8 May 2021
Walker Pass to Chimney Creek Camp
PCT Mile 652.1 to 681.1
Our trail angels arrived at the hotel early this morning, so we were on the road by 6am just as they promised. They talked about Onyx, where they own 20 acres they bought from family who live nearby. They have a house there but they are building another from two used shipping containers. It sounds like they are doing most of the work themselves!
At Walker Pass, Lone Wolf and I gave them gas money (they refused more!), thanked them, and said goodbye.
Then we were off on our climb!
It felt great to climb this morning! Soon Lone Wolf fell back and I was on my own again. I passed two hikers heading south over the next couple of hours as I approached Owens Peak. And when I first laid eyes on its granite dome, I was thrilled!
The trail started to descend and to mix things up I left it to follow a talus field across one of the long switchbacks. It was steep but stable, so fun to negotiate.
I started the morning with 3 liters of water to make it to Joshua Tree Spring, but I still had a liter left when I got there so decided to skip the bonus miles to get down there.
At the top of the next little climb I crowded under a tree to get some shade for lunch.
Canada and Patriot, with whom I camped back at Landers Meadow, caught up to me and we hiked together to the next water source.
Canada is a recent graduate of CSU San Bernardino interested in becoming a professor of ancient Near East history. She got her trail name because other hikers kept thinking she was Canadian!
And Patriot is a navy nuclear engineer who will be going into the private sector when he finishes the trail. He got his trail name because he has camp shoes colored like the American flag that he wears in the top of his pack.
After getting water, we started a big climb together. Canada fell back, but I followed Patriot all the way to the top, and our conversation helped the miles melt away. We talked about his search for a partner and for a church he likes, the navy and how it treats people with depression, the market for engineers, and whether or not it’s appropriate to fly a California flag without also flying an American flag.
We reached the top where I had originally intended to camp after 23 miles of hiking. It was a sweet campsite and Patriot was staying there.
But it was 4pm and only 6 downhill miles to the next water source. I was also worried that my zero day in Kernville put me too far behind Button, with whom I wanted to do the Sierra. So I decided to go for it!
After 29 miles, I reached Chimney Creek where Trooper and Blaze were getting water. They are section hiking to Kennedy Meadows so almost done with their hike.
And then just down the road from there was my final destination, a BLM campground with pit toilets and fire rings! Woody and friends, who I have not seen since Tehachapi, already had a fire going. Sweet!
I ate some dinner and chatted a while, then went back to my tent and crawled into my well-deserved sleeping bag.
What’s the Rush?
Pushing my body
To keep on track with my friends
Feels really nice