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.
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…
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.