Today was the longest day for me so far. It's also the last day of the desert. After this, it's straight up to Kennedy Meadows.
Earwig and I got up at 3:30am. I took some long exposures of the Milky Way and packed up my bag. We headed back out, shooting to carve out enough miles before the sun came up and began to melt all life. The trail in this particular section zig zags and switchbacks through high desert mountains and hills. The trail itself is a super deep sand that makes every step uphill twice as inefficient. After a few hours of that your calves are on fire and my knee started aching. We eventually got to the base of the day's biggest climb. 2,200 feet up the side of a giant wall. At the base of the climb was more trail magic.
A guy named BrewHike was chilling at the trailhead with his camper. He gave us ice cold beers (it's 8:30am) and made us some hotdogs. Cool dude. Eventually everyone who camped together last night trickled into this spot.
After eating and drinking we started the super hot climb up to the top. When I got closer up I got a full panorama of the two valleys below. One facing south from where we just came. The other facing north, with snow capped mountains revealing the Eastern Sierra.
We took a 5 hour siesta on top of the mountain and then I kept going later in the afternoon. Found my water source for the night after hiking 24 miles. I'm not going to miss this section. Tomorrow I have an 8 mile hike down to the highway where I'll hitch a ride to Lake Isabella and meet up Ten Gallon and Mowgly.