Day 35: Thank You Trail Angels
From mile 604.4 to mile 628.1
After leaving my lovely camping spot in the pines the trail continued for 4-5 miles to meander through tall pines and boulders. I got water at Landers Meadow Spring and planned on a long haul before the next water.
I should explain that water planning is a big deal. There can be long stretches with no water and the sun and heat can also be extreme. It is very important to carry enough water to keep properly hydrated. At the same time water is heavy, 2.2 lbs per liter, so you don’t want to carry lots more than you need.
Maps can show you where streams and springs are but they don’t tell you if they are running or dry. For that I depend on two sources. The pctwaterreport.com site allows you to download a file listing water sources and the most recent condition reports on those sources. Hikers can submit updates, when they have connectivity of course. I also use a phone app called guthook which is a trail GPS app but also lists water sources and allows users to upload comments about the status of water sources.
Today I got water at 4.5 miles. Next was water at 12 miles but it was 2 miles off the trail, 4 miles round trip. There was a water cache, bunches of water bottles left at a road crossing, at mile 20 but you can not count on those, they get depleted quickly. Today I had the good luck to encounter a southbound hiker who was able to verify the water cache. Instead of going 4 miles out of my way or carrying another 6 lbs of water, I relied on the cache. Thank you to the trail angels who are stocking that water cache.
So, I carried only 3 liters of bcc water. Trail left the nice pines and was back in the sun. It was not as hot as it’s been but was still warm.
Did almost 24 miles, falling short of the 27 I wanted to do. The last few miles were all climbing and on very deep loose sand that is very tough to hike on. I am camped in a pretty exposed saddle with lots of wind. A little grove of Joshua Trees is my windbreak.
I have come to love your trail angels, too, Jon! They are dedicated groupies who know what you need and seem to provide it at every turn. I can imagine your thrill at a verified water cache!