The alarm went off at 4:30am and I let it ride for about a half hour before I started to wake up Josh. I nudged him and cuddled him and he just turned over. I got dressed and started eating breakfast and he turned over grumpily and told me it was still bed time. I gave him a caffeine pill and told him I made him a tiny cup of coffee but he didn't want to take it so I stuck it up his nose. :-)
Needless to say he eventually got up and we hit the trail around 6:30.
Down we went in the cool morning toward Chimney Creek Campground which was our much needed water source. We arrived a couple hours later and found the campground which wasn't all that spectacular. After using the bathroom and eating second breakfast we headed to the creek to get water. Climbing thru the reeds of the creek bed we spotted two ice chest full of soda, water and beer! We each had a soda and filtered water for the big climb that was ahead. A couple of other hikers came by and we chatted with them briefly before we started out.
The day was already hot and the trail wound it's way thru the forest which was a nice change. The climb wasn't too bad but still enough to make us take very short breather breaks on the way up. We met a pair of day hikers from Germany who told us they have hiked about 900 miles of the PCT as day hikes. They would hike in for four hours and then back out. They only do day hikes because they don't want to carry all the gear. I don't blame them. We bid them goodbye and they wished us luck before we headed on.
Eventually the treeline ended and we entered a burn zone. While the area had lots of great wildflowers and smelled of lupine, the burn area kind of took the wind out of our sails. It looked like every other place we've hiked in for the last two months and we were bored, hot and pretty much over it. We talked more about quitting and Josh had visions of Hawaii dancing in my head.
The wind started blowing hard and at last we reached the top of the climb. I needed to eat so we found a tiny strip of shade made by a dead tree and sat down. I was eating crackers and Josh was relaxing when all of a sudden he popped up like a rocket. As he stood I could see his backpack and my mat was soaked in water. I asked if his Platy was leaking and he didn't respond, only threw his backpack against the tree and walked away. He had sat on the bite valve of his bladder and the water ran right out. I wasn't really sure what to do. I asked him if I could do anything or if he wanted to talk about it but he didn't. I shook off my pad and sat back down and continued to eat my crackers. I figured he'd talk to me when he was ready. Eventually he came back to sit and we talked about how shitty we were feeling about the trail. We really entertained the idea of quitting but we knew we had to hike out first, and so we went.
The trail looked just like coming out of Deep Creek or heading down from the San Felipe mountains, or after leaving Big Bear around Arrowhead...it looked just like everything we'd already seen for 675ish miles. Sigh. SoCal is way to long. I started to talk to God in my head and said "look, if to want me to do this then you've gotta help me out. Give me something to be excited about, give me a reason to keep going." In the distance we could see a meadow and large Sierra-ish looking granite peaks and couldn't wait to get there but the trail wound thru every single draw and canyon for 5 more miles. Eventually we made it to the bottom which was supposed to be our next water source and camp but the creek was looking pretty stagnant. We decided not to camp there due to the wind and opted to hike toward the treeline which would offer better cover. Josh found a good trickle of water and we filled everything up while cameling a liter before we hiked out.
The trail was an easy grade and hugged the side of hills with huge granite boulders. We could see the Kern River in the distance and our spirits started to rise at the prospect of new and interesting terrain. Back in the treeline we found a sheltered flat spot, set up the tent and jumped inside. We did our usual baby wipe bath and ate dinner in the tent. (We gotta stop doing that. :-/ )
We watched the sun set and reveal a sky full of stars. We admired the night for a long time and talked about how good it felt to be back in the mountains. There was a gentle breeze and the night was so perfect it made me smile. I could hear Incubus' "Aqueous Transmission" playing inside my head and I felt like God had answered me. Don't check out five minutes before the miracle. (Google that Incubus song, you'll like it).
Right now it's 4pm the following day and I made it to Kennedy Meadows and 700 miles! I fell asleep before I could blog but you know I always make it up. ;-)
Until tomorrow, goodnight!