I only made it 10 miles today but it was one of the most peaceful, relaxing days on the trail with very few hikers around. As I mentioned in my previous post I left camp after the herd and stayed behind the whole day with my 3 hour phone reception break.
There have been fighter jets flying overhead all day and the first time it occurred the sound came roaring over me like thunder and I literally jumped with fright. It’s been spectacular watching them manoeuvre through the sky all day, it’s like my own private air show.
The environment is so gobsmacking beautiful that it’s been hard to make any mileage between photos and rest stops upon shaded groups of boulders or in the forests under the pine trees. It’s been difficult putting on the breaks after such a race to get through the desert, but after three days I think I’m getting used to the slower pace.
Four hikers passed me today but none of them have seen UB on the trail. One had seen him eating two hamburgers at Kennedy Meadows the day he left so I guess he’s been fattening up. He suggested I call the General Store to see if he’d left yet, and when I did they told me they hadn’t seen him today and another hiker said he left yesterday. I guess if he doesn’t pass by tonight I’ll see him tomorrow.
It took me longer than expected to reach the 10 miles to the next water source today, which was a very low stream a little distance off the trail. I decided to make dinner smack bang on the trail so I could wash up and fill up again before moving on to camp. I was able to direct the four other hikers to the water source as one had gone too far and the other three I passed earlier. There was a cute little camp site down near the stream but after being surrounded by so many hikers at camp the last two nights I decided to find some solitude a little further up the trail.
I was super picky about finding the perfect campsite tonight but settled under a tree quite close to the trail with a nice view of the mountains to my right and no wind. I’ve had about 3 hours of daylight to read through Yogi’s notes for the first time on the trail, to plan out the next few days with Mt Whitney and Forrester Pass (the highest pass on the trail) coming up.
It’s still light as I write this but I’m enjoying the purple colours of the sky and the sound of a jet flying off in the distance. I’m 24 miles from the trail to Whitney so I can probably have a slow day tomorrow and the next day and then hike up to the top on Saturday night. After hiking up to Olancha Peak I’m super excited about summiting the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states!