I slept like the dead as I usually do in the random tent sites. I woke at 5:45 and it was already hot inside the tent. We ate and broke camp at 6:45 and continued to walk through a burn area which went on for miles. I started to wonder if the motto was right, you should never trust a southbounder. Where are all of these pines and meadows and stuff they were telling us about?! ;-)
The trail climbed and dropped until, at last, we found ourselves in an open meadow of waving grasses...and rattlesnakes. Josh stopped short, and when I caught up to him I saw him trying to nudge a small rattlesnake off the trail. It was about a foot long with only three tiny rattles and no matter what we did he wouldn't move. I tossed a small stick in his direction, which hit him gently on his side and still he stayed. "He's dead." I told Josh. "I dunno..." Josh replied and he started to walk by him giving him a wide berth and using his trekking pole to keep the distance between them. That did the trick and the snake sprung to life and started to rattle while lifting his head. I was nervous to follow with a pissed off snake in striking distance, but between him retreating to the brush and Josh keeping his pole between us, I shimmied by unscathed. We continued on a bit and Josh stopped by a bush to pee where I spotted another rattlesnake sunning himself off the trail. This one was about 5 feet long and big and fat. Josh took a picture and turned to some squirrels that were playing nearby and told them to stay away!
After "snake meadow" the trail climbed into the aforementioned pine forests and I was glad to have some shade. We stopped often on the uphills to cool off as the day was brutally hot. We were both dragging so I had the genius idea that we take a caffeine supplement. I mean, come on, then we can hike faster, right? The fact that it's fifty billion degrees outside and we're on a roller coaster track according to the elevation profile, with limited water should have no bearing on whether or not we take stimulants. I'm such a flipping dumb ass sometimes.
So, needless to say, this is where our day deteriorated. We stopped for a break in a beautiful pine forest carpeted with miners lettuce and did not want to get up. We forced ourselves to start hiking and dropped down into Hamp Williams Pass and subsequently had to climb out of it. We sat in every shady spot on the way up and died a little before reaching the top. We wound in and out of forest climbing up and down and I was sweating buckets. I would try to catch my sweat with my tongue when it would roll passed my lips in a vain attempt to keep the salts. Josh and I were feeling woozy and sat again under a tree trying to decide if we should siesta and continue in the cooler part of the day or push on. It's hard to find a solution to the time vs. mileage equation when it comes to water. If you hike when it's hot you'll drink all your water, but if you take too long a break you'll also drink your water. It's a conundrum. Since we had more up hill we decided to press on.
The rest of the day was filled with sweaty faces and dwindling spirits. I, of course, did some crying, although my tears were replaced with dust from being so dehydrated. My stomach was cramping and I had to undo my hip belt which put the load on my shoulders so I hiked lifting my pack up over my shoulder by the center loop to take the pressure off.
We climbed a dirt road for about a mile and passed the 600 mile mark! We snapped a picture in full zombie mode and continued on. We had to stop short of the spring and mix the last of our water with electrolytes in an attempt to not die before we arrived. Finally we saw the sign for Robin Spring and boogied downhill toward it. There was Darwin and a couple other hikers but I could not greet them, only pass by in a daze and head straight to the water. We dropped pack and Josh filled the dirty bag while I readied the filter and bottles, getting out electrolytes and supplements to put in the water. We pounded the first liter and I squirmed around trying to find a place my stomach wouldn't cramp.
We decided we were done for the day and that we needed to stay here and drink. We started this section not very well hydrated and have been operating in a deficit for the last couple of days. We pitched at a tent site nearby and drank copious amounts of water and ate salty food.
Right now it's 6:30 and I have peed exactly twice today. Once, first thing this morning and once just now after drinking a gallon of water in one shot. I'm sure that's more info than you needed but it illustrates the days events. The moral of this story is don't forget to camel up in town -start hydrated, stay hydrated-, and don't take stimulants whilst hiking!! (dumbass!!)
Josh and I are laying in the tent looking at the water report and are not happy with what were seeing. We have to take an alternate tomorrow that adds on 2 miles to get to water otherwise is a 40 mile stretch and after that we'll have to carry for a 30 mile stretch to hwy 178 which is a really hard hitch to Lake Isabella. If we don't die in section F and G I think we'll be properly humbled and right sized for our entrance to the Sierra. Time will tell.
Until tomorrow, goodnight.