Day 42
Miles: 16
From ridgeline campsite to walker pass (then to lake isabella)

J mocks me for saying I’m being swarmed by mosquitoes when there are only eight. I say, if all eight of them are within six inches of my face, then it’s a swarm. Semantics aside, eight is enough to drive you crazy when you’re trying to sleep and you don’t have a net tent. I put my bug head net on, put in my ear plugs, and go to sleep.

I sleep badly for a long time, until I finally sleep off the hard edge of the exhaustion.

I wake up early – wow. I feel brand new. That, and I get to go to town, which always puts a little spring in my step. I don’t want to make this trip a series of endurance runs between town stops, but damn if that last section didn’t wring me dry. I’m sure looking forward to the high Sierra.

On the trail before 7 and cruising. J spots bear tracks on the trail. We catch up to two other hikers taking a rest – the first people we’ve seen in days. They have long legs and tiny little packs; one of them is reading Thoreau. We end up hiking with then for a while. It’s nice to let someone else set the stiff pace, and all I have to do is keep up. I ask Tim and Scott why they’re doing the trail. “We’re into discomfort,” Scott shoots back dryly. Ha. Good answer. Bet they’ve been meeting their quota lately.

Meanwhile, I’m kind of freaking out. J spilled water on my phone, and it won’t turn on. No maps! My photos aren’t backed up! I’ve got six blog posts that aren’t uploaded yet! My camera! How will I call my mom! I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’m devastated.

Tim and Scott finally dust us. J does too. Now that I’m by myself I can feel properly sorry for myself. I stop and try my other battery – the phone turns on – purple lines. Nooooo! So there on the trail I completely dismantle my phone, every tiny little screw I find, then put it out in the sun. Second try for the win. I’ll be able to hike to Canada after all. (Note: I didn’t lose a single microscopic screw.)

We drag downhill to walker pass with a 37 mile hitch in front of us. Jerry, in an old red truck, picks us up in less than five minutes and takes us all the way.

As soon as we’re in town I eat an ice cream sandwich, two candy bars, two donuts, and a root beer float. “I don’t feel well,” I tell J.

We’re going to take a zero day tomorrow here in Lake Isabella. I need a day off.

Only photo today – sorry for the technical difficulties.


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