I took my sweet time in the morning.
Getting my body hydrated and packing about four liters of water. The next source would be only ten miles from where I was but I wasn’t taking any chances. I was a lot less negative and determined to make it to Kennedy Meadows. Even if I wanted to quit, I have been dreaming about reaching what seemed like the promised land for over a year and now that I was so close it would be a waste to let that go. I got my butt moving at 10.30 AM. It was hot and a big 5 mile climb. Still not finding my rhythm I took a page out of Lipstick’s handbook. Slow but steady and stopping at every single patch of shade I could find to catch my breath. After a while I finally found my groove. Not having to stop as much as when I started, I made it up the mountain and breezed down to the water at mile 680. I met up with an australian hiker at the water who was going to camp at an official campground about a quarter of a mile off the trail. It was about 6 PM but if I stopped now, I would need 22 miles tomorrow to make it to Kennedy Meadows. Lipstick would be there by then and I knew she wanted to take only one zero. I was still feeling good so I decided to keep going. Inspired, the australian did the same. I lost him instantly ofcourse but I left an inspiring note in a trail register for the people who came after me.
After 3 miles I made it to another water source and sat down there to eat the lunch I hadn’t finished. It got dark fast so I continued with my headlamp on. Got to see the creepiest insects and my first scorpion.
I imagined hearing bears and mountain lions everywhere I went. But I couldn’t see the trail ascending which made climbing that last mountain easier. Seeing the mountain you have to climb always makes it worse. What was not easy was the fact that my phone died and my external battery was done too. And ofcourse, because I wasn’t able to get my bounce box in the last town, I didn’t have any maps with me. Not that they would help me a lot at night. I did take pictures of all the waypoints and the elevation from my guthook app before my phone died. It wasn’t much but it was something. By 10 PM I was done for but couldn’t find any place to camp. The trail was very narrow and either side of me was very steep. I had to keep going. By 11 PM I was relieved to finally find some flat spaces. I had no idea at what mile I was. I pitched and got to bed. It was exposed and I was definitely in for a windy night. I hoped I was far enough so I didn’t have too rough of a day tomorrow.
Very interesting hiking here. It’s like nature is trying to decide between desert and forest.