had. And ofcourse my trusty liter of water, a 7up and one Coke. I kept going for three miles until I found a tiny patch of shade. The trail was so narrow that I couldn’t really lie or sit under it. I could crouch a little against the mountain. I only stayed for a few minutes because it was so uncomfortable. Just pounded my 7up and went further. The climbing got even worse and by then there was not much of my liter left. About 2 miles later I died under a new extremely uncomfortable patch of shade and opened the coke. I drank half and poured the rest in one of my empty water bottles. While I was melting away, Hadley, another hiker past me. He looked at me and we both saw the insanity in each others eyes. There were no words spoken, just hysterical laughter. After I saw him racing down the trail still laughing I made a decision. He was right. Going fast and hard was the only way. Taking rests in the meager shade I could find was not the option. It was almost just as hot and made me just as thirsty. I picked up my pack and powered through. 3 more miles to go, loads of climbing, a quarter liter of water and a quarter liter of deliciously hot Coke. I was dying. I couldn’t stop daydreaming about people throwing water in my face. 1,5 mile out from the end I saw a dirt road come close to the pct. I took out my Guthook and saw that it went down straight to the parking lot that connects to the KOA. The pct ofcourse went over a hill going away from the parking lot and then travelling back down to it. The choice was easily made. I stumbled down the road with no more fluids left. At the parking lot a trail angel was standing with liters of water in his hands. I drank a whole liter at once and couldn’t stop thanking him. Hadley was sitting there and we laughed about our earlier encounter. He told me that when he had passed me he was completely out of water. I continued to the KOA and was so relieved to finally be there. Since Wrightwood, the trail had been kicking my ass and now I could finally take a well deserved zero. I sat down for a while with Batman, Hadley and Cheryl wondering where Daniel was. Just as I decided he probably passed this place already, he appeared. I was so glad. We were all going to be together by the end of the day at this awesome campground. Showers, laundry and a pool. I don’t need much more. I hitched into town with Hadley and Cheryl and went to the store to buy me Lipstick and Pedro some ribeye’s to bbq. Lipstick had been dreaming about a corona with lime for days so I picked those up as well. I made the great decision of buying a bottle of Jim Beam. Cool people drink Bourbon and I wanted to be one of them. Lipstick arrived a little after I got back to the KOA and had a lot of bad news. Snapdragon had left the trail, I believe at the fire station, to help out a friend at home. She is coming back at Kennedy Meadows but I’m still going to miss her. She also had some other news. When she got down to the parking lot she saw ambulances and firetrucks driving up the dirt road I took down. There was also a chopper circling around the area. Someone was airlifted out but we didn’t knew who it was. I went to take an hour long shower and when I got back Lipstick had found out who it was. Pedro. A woman we just met a few days ago came to find her and told her Pedro wanted us to know what had happened. He started feeling really bad and luckily the woman and her daughter had passed him. They helped him out and he tried to hike a little further but it just got worse and worse. She had asked him if he wanted her to call for help and he immediately responded yes. She dialed 911 and the emergency responders went all out. It’s nice to know they take this very serious. Firetrucks, ambulances and a helicopter went up there and they decided the helicopter was the best way. He got airlifted and they brought him to a hospital in Valencia, California. I got in contact with him and the doctors told him it probably was a combination of a number of things. Dehydration, loss of elektrolytes, the rapid weight loss, exhaustion. They released him at night and he understandably decided that his thru hike was over. This would be too intense for me as well. But I hope he’s proud that he made it for over 400 miles on the pct. He finaly got his trail name though. I will miss Airlift. We made ourselves feel better with the ribeye’s and we gave a french guy named Balou Pedro’s piece. It turned into a great night. We got to meet a fun hiker named Patrick. We saw his mother earlier that day. She came by to give him a carepackage but unfortunately couldn’t stay to wait for him. Lipstick guarded it with her life and we were excited to meet this Patrick. The carepackage was filled with so much goodness, she even put a pack of cigarettes in there. Lucky Patrick. Me, Hadley, Cheryl, Batman and Dan ended the night in a very nice gazebo. Dan convinced me to cowboycamp there. Since it was already dark and I hadn’t pitched my tent yet it seemed like the best option. With enough Jim Beam’s in my system I’ve never slept better.