Bouquet Road to Casa de Luna, 12.6 miles
It rained last night. Again. We get it, California. You’re going for a historical, record breaking year. Point made, you can return with the sun now.
If I’m being positive, though, it didn’t rain as I hiked so that was nice. I’m finding that I do really like hiking with my rain coat on anyway – mostly because the chest pockets make for the perfect snack pockets. I literally stuff it full of food and then can pull from it more easily than from my hip belt pocket. It’s the little things. Plus, these exposed stretches are probably better in this cooler weather anyway.
There’s not much to say about the day of hiking. The miles go by decently fast, with no views to see or heat to slow me down. I get to the road and within a minute, the trail angel who’s house we’re going to (Casa de Luna) pulls up and I get a ride. Everyone dons their Hawaiian shirt as is protocol here, and after setting up my tent with a little prayer that it dries out a bit, I settle in on a couch outside with blankets and my food bag. It’s cold! I’m layered up and stuffing food in my face. Classic. Drinking tea and feeling happy I’m done with hiking for today.
After what is literally hours, I leave the warmth of the couch to get in line for taco salad dinner. I am full and happy. Cozied up now in my tent, which honestly is starting to feel a bit musty with this seemingly constant rain. It’s still raining, by the way, but I tell myself that tomorrow it will all clear.
Casa de Luna to Mile 492.9, 14.7 miles
Sun, beautiful sun. I leave my tent in the manzanita forest around 6:15 to get breakfast. Pancakes are served here st 6:30, and it’s nice to eat a hot breakfast and enjoy a slower morning. It’s cold – upper 30s when I crawl out of my tent – but the sky looks promising.
After eating, I take down my tent so that I can lay the pieces out in the sun. It’s wonderfully warm, and sitting in the sunshine while my gear airs out is blissful. Who would have thought that at this point in the desert I would be craving some warmth and more sun?! Not me. The weather is predicted to rain again in a day or two so I really try to savor it. For the majority of the past 10 days or so, the weather has made it so I don’t take many breaks during my day of hiking. Just sitting, then, feels nice.
I eat an early lunch, and feel antsy to hike…not for the sake of getting miles in, per say, but mostly because I want to hike in nice weather. It feels like it’s been a bit. So I do. Some friends and I get a hitch from an overall-ed older man in a bright orange beater truck. Two mile drive back to trail, and then up we go. 30 minutes of climbing, back to the classic desert day of sweat pouring off my face as I make my way up and up. But I’m not complaining, it feels so good to be out in the sun.
The 9 miles to our water source go by pretty quickly, but it’s s good amount of climbing near the end. I’m thankful for the chance to sit by the little bit of water and take a minute. Eat a snack, drink more water, prepare for the final 6 to where I planned to camp. I’m carrying out 4 liters from this source, and I feel it. It takes me a few miles it seems to get back into a hiking flow, but once I get there it’s an enjoyable section of hiking. I forget that I packed out a green apple, and each time I remember, I get excited thinking about how nice that will be.
I also spend a good amount of time thinking of the coming weeks – the decisions I need to make and the logistics of it all. Between a wedding later in June and the Sierra Nevada still being (to my understanding) a bit too dangerous to enter into now, I’ve started thinking through my options. Lots on the mind.
Camp is a semi sheltered little spot in between some trees. It’s a big group here – I swear the bubble of hikers keeps growing bigger and bigger, not helped by the bad weather that keeps people clumped up. Oh well. Hoping to sleep well regardless.