We took our time getting up and leaving Walker Pass Campground after our long day yesterday. It was nice to move at a leisurely pace in the morning again. We still managed to get out of camp by 7:30am, which gives you an idea of how good we are at ‘sleeping in’ right now.
We had 12 miles to go to the next water spot, Joshua Tree Spring. The first 7 miles of that stretch included a 2300 foot climb as well. We finished the majority of the climb by 9:15 and took a break at a small campsite on a saddle between 2 small peaks. Fortunately, there was a healthy amount of trees to act as a wind break. When the trail was on exposed ridgelines the wind was quite a nuisance. After our quick break we cruised the rest of the way to the spring and arrived right around 12:30pm. The spring itself was a small pipe feeding into a concrete cistern. We filtered from the pipe, ate our lunch and caught a little nap under the oaks that shaded the little gully the spring was in.
Our next water spot and what we were hoping would be our camp goal was just 7 miles down the trail which would give us a total of 19 miles for the day. It’s funny to say, but 19 miles feels like a cruise now. It’s hard to believe after the struggles I had with my legs earlier, but I’ve felt much stronger the last week or two and thankfully so as the Sierra Nevada’s are just around the corner. When we got to the mile marker for the next water spot I saw just a little trickle of a steam, mostly mud really. The water report said the water was good and easier to collect 40 feet down the trail so I continued on the PCT, not realizing the report was talking about a small spur trail that goes up stream a bit. After going about .15 mile I realized I had gone too far and doubled back to find the spur trail next to the stream. We followed the trail to find a few possible but not ideal collection points in the stream but we continued up to see if we could find a better spot. After scrambling up a hillside of loose dirt, rocks and leaves and sliding back down said hillside we settled on the first possible collection spots to slowly filter our water. After this task was complete we went down the PCT just another .15 mile where I turned around initially as I had seen a nice little spot that would serve as camp for the night.
We don’t have push to get to Kennedy Meadows right now since we cut that long dry stretch before Walker Pass into 2 long days instead of 3 shorter dryer days. Marissa and Sandy are meeting us on Friday night but we will likely arrive in Kennedy Meadows Thursday afternoon (possibly as early as lunchtime). We looked to see if there was any possiblity of going up the trail a bit to get picked up somewhere else but the area is sparse for roads and the next place would be Horseshoe Meadow but that is two trail days away so it is too far to be a possibility. I guess we will just have to try and hitch into Ridgecrest (the closest town to Kennedy Meadows and where we are staying with the girls) on Thursday night and make a b-line for the nearest hot tub!