With just 6 miles left and leaving at 6am, made it to the highway before 8am. Crumbs and I were walking together to the the highway and met another hiker from Switzerland who had already called a trail angel for a ride. We were lucky – with basically no waiting time, we got into Ashland!
I went to the motel where Cactass and Tinkle were sharing a room with three other hikers. My early arrival was a surprise and being reunited was really nice! But it also meant good bye again soon after! Cactass is attending some weddings in September and for that, she decided to skip forward a couple of days to Crater lake.
With Cactass gone, we spent the rest of town time shopping for food, eating and resting. I used the life long Darn Tough socks warranty the first time and exchanged a pair with holes with a new one in the Mountain Provisions shop in Ashland.
It was also time for my forth pair of shoes:
First was Salomon X Ultra Mid, 0-700 miles
Second Lowa Camino Leather for the Sierras, 700-1100 miles
Third Salomon X Ultra 1100-1700
Fourth Salomon X Ultra 1700-?
The smoke situation from the forest fires is quite bad, especially around Ashland.
You see many people with filter masks on their faces on the streets – we will check out a local hardware store before hitting the trail later.
Besides the usual town activities (Lots of shopping for food, eating, relaxing), I did another shakedown! We need to increase the miles, and less gear will help… I also changed a lot of my gear.
On its way to Steven: Lowa leather boots, gloves, flint striker, platypus bottle, belt, long johns, Chromecast, solar charger, journal, pen, PCT sticker and pin. Some of items I will need again when getting into the cooler North/Washington.
Into trash: two pairs of socks, short running pants without pockets, Icebreaker top with too many holes.
New: Salomon trail runners X Ultra, TNF shorts with pockets, Arc’teryx hoodie as new base layer. One new pair Darn Tough socks.
The shakedown will reduce my pack weight probably around half a kilo. Changing from boots to trail runners is another big step for me…
Short break for an energy bar in a meadow full of flowers around 10.30am.
Lunch break at 12pm with Tinkle but without Cactass – she wants to push further. Wolf Creek at mile 1039.
Plan is to camp at mile 1049 Small Sherrold Lake – that would make it a 21 miles day – the first 20+ since entering the Sierra about a month ago. But I start feeling the pressure… Nearly three months on trail, but the midpoint still is 200+ miles out. Still believing in the Oregon wonder… 😉 After the midpoint at 1325 miles, many hikers increased their mileage significantly due to the flat land in Northern California and Oregon…
Caught up with Cactass. We heard about trail magic at Ebbots pass. Made it there around 5.30pm. And what a trail magic! Despite of July 4th, a nice couple offered hot dogs, sodas, beer, fruit, snacks…. Best trail magic I had on trail!
They also had some magic like energy bars, gear, even new socks sponsored by SNAC – thanks for the merino socks!
Had two beers there and another one to go.. our planned camp site was just another half mile out.
A nice evening with bellies full of magic, beers and sparklers for July 4th!
June 4. Slept pretty well. It had cooled down during the night, that helped with the sleep.
Started walking at 6am… Motivated to make it to Kennedy Meadows by 10am and with that in time for breakfast. The trail followed a river… The sweet sound of running water accompanied us on the last steps towards Kennedy Meadows. With that also the anticipation of having creeks, rivers and lakes around you for the next section, the High Sierra.
Being able to wash yourself every day… Do some laundry, wash the dishes… 😁
After the 700 miles marker, it was just a couple of miles to Kennedy Meadows and the General Store there.
Will be camping here at the Kennedy Meadows General Store for a night or two.
Time to prepare the gear for the Sierra, fill the bear canister… And give my feet some rest.
Breakfast at Nelda’s Diner. Tinkle had found a trail angel (Mariann) to pick us up right at the diner at 8.30am to go back to the trail head at Walker Pass.
Took two Gatorades from the trail magic at the trail head. Started walking 9.30am.
Lots of climbing. Really hot day. There was talk about a heatwave with temperatures in the high 30s Celsius.
At 5pm, when getting water, everyone was tired from the heat, so we went an early end of the day.
When pitching my tent, I realized that one of the guy lines nearly had ripped, it must have been scratching at a rock when I had pitched it last time. Kind of disappointing. The guy line is long enough to continue using it… But I wished they would have used a bit robust material for the guy lines.
May 30. Got an good start, hit the trail at 6am. Slept super good. Second night in the new tent… Maybe it was the early time to go to bed…
The new tent is awesome. Actually bigger inside than the MSR. Pitching it was easy so far.
Rock formations in the morning sun
Today would be a day where we would be fully relying on water caches. There was only one off trail spring in case of emergency.
Hot day with soft sandy trail – not much shade today.
Only Joshua trees provide some shade
Carried two liters only, first stop after 7 miles at the the next water cache at mile 616. Took three liters from there for the 15 miles to the next water cache and planned tentsite for today at Bird Spring pass, mile 631.
At mile 621.5 is the 1000 KM marker… Now that’s an achievement… 😁👍🏻😜
Lunch break at mile 622, combined with longer siesta. Limited shade, everyone tries to hide under a Joshua tree.
Bird Spring pass was very exposed in the wind. We were glad to see that there was sufficient water in the cache, bit finding a protected spot for the tents would not be easy.
I pitched mine at a not so optimal spot… The ground was really soft and the wind was strong. I tried to give additional hold for the stakes with several rocks… But not too much improvement. The tent kept flapping in the wind and I would have very little sleep that night.
May 28. Enjoyed a last time the continental breakfast in the hotel. I called the trail angels Jeff and Kerry from the other day and they agreed to pick all 6 of us up at the hotel at 8.30am and get us to the trailhead at highway 85. We started walking around 9am.
Trees were providing shade from time to time. A welcoming break from the heat.
At lunch break, a Don Quixote challenged one of the many generators of the wind park we passed.
Two breaks before coming to the water at 17 miles. Many hikers, all needing lots of water. Last water in another 18 miles.
It was already close to 6pm, so we voted to just go 2.5 more miles and dry camp around mile 586, even if that would make it not a 20 mile day.
Pitched my new tent for the first time. I love it.