Last night was the best night of sleep I've had yet. Probably because walking 25 miles yesterday totally wrecked my body. But when I woke up this morning I felt good. The first thing I noticed was that the air was completely still. No wind turbines were running. No breeze was flapping my cuben fiber tent back and forth like last night. I didn't want to wake up. But today's mileage is critical to me getting into Mojave by Sunday morning. So it was time to get up.
As I slowly got my crap together and packed I realized how damn stanky I'd gotten. A shower was in dire need and fast. More motivation to crush miles and get this section of the hike over with. Mowgly loaned me some cell phone power cause my battery pack died. As I grabbed water I saw the southern crew I had been hanging out with at Casa de Luna (Riley, Tyler, Lioness, some others) and decided to hike with them. The crew I was with (Ten Gallon, Spacejam, Spec, Mowgly) are super fast and wanted to cover 23 miles straight to the road, I don't think I should push my luck. It's also important to remember that today's climb was a 4400+\- ascent carrying 5 L of water, AGAIN. They opted to charge for the road and skip an extra night of camping, thus allowing them to take less water. They jammed.
We hiked through a newly sunlit desert floor littered with giants. Windmills everywhere around us. It was pretty cool.
Ascended a sand riddled trail up a big mountain. I felt good and had strong rhythm. My knee was doing well and my legs feel generally stronger than normal. I started to feel like I can actually thru hike! But of course my internal confidence was crushed right at the end of the day with a few familiar sharp pains in my knee. I pulled over to camp for the night 5 miles outside of endpoint, where my partner will pick me up off the highway and take a couple zeros with me. At camp, I bullshitted with Ruth (smurfette) and Alex (not sure what his trail name is) before hitting the sack. Hopefully my knee will get me down the mountain, and the pain I had today was only temporary.