June 9 (Day 39)

Bird Spring Pass to Walker Pass CG (630.8 to 651.3)

Daily miles: 20.5

The dehydration roadshow continues, but I’m given a short reprieve in the morning hours.  All night long the wind blew, and sand gathered in my hair and around my things which I had carefully arranged as a poor man’s windbreaker.  Sand in the sleeping bag.  I slept poorly, and warmly.

My face feels puffy and swollen, so I drink a liter of water and make quick work of breaking camp.  Over 3 miles I go up 1800 feet, but I’m given views of both desert and mountain, so I’m a happy hiker.  My strength wanes, then departs, and on cue the sun grows high and fierce and sends it’s rays into my cells to steal my water.  I crest the ridge and head down to yet another valley.

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Ere I saw the Sierre

But wait!  Far in the distance!  Something has risen from the horizon line and it’s capped with snow and I swear I can see sun glimmering off granite, even from this distance.  That’s the Sierra!  For weeks I’d heard rumor of its approach but now I have the proof.  I’ll have to just see about these last 70 or so desert miles and then it’s a whole new game.  The Sierra…

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So I put my head down and soon that distant range is gone again and I think perhaps it was a mirage.  No, I think, it was there and I saw it.  Which really makes the rest of the day drag on, because the heat demons return and dance around me and laugh since I still belong to them.  Dizzy and weary, sweaty and wheezy, I look for a place to rest for a few hours and find a mediocre spot infested with bugs.  I lay down and decide to let the bugs bite.  I don’t care. 

In the evening I find Walker Pass Campground and there’s that most reliable trail angel, Coppertone, with a  large crowd of hikers gathered around his R.V.  I sigh, move on, make camp, and find this mystical water source, the first natural one in 42 miles.  The bees fly around the piped spring and I put my hand out as invitation to land.  I think about Pilar, who is a character in a book.  One buzzes, hesitates, flies away.  It senses I mean no harm.  Then there’s the typical stunning desert sunset which seems to last for hours and invents new colors as it goes.  Finally dark sets in and I go searching once again for sleep.

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