Upper Shake Campground to Horse Trail Camp (493.4 to 508.1)
Daily miles: 14.7
I shake all the bugs that spent the night resting on my tent loose and they fall across the ground, dazed. I try to shake the sleep from my eyes, but I’m just too groggy. Coffee and poptarts go in, and I feel like I’m ready to cover some miles.
In this section, the water sources come from guzzlers attached to cisterns. A guzzler is like a big sloped sheet metal roof structure with a gutter on one end and a pipe running from the gutter to a slanted half-underground cistern. When it rains, water collects and humans and animals alike can reap the benefits.
So I walk from guzzler to guzzler and bake. There are three in total, so I never have to carry very much water. Not the greatest idea, because they weren’t reliable and the second was almost dry, but I made it work. Come across some half alive/half burnt meadows that transition from green to brown with the shadows of the trees.
With such a low mileage day planned and so much starting and stopping for water and breaks, I never find my hiking groove and instead just kind of hazily stumble along the trail. The heat builds and doesn’t really break, even as the sun begins to set from my campsite on a ridge overlooking the desert.
And then I learn about the fire, which is on trail and just began burning today. Looks like the trails going to close down and nobody knows what to do because there’s no alternate (obviously) and then there’s serious concern about a critical resupply point being closed down and leaving everyone who sent a package there unable to get their gear for the Sierra.
Nothing really left to do but go to bed. I sit there, anxious, and eat all my food because it makes me feel better. I only have a 10 mile hike to my next resupply, so it’s OK I guess. I figure the fire and my hunger can wait: I’ll make them tomorrow’s problems.