Day 45 – the mountains are changing

May 18, 2016

Bushcamp (mile 653.9) to bushcamp (mile 672.9)

Miles: 19

We awoke to a beautiful morning. The birds were chirping and the sky was pink. Laurie didn’t want to get up so she did everything she could think of to procrastinate – tickle Andy, eat left overs and study the map for water sources.

Two hours after waking up we were finally walking. Luckily it was only 7:30 am.

The air was cool. Initially we climbed gradually and then leveled out – walking amongst trees and watching the pink sky turn to blue. Many hikers passed us as we got ready. We caught up with some on the trail – many new faces but some familiar ones.

The desert valleys around us were beautiful – barren yet striking in contrast to the now blue cloudless sky. We are in a transition zone – the mountains are changing. There are more trees, more jagged rocks and actual mountains compared to hills. We can also feel it in our legs as we walk up and down steeper trails.

The trail started to climb again. At times we walked on soft dirt and other times pokey rocks. The rocks made us smile – recognizing that we are getting close to the Sierras where much of the trail is rocky.

We climbed up 1,100 ft only to descend another 2,100 ft.

In the valley we passed more Joshua trees and yucca – the last of the desert section. Lizards scampered out of our way while Andy hoped they would stop on exposed rocks and do push-ups.

We passed a muddy stream and climbed up a spur trail at the 2nd crossing of the same stream to get water. We used a scooper to collect the water due to the low water flow.

Our scooper is nothing more than the bottom quarter of a Smart Water bottle Andy cut from an old bottle. It works great and fits snugly on other Smart Water bottles making it easy to transport.

We collected 7 liters in total for the next 13 miles including 1 liter to use to cook dinner that night. It was hot and we had more climbing to do.

The water tasted good but had lots of sediment floating around. We look forward to the lakes and running streams of the sierras – hopefully they won’t all be frozen!

We climbed another 1,600 ft into the afternoon and evening light. There was rarely a breeze so it felt hot! Funny how we thought we were done with the desert heat.

Eventually, we came to a saddle. It was a false summit but there were 2 campsites and a few more off a spur trail. We found a nice little spot surrounded by trees and protected from the wind.

We dropped our poles indicating this was home for the night. Unfortunately there were mosquitos so we hurriedly put up the tent and crawled in.

We cleaned and inspected our feet and sorted through our packs trying to figure out why Laurie’s pack was so heavy.

It must be the all that candy 🙂

The setting sun lit up the sky once more in pink and purple hues. We are both cozy in our sleeping bags ready for a good nights rest.

Tonight we are thankful for spring water and our cozy home (our tent).

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