Day 42 Walking to New Heights

Miles: 20
Total: 751
Water: 2L from a creek; 3L from Chicken Spring Lake

The cold morning has me thinking back to the start of the trail, before the desert was so dry and hot. I stay in bed as long as I can, eating, packing, filtering water and doing as many morning chores as I can from the warmth of my sleeping bag.

A night at 9000 feet has done me good. I power up the hill, a welcome change from yesterday’s broken, gasping steps. I reach a high saddle with views far to the east and west, offering incredible morning vista but also, I quickly discover, reliable three bars 4G phone service. The first since Mojave nine days ago. Much blogging, calling, and even some facebooking ensues. I share the good news with other hikers as they pass by. Those with ATT join, those with other carriers are out of luck. I offer to trade some email checking for jolly ranchers.

There’s more up today. Miles and miles after lunch. But my good legs hold and I seem to be adjusting to the altitude quickly. It also helps that I only carry five days food – others are attempting 10+ days without resupply. I remain pleased with my plan to hike out and keep my pack weight down.

Tonight’s camp is right near the lake up over 11,000 feet. I know it will be cold here, up high and close to water, but I could not resist the view. A real lake full of snowmelt and rainwater. There are only a few more entries before the water report ends, sources so plentiful they will no longer structure our days.  

Rooster and Crunchberry are camped nearby again, though we will at least temporarily be parting ways as they take a day-long side trip to summit Mount Whitney and I continue on, since I was just up there in September. I will be back on the John Muir Trail tomorrow afternoon, which is the same as the PCT for something like 180 miles. I wonder how different it will look from this direction, and how it will feel with PCT legs, but also at a PCT pace.

Frogs are croaking loudly on the shore. Gusts of wind, first heard in the distance, make my tent flap after a short delay. I generally prefer to cowboy camp in the wind – it’s quieter, but I am going to need the shelter tonight. The warmth has disappeared with the light.


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