Miles 1955.7 – 1982.5 >>> 26.8 (43.1 km)
The morning was surprisingly chilly and we got cold hands packing up. As became normal procedure, Trouble left early and left me to pack up the camp. I usually caught her pretty quickly anyway, but at least for the one or two miles she was having the wind in her face and could enjoy the empty road.
The moment we got a little higher up, the landscape turned very barren. It looked a bit like an ancient burn. But the tree trunks were also blown over and seemed to have been strewn around like matchsticks.
Despite the desolation of the landscape, it did have its own beauty. At least in my eyes. Trouble wasn’t too convinced and didn’t really enjoy herself. Maybe also because she felt hot again.
It was mostly up and down today and it felt like were doing a lot of PUDding ([hiker lingo] PUD = pointless up and down). It was pretty awesome to see the grey granite Sierras in the far distant background. It always amazes me how far one can walk in just a few days.
Due to our last water source being dry, we utilized the last of a small water cache to bottle up. Then decided that it would be a good idea to do some night hiking for a change to get some miles in that the stretch to Walker Pass and Lake Isabella would be a bit shorter.
The setting sun gave us a first taste of what sunsets would be like for us in the desert. The colors were just gorgeous.
We had dinner and hot apple cider on top of a mountain, before we shouldered our backpacks again and moved on.
We enjoyed the last bit of daylight, as we were getting higher up. Amazingly it still wasn’t cold at all and it was really pleasant to hike.
Once it was dark, we pulled out our newly acquired Petzl Tikkina headlights (purchased at Elevation Sierra Adventure in Lone Pine), and were pleasantly surprised that they were quite good for night hiking.
I love night hiking – on trails that I know. Hiking at night on trails that I don’t know always makes me feel that I’m missing out on the scenery and therefore I generally don’t do it.
I did enjoy the night hike today though. It was nice to look up at the trees and down into the dark abyss of the valley, to stumble over the loose rock, and to see the lights of the settlements in the valley come on and sparkle in the dark.
We only hiked for another four miles (6.5 km), before we decided that we’d done enough for the day. We found a flat platform at the mountain end of a gully going down the flank. It was directly next to the trail (something we’d usually avoid at all cost), but it wasn’t actually a bad place and we were happy to settle down and go to sleep.