I think today may have finally put the desert behind me. There have been lots of trees since the climb out of walkers pass yesterday and today I passed three actual streams. I got water from the first one, got water and took siesta at the second one, and motored on past the third one. There are more actual oak trees now, too, and not just pines. I saw many birds and several squirrels today. I don’t think squirrels live in the desert.
I slept in a little and got going about six. I cowboy camped again last night so it was a quick breakfast and getaway. The trail had a significant amount of trees and decent shade so I used the poles all morning to my first water stop in about five miles. Water was 100 yds up from the trail and flowing well. I ate a snack and cameled up for the next stretch of about twelve miles to the next water and my siesta point.
It started getting quite warm on this last few miles. I decided to keep using the poles and not resort to the umbrella to see how it went. My hands started getting sunburned so I stopped to put sunscreen on them. I have so much covered up that I haven’t used sunscreen in over a week. When I’m holding the umbrella my hands are shaded, so this was a first.
I did not get to the siesta stream until 1:45. First order of business was to get the water filter going, then get set up under shade. I found a great thick and wide pine tree that would shade me for hours without moving. I drank a little, then immediately took a quick nap. After an hour I cooked lunch and drank some more, then napped again. I like napping.
I left siesta at 5 and decided to try to get to the top of the next climb as my stopping point. There were 22 miles to Kennedy Meadows and I wanted to knock out five to seven of those tonight. As luck would have it, the top of the climb had some good flat spaces for camping and I got there about 8, so it was a perfect stop. This was a burn area, and there were some cut trees to sit on while cooking dinner. I ate dinner first, hung the food, then set up cowboy camp. I saw at least one desert rat, so let’s see how this goes.
Tomorrow is about 15 miles downhill into Kennedy Meadows where I should be able to get a shower, laundry, and possibly some real food. If it’s nice enough, I might take a full day off Monday to rest. Kennedy Meadows is where my bear canister and snow equipment is waiting for me. The next 200 miles are at higher altitudes and will be considerably colder and have significant amounts of snow. I think I climb to 10,000 ft in the first 25 miles. I am camped right now at 8000 ft, which has been the usual highest so far except for two or three jaunts to 9000 ft. I also should be able to discard two of my water bottles since I should not have to carry water further than 10-15 miles from here on out. The weight I will save in less water will be offset by the bear canister, down jacket, and microspikes.