TRAIL MAGIC +
PCT DAY 35: Mile 638.4 – Mile 659.5
Wednesday May 18, 2016: 21.1 miles (33.8 km)
Today is the end of our fifth week of hiking. Remarkable how quickly it has gone. And we are only 42 miles from reaching Kennedy Meadows, the gateway to the high Sierra mountains.
A combination of the sighting of the snow covered peaks yesterday and the Nutella overload last night resulted in turbo charged hiking this morning. We covered the 12.5 miles to Walker Pass in 5 hours. The morning hiking was relatively easy, gently undulating terrain and soft underfoot. Perfect temperature until the last few miles going into Walker Pass Campground. Here we were exposed to the sun and with no wind and no shelter. We were feeling so lucky that we got here for our water resupply and up until the very last few miles had relatively cool conditions. If it had been any warmer, the only way to cover the 42 miles between water sources would have been to hike at night.
Petra “Ironlady” with whom we have been hiking for the past week, had organised for her food resupply to be delivered by a Trail Angel, Chris out of Bakersfield. While waiting for him to arrive we started to filter water which someone had delivered to the campground. Also camped nearby was PCT hiker ‘Altras’ husband who is her support crew. He was waiting for her to come in after us and while waiting he cooked some chocolate brownies. He brough some around and I mentioned how delicious these would be with coffee. So he offered to make me a cup with freshly ground coffee beans. I was in heaven, the coffee and the brownies were fantastic.
Chris arrived at the Walker Pass Campground maybe 30 minutes after us. And my goodness where we in for a feast. Not only did he bring the package for Ironlady, but enough food to feed us and several other hikers. We had fresh fruit, boiled eggs, salami, home smoked salmon, icy cold beer, iced tea and much more. There was so much food to choose from it was difficult to decide where to start. Sadly I was so busy eating that I forgot to take photos. Two hours later, our hunger completely satisfied, we waddled out of the campground and started the 2,000 foot climb out of the Pass. Chris had also bought freeze dried food for us, to top up our camp food for the next few days. We very much appreciate his generosity and the time and effort to do this for us. We made a financial contribution which we hope was adequate to cover at least his costs.
The ascent out of Walker Pass was steep and exposed. Although it was hot and it was hard, sweaty work we seem to rise relatively quickly away fromfrom the valley. As we got closer to Mt Jenkins there was a most delicious floral aroma surrounding us. I could not work out where it was coming from. The only flowers I could see were tiny white ones that were ground hugging.
A few hours after starting from the campground, Ironlady had enough and called it a day. Hammer and I were still full of energy from all that great food and continued on. The trail continued to wind around Mt Jenkins. On the east side the mountain was steep and rocky underfoot and was covered in a new variety of yucca flower. They were a brilliant yellow colour and seem to glow like lanterns in the late afternoon shadow of the mountain.
We hiked until we found a nice campspot on a small ridge at around 7, 000 feet in elevation. Fantastic views to the Mojave Desert in the east and Owens Peak to the north-east.