5 May 2021
Landers Meadow Spring to Bird Spring Pass
PCT Mile 608.9 to 630.8
I was dreading today because it was supposed to be a hot waterless stretch back down through the desert, and the forecast called for temperatures in the 80s.
But after briefly walking alone on a forest road to get back to the PCT, I caught up with Button and we hiked together most of the day, which really helped a lot.
It was just 7 miles downhill to our first water source, a water cache at Kelso Road.
Then we had to start a hot 15 mile climb up and over a shoulder of Mayan Peak to get to the next water cache. The desert was tough, but also beautiful in its starkness, and we passed the hours in conversation.
And then just over the shoulder around a bend, I saw a snowy mountain in the distance. Mount Langley! And just to it’s left was the tippy top of Mount Whitney! I checked my PeakFinder app to verify, and shouted to Button “THAT is Mount Fucking Whitney!”
I did a little dance.
And Button bent over cracking up.
I can’t believe we walked all the way from my house to a (tiny) view of the Sierra’s most iconic peak….
Almost anti-climatically, we just then also encountered a baby Mojave Rattlesnake on the trail. Button took a video and then we moved on.
By 1pm it was too hot to hike, so we made for a breezy pass where we could siesta in the scant shade of some Joshua Trees. Lone Wolf and Sugarfoot both stopped to say hi but kept going while we lounged until about 3:30pm to finish the last 6 miles.
The last climb was brutal, the peak heat of the day with a breeze that disappeared. Button fell back a quarter mile, but we both powered through it, and soon it leveled out and then started a slow descent along a shady cliff face. I stopped several times to savor the absence of sun.
And then… Magic!
Trail Angel Jim and PCT Thru-Hiker “Sixes” had a tent and chairs set up with soda, beer, and chili! There was even a place to shower and plug in electronics.
I ate 3 bowls of chili and drank 3 sodas and 1 beer while we sat and chatted. Pure heaven. I nearly cried.
It’s funny, because Button is making a bee line for Kennedy Meadows, but I was planning to head to town at Walker Pass to resupply food and recharge electronics. Now I think I have enough to make it to Kennedy Meadows, as well. Button and I have been talking about putting a group together for the Sierra, and it will be easier if we show up there together.
So the trail magic almost seems like some kind of sign. We’ll see.
Walking to Whitney
The very first sight
Of your snowy mountain peak
Made me want to dance