Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 15: June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012.

Day: 15   Daily Miles: 43.75   Total Miles: 669    Hours Hiking: 16.5   6:10am-10:50pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 8th Audio File Here

Day 15
~5 miles S of Bird Springs Pass Road - HDR

June 8th, Day 15, I went 43.75 miles. I stopped at point 0406733E 3958841N at a grand total mile 669, to finish out my day. Lets see, where to begin, where to begin. I awoke and got my stuff together and was on trail by about 6:15am. It was still windy, but not nearly as windy as the night before. The sun had come up – it was a nice sunrise actually down out over Inyokern and China Lake. The mountains kinda all stacked up on each other with different hues of purple and gray and black as the sun was orange and yellow across the tops of them. I saw about 4 people ahead of me – they walked by while I was getting ready and just woke up. So my goal was to catch up to them. I remembered correctly the night before that there was a longer sandy climb, which was what I had to do within the first 20 minutes. The easy walk over to Bird Springs Pass cache, which actually had water – the person who is supplying the caches had their transmission die on the 5th, and so there was a note at the Kelso Valley cache saying that the Bird Springs one might not get delivered too or be empty. That was good news {that the cache had water}. I didn't take any water, I had plenty. I talked to the guys that had passed me, there were 4 of them. Another guy came in afterwards. And then there was a very large um....hey squirrel... a very large climb from Bird Springs Pass. It wasn't super steep, there are parts of it. It just winds it way up, up, up, up, up, up. When you finally peak and get around the false summit onto the back side, you get your first long distance glance of the Sierras – the barren peaks above tree line – gray 
Climbing up the big hill after Bird Springs Pass Road.
rock and such. I met another couple, I hiked with the guy from the couple for about 5-10 minutes, he was asking me questions because he had heard about me. That was nice to actually move and not be stationary while talking. My goal for the day was to get to Walker Pass somewhat early so I could enjoy the trail magic that was happening there via Meadow Ed from the 7-9th. I forgot about a dry and terrible road walk for about 3 miles by McIvers Springs. Then another dry and monotonous walk through a burn area on top of a ridge that felt like it never ended. In 2009 on that same ridge I found a turquoise Indian bead when I was looking for some rocks. I actually just passed a piece of obsidian on trail, so the Indians were out here, the evidence is all over. I met, I think a Japanese man named 'Hi', he was walking on the road. Some ATV'ers passed by. One stopped and we chatted for a little and they gave me an ice cold water, which was awesome. I finally got out of the monotonous area and was, surprised, delightfully surprised, that there was a 4 mile downhill to Walker Pass. I arrived at Walker Pass around about 2:30pm, so I had about 1.5 hour there. I ate, chatted with about 10 people who were hanging out. I looovveedd just being able to sit, especially in the middle of the day because I never really take breaks then and have food to chow on. I had donut holes, banana, soda, chips and salsa, bean dip, some cookies all manner of good things. I finally left a little after 4pm and wanted 
Sunset shadows, looking E towards Inyokern/China Lake.
to make it another 15-20 miles to make tomorrow easier to get into Kennedy Meadows so I can possibly make the store while it was open as well as have a little bit of time to just sit back and relax. Supposedly, my parents are going to try and meet me there. Which it would be awesome if they did, but doesn't matter if they didn't. That's what I'm really trying to make the store just in case. I last talked with them coming up from Highway 58, and they mentioned they might and I said 'well if you do, pick up my packages from the store, because if I'm late it means I'll have to wait until the morning and it'll put me 2-3 hours behind when I actually want to be leaving'. So we'll see, hopefully I'll make the store and see if my packages are there or not, and if not, I'll hike down a couple miles to where they said they'd be camping. We'll see about that. Anyways, I night, well evening hiked, I passed the two Kiwi's that were at the trail magic, they were pretty fun to talk to just because I actually have experience in their country and I think most of the people they meet don't know anything about it. I met them up about 2 hours back on trail – they left earlier than I had. I spent about 25 minutes chatting, giving them tips on places to go, things to see and whatnot about the trail. Those are two guys who – ones an older guy, ones younger in early 20's guy, by older I mean like 60. I'm not sure if they are together, like father and son, or they were just like hey, we're from the same country lets hike together. 
About 50 miles to go until Kennedy Meadows!
But I could totally see myself hiking with those guys because they, I don't know, they just seem more fun. I kept going, it was sooo frickin' windy. On the area where you kind of pop out, you're on the inside of the mountains, like facing towards the Sierras and the desert is on the other side of the mountains, and you finally go over a saddle and you're facing out towards Inyokern and China Lake, literally looking straight down on the desert where they've hacked the trail into a big rocky cliff. Some of those ridges that you kind of nose around ohh, there are 40mph winds blasting through there. But I finally made it through that and went down, down, down. I night hiked for a good 2.5-3 hours which was slow because the trail was rocky in places and started going up, and fairly steeply up too which was not very fun. My goal was a water source and finally hit that and went not very far after to the first camp site and spent the night. This morning actually, not even 5 minutes from camp I found there were fresh bear tracks on top of all the footprints on the trail, so there was a bear nearby, but they don't like people.
The climb just after the Walker Pass and Hwy 178 Crossing.