tiffany's pct journal

California Section G: Crabtree Meadows (Mount Whitney) to Walker Pass - Part II.

Days: 111 - 113.
Dates: October 22 - 24.
Trail mileage: 1953.5 - 2001.0.
Distance: 47.5 miles.

The desert was like a breath of fresh air. No, seriously, I could breathe again here. I loved the Sierra, but my lungs didn't. I was somehow able to pull off 15 miles after not getting back to the trail from Lone Pine until around 2:00 in the afternoon, and that was unheard of in the Sierra.

view from the trail
In the desert (finally)

My pack was beyond heavy because I had seriously underestimated the miles I could pull off in the desert when I was in the Sierra. A big part of me honestly thought I was just getting weaker in the Sierra, and my mileage had dropped drastically. I realized soon in the desert that wasn't the case, so the amount of food I was carrying was obscene, and my back was killing me.

Not only that, but I was starting to carry more water because it was (obviously) much drier in the desert than in the Sierra. I admit I wasn't used to carrying this much weight.

trail marker for water

I was also being driven absolutely insane by the gnats. I had sent home my head net in the Sierra because it was totally useless. Well, it would have definitely not been useless here. It got to the point where I actually started thinking that if it was going to stay this bad, I'd have to get off the trail for my sanity. I was wearing sunglasses and my buff around the bottom of my face, but the gnats would just end up in my buff and I'd breathe them in anyway. It was horrible.

Even though I wasn't at higher elevations anymore, that didn't mean we weren't high up! I had some great views of Highway 395 the next day, and there were some decent climbs. Whoever said the desert was flat was wrong (although compared to the Sierra, it basically was).

higher elevations
Nice views higher up

Camp that night was ridiculously windy. Yahtzee and I struggled to get our tents set up, and once they were set up, I had a tough time getting to sleep because my tent was basically a nonstop earthquake. The next morning, I think the wind had actually gotten stronger. My tent almost blew away (I was able to grab it) when I got out of it -- the stakes were ripped right out of the ground!

Days were getting even shorter

We had a long climb that morning, then walked along the side of a large mountain for a large part of the day, with great views of Highway 395 and the surrounding area.

I decided that I'd get a ride into town from Walker Pass. I couldn't handle the gnats or my ridiculously heavy pack. I was able to get in touch with an awesome trail angel, Amy, who had given me a ride back to Kennedy Meadows South when I finished up the sections I had missed up north. She was kind enough to offer to drive me into Ridgecrest to deal with my pack and get another head net.

Walker Pass
Descending to Walker Pass

I was also able to convince Yahtzee to come with me to get some of her own errands done too. Amy was incredible and drove us around to get chores done, then took us to the Chinese buffet in town. All-you-can-eat buffets aren't usually worth it to me because I'm a short woman who really should not be eating all I can physically eat at once, but on the trail? I'm going every time. Greasy carbs galore.

Amy was also kind enough to take us back to the trail near the end of the day, and I am indebted to her. Thank you, Amy! I can't say thank you enough.

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