Day 33 (Tape)

Once again snug in my sleeping bag. I’m actually recording this from inside my sleeping bag, cause its windy outside. So I don’t know how well it’s gonna work, but we’ll see.

What a day, what a day we had. In ah, oh, I was afraid in the morning, looking at the guide book. I just didn’t know what the day had in store. But the, the detour to Willow Springs just looked hellish, and I had a hellish picture of it in my mind. It was, we had to go up to a crest on the trail. And then in order to get to the spring we had to go back down almost the same way only farther, 1.8 miles and 900 feet to get to the spring. At which point I kind of pictured us, the spring bubbling up from the ground and piles of cow manure everywhere. And trying to find a clean place to dip in our pan and boil off some water to drink. I just had some nightmares about it. And just I had no idea what to expect or what we would find there, but I knew from people’s reports that, that the water needed to be treated. And ah, it was about the best place in the area to go, so I decided to do it. And we set off in the morning and we walked for a ways and discussed these things. And ah, a solution to the first problem occurred to me. I thought, well this country is riddled by cow paths and motorcycle paths. There’s probably a path that goes to the spring somehow from earlier in the trail. And we can just detour on that, hit the spring, and head on up the road, meet the trail again. And ah, there was indeed a cow path that went straight there from the trail. And ah, ah, spotted it on the map and we navigated it no problem. So the first nightmare was ah, alleviated by that.

We got to the springs, and it was kinda what I expected, it was a pond. A whole bunch of cows were drinking out of the pond, and it looked really messy and yucky. But ah, thankfully the spring had also been piped to ah, just to a faucet by the road. And it had a note on it to treat the water, but luckily it came out of the faucet clearer, and it looked good, so my second nightmare was kind of relieved by that. And ah, we sat there and just boiled off a few pots of water just to fill up our water bottles and were, also were making some hot chocolate to rehydrate ourselves and to cook some hot cereal for ourselves. And it all worked out pretty well. Except I took note before we started how much fuel was in the stove and it was about 1/3 of a bottle. And ah, we went ahead and filled up our water bottles with boiled water, not all of em, we really just filled two and did our breakfast. And ah, I looked back in the stove after doing that and half of that fuel was gone, and I was like Uh Oh. We’re just never going to make through the rest of the trip on, if we have to boil all of our water like this. But other than that, we made it through the day, we had enough water to get through, we thought, I mean it was 22 miles and we had 6 liters, that’s a little on the thirsty side, but we decided just to go for it. We were in better shape than we thought we would be. So we headed up the road. And ah, at that point I was just feeling terrific because none of my fears had actually come to pass. And ah we were headed for a beautiful day, or so it looked. And ah, as it turned out, it was kind of a nice sunny day. When we got to the top of the crest, which is supposed to be the beginning of the Sierra Crest – our first kind of traipse through the Sierra mountains. And it was just desert, basically. We were back in the desert. And not only were we back in the sand and the Joshua trees and the brush, but the wind was back too and it was just howlin’. And ah, we spent most of the rest of the day trudging almost comically through loose sand on the path and howling 40-50 mph winds. With a little break here and there where it would duck into a little canyon or behind a knoll or something. And it just got to the point where it was funny. I mean we were still making good progress, but there would be times when the wind was so strong it was all you could do to just take a step and then catch your balance. And take another step, and you’d really just get blown over. And we were both kinda laughing to ourselves about as the day grew on, but we were also getting very tired of it. But the miles went by, and ah, we finally reached a place called Wylie’s Knoll, or Wylie’s Knob. And stopped to have lunch. And it appeared on the map just like we were making really good miles. And ah our energy level was up, maybe from eating all the food the night before. But ah, we cou, we had to face kind of a mountain with an 1800 foot climb and similar descent on the other side. And I was thinking we probably would never get over it. In the morning. Cause the 20 mile marker was somewhere on the mountain. And I was thinking we probably better just camp before it or somewhere on it. But we went ahead and we trooped up the mountain and ah, it was still windy up there but not quite so bad. And, ah, we got to the top and we were still feeling good. And came down the other side. And coming down my body was startin to hurt, but my energy level was still fine. And ah, was getting fatigued. But we continued the descent and made it all the way to the road that goes to the next spring. Which ah I never thought we would, and I think it totals out to be 23 miles for the day or more. And ah, we’re still in the wind, really. We couldn’t find a calm spot to camp in, but we’re in good spirits cause we finally had broken the 20 mile barrier and our packs were reasonably weighted. And ah, we have enough water, the next good spring is 7 miles. And I don’t think we have enough fuel to boil more water like we’ve been doing, but think we might be able to sqeeze out a water bottle or two from the filter. And that should get us 7 more miles to Walker Pass where there’s faucets and hopefully, if our phone message got through to Pete’s mom, there’ll also be a filter there waiting for us to make it, help us make it to Kennedy Meadows. And ah, tonight for dinner we boiled off another big pot of water, and because of the cold temperature and high elevation and the wind, it took us forever. So I’m pretty sure we’re really low on fuel. So if there is a water filter waiting for us it’ll ah, we’ll probably continue on but I think we’ll have to eat some cold dinners before the, this trip is over. But ah, you know things were looking dark there for a while and we made it through so I’m still —- and I’m ready to have a good night’s sleep with the wind howling outside and me safe in here in my own sleeping bag. And huh, I guess all my entries seem to end that way, kinda monotonous, but ah it is a wonderful feeling. And oh last but of course not least ah my heart was again with Camella today, and was ah just imagining her waking up. And kind of, what kind of curiousity she would feel about having changed insides in her head. And ah, hoping she’s not in too much pain, and hoping her mom’s there and taking good care of her. And ah, just sending all my love across whatever channels of the universe will take them, and giving them to her to help her through whatever times she’s going through. So that’s a good note to end on for today.

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