Location- Landers Meadow Spring
Elevation- 6,332 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 16 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 608.9 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudy, breezy, high 70s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 4
Hunger/craving- starving, pizza!
I woke up feeling really good, with ambitions of going 25 miles. Needless to say, I fell a good 9 miles short.
I hit the trail at 6:45, and right off the bat, within the first 2 miles, I came across two more gopher snakes. One was huge, and only halfway out of a gopher hole when I saw him. He shot back in before I could get close enough for a grab. The second one was another baby, sprawled across the trail, barely a foot long, if that. Katana walked right over him without noticing, and I would have missed him too if I hadn’t been looking right at the ground as I came half a step from potentially crushing him. I actually thought he might be dead, due to how motionless he stayed. I stared at him for a few seconds, watching for the tongue flick. The tongue shot out, tasting the air, consequently giving him away, and ending the charade. I took some pics and a video before spooking him as far off the trail as I could. I hated the idea of someone else possibly stepping on him.
Katana had yet another great day of hiking. We’ve finally fallen into our comfortable stride.
Today was the first day in nearly a week’s worth of hiking that I didn’t see any windmills; it was a nice change.
The first 9 miles today we’re actually pleasantly challenging, and the trail and terrain itself reminded me so much of the AT through southern Virginia, that it made me nostalgic. Cow pastures, green grass, green trees, soft trail, steepish climbs that went straight up instead of switchbacking; it was wonderful.
At the nine mile marker today, I took a 3 hour break from 11:30am to 2:30pm. I was at what I thought was the last water for over 40 miles, but it turned out there was one more source about 7 miles ahead. I made the decision shortly after arriving at the 9 mile water, that I would camp at the final water source 7 miles ahead, and start fresh and hydrated from there tomorrow. So with only 7 miles left in the day, I decided to take a very long break.
The final 7 miles were quite leisurely, so I took my sweet time. Schweppes was walking about 4 paces ahead of me at one point, and nearly stepped on a baby rattlesnake, about 8 inches long, also sprawled across the trail. He coiled as we took some pictures, then I chased him off the trail about ten yards as well. Katana never even got a chance to see him. As soon as Schweppes spotted it, I snatched her up, took off my pack, harnessed and leashed her to it, then set the pack about 15 feet back on the trail. Four rattlesnakes so far!
Now I’m hanging between some pine trees, very low on food, and 43 miles from a 35 mile hitch into town. I have to do a big day tomorrow, so that I can get to that road by a decent time the next day and catch a ride 35 miles into Lake Isabella. Katana is living off beef jerky right now (no complaints from her), while I’m living off pumpkin seeds, m&ms, and banana moon pies.
I’ve made the decision today that I’m going to get my stove sent out to me. I’ve been eating cold meals on trail this entire time, and it’s really wearing on me. I’ve had a lot of trouble getting my diet dialed in out here. You would think it would be as easy as replicating my diet from the Appalachian Trail, but I’m simply not in the mood for any of those foods, and can’t even force myself to pack them out, or eat them. Cooking meals is going to refresh my menu out here, as well as help with my mental health. Food happiness is very important when it comes to long distance hiking.
Tomorrow’s plan is to brainstorm new foods and combinations of foods, so I’m prepared when I get to the store in Lake Isabella. Thinking about food all day tomorrow, when I practically have none, is going to be torture, but it should spur my creativity. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention; and I most certainly need some better food combinations.
I say unto you, random person reading this right now…enjoy eating whatever it is your heart desires tonight, because I’ll be eating pumpkin seeds for dinner 🙁