That night, Yahtzee and I camped just barely a mile away from Walker Pass at the Walker Pass Campground. It was peaceful and quiet -- it was just the two of us and one other camping trailer in the entire campground, and the trailer was pretty far away.
Getting back to camp
The closest water was a third of a mile away, and I hadn't filled up in town, so I ended up doing a short hike to get to the spring. It made me appreciate how easy it was to get water in the Sierra, and was just an example of how getting water was going to be slightly more of an effort in the desert.
Some water sources were hard to find or off-trail now, so these markers were helpful
The sunsets in the desert were proving to be beautiful. I hadn't seen too many colorful sunrises and sunsets in the Sierra because the peaks were so high that the sun seemed to disappear far before the colors would show up, the horizon was never flat. I could tell already the desert wouldn't be like that.
These desert sunsets, man
The terrain was also incredibly easy. I had to rely on water caches in this section, which everyone always says not to do, but the trail angels in the area are very on top of it and willing to make sure hikers don't have ridiculously long carries.
It did mean conserving water a little more, and cameling up harder at natural resources, which took a little getting used to. And in this heat? Well, let's just say there was a bit of a learning curve.
These water caches were literally life-savers
I started seeing Ctrl+Z and Katie (who was now going by Barista) in the trail registers, and I hadn't seen them since Etna in Northern California
. Their names were always the last entry in the registers, so I had the feeling our paths would cross once again. According to the dates in the register, they were only a day ahead.
I also started seeing wind turbines, although I hadn't quite reached them yet. I had heard so many things about the wind turbines in the desert, and it almost felt like I was getting close to meeting a celebrity.
While I was walking on a dirt road, I got passed by a couple of trucks full of a PCT trail maintenance crew! It was fun to chat with them briefly, and it was cool to be able to say thank you in person, to some of the people making my thru-hike a reality.
Thank you so much, volunteer trail maintanence teams!
I realized around here, though, that I had lost my hat, which I just got at Kennedy Meadows South. And that sun was unrelenting. Boo!
Water became scarce near the end of this section, and the water carries I was looking at were all around 15-20 miles, which was unheard of before this point, and they basically required the use of water caches.
And thank you as well, trail angels!
I was also coming across some natural water sources that weren't the easiest to collect from, which was both interesting and kind of annoying.
Not the quickest to collect, but definitely one of the more interesting water sources I'd ever seen
I really felt my mileage pick up in this section. The views of the desert were great, and I felt the best I had on the trail in a while. I had gotten used to night-hiking after doing it almost every night in the Sierra, and it didn't bother me so much anymore.
And hiking into the night meant more moments like this
Pulling off 3 nearly-30-mile days in a row just wasn't possible for me until this point, and I felt strong. I was even able to get nearly 30 miles on that last day to the end of this section, a day with some pretty tough terrain and elevation gain.