This was the first morning I was last to leave camp. I starting moving at my normal time of 5:30, but by then Nighto, and the others who had camped there the previous evening, were all breaking camp. I was surprised, but I did not mind. I was still feeling the tiredness from the long day yesterday. I hiked out of camp by 6:15 am to a cool day with a nice breeze.
It was 15 miles to Walker Pass, where I was going to hitch into town. I stopped at a spring to fill up water and met a man named Big Jim, who was out section hiking, and a lady from Canada - she was getting off the trail at the pass. She was headed home for a week of recovery. Unfortunately, she had messed up her foot pretty badly and had not taken her shoe off for a couple days since she knew she could not get it back on due to the swelling. After filling water, I headed the 8 miles down the mountain to the pass. On my way down I was passed by two hikers, Toucan and Game Boy.
When I got to the bottom, we talked and it turned out that they had done 21 miles by 11 in the morning. They had started at the water cache about 8 miles before the tent site I had stopped at, left their site at 4 am, and started hiking. I decided to hitch into a town called Ridgecrest to pick up two days’ worth of food, enough to get me to Kennedy Meadows, the gateway to the Sierras. We got to the road and stuck out our thumbs. Not too long in, Big Jim pulled over to give us a ride. He was headed back in to town after finishing the section of trail he was hiking.
The first thing I did was to go to the grocery store and buy food. After that, I walked to Subway where I ordered lunch, and charged up my phone and external battery. Around 2 pm, I walked to a Starbucks at the north end of town and relaxed with ice water and continued to let my battery charge. Since Starbucks was busy, I did not feel like asking them if they could fill up my water bottles. I went across the street to Taco Bell and while I was filling up my water, I met a man named Scott who had recently performed trail magic where he did a barbecue cookout up at a campground near the pass. We talked, and he helped me to get a ride back out to the trail by letting a Facebook group of Trail Angels in the area know that I needed a ride, and not 10 minutes later, I was on my way.
On the way out town, I saw that the military installation, China Lake, was right outside of town. China Lake is where they do a bunch of weapons testing and was part of the Manhattan Project. The guy who gave me a ride worked at the base on F-16’s. The power at the base had gone out, and so he decided to use the time to give some hikers a lift out to the trail.
I was on the trail again at 4 p.m. and started with a nice hot climb up a mountain and continued until 5:45. I wanted to be put in a couple more miles, but the next place to camp was 7 miles away, and I did not want to do that much. So I walked over to the campsite and the only other person there was Ninja Turtle--she was part of the group I met just after resupplying in Big Bear. I enjoy running into people I have met before on the trail, and we spent the next hour or so catching up.