Day 34 – Hard Won Wisdom

Skinner Peak to Morris Peak
Mile 634.2 – Mile 656.9

Down from Skinner Peak

When choosing a site for your tent, choose wisely. Two nights ago I had an ideal spot. Last night’s spot proved to be a problem. The wind never did die down and though I had some windbreak, gusts would still collapse my tent like a giant thumb pressing from above. I was forced to remove my rain fly so the wind would not have as much purchase and that worked to keep the tent upright. The next problem was the wind now blowing straight through my tent. My down quilt is super warm and comfortable but a windbreaker it is not. I donned all my layers and ended up cocooning myself within the tent’s rain fly inside the tent. That worked though not without some condensation. Another hiker, Campo, told me he read 35 degrees on his thermometer in the morning.  That would account for my cold night and morning. To add insult to injury, my air mattress alhso deflated though I now think it was numb fingers not closing the valve tight enough.

Clouds not snow
Snow! First glimpse of the Sierras

That all provided plenty of incentive to get the blood moving early. After getting a bit lower off the ridge line, I had a nice forest walk through mid morning.
I emerged into another burn area with many ATV tracks but what caught my attention was a first glimpse of the snow capped Sierras. They were still days distant but it was an exciting moment nonetheless.

Campground welcome
Walker Pass trail register

After 17 miles I hit Walker Pass, another potential resupply hitch into Lake Isabella. That was not my plan but I did stop at the campground where a local trail angel had left a bunch of gleaned bread and donuts. Woohoo, free carbs!

Interesting rock sandwich

As I was sitting talking to SilverFox, a Canadian from B.C. with a profile similar to my own, we looked up to see none other than CopperTone pulling in with his mobile support wagon. This is the 3rd or 4th time I’d seen him along the way and it’s his last stop before heading to Minnesota for a family reunion.

Leaving Walker Pass

Another kind soul staying at the campground brought over a bagful of cold beverages including beer, hard lemonade, and Gatorade! Guess which I chose?
The outpouring of generosity and all around high spirits of such moments is something that escaped my expectations. I can see myself doing something for hikers in the future just for the fun and camaraderie of it.

Up the windy and windy way
Good example of switchbacks

Up from Walker Pass the trail enters the Evans Peak wilderness which is where I find myself camped tonight in a much more thoughtful location. The wind is still a blowin’ but I’m a quick study where comfort is involved.


4 Replies to “Day 34 – Hard Won Wisdom”

  1. Good morning sir! You are making solid progress through the desert, and based on your pace will be out of it less than 40 days! FInding that right place to camp is super important as you stated, it is incredible the types of conditions you are experiencing. Have a great day!


  2. I am wondering what your trail name is. Perhaps Popsicle? I love your posts and look forward to reading it each day. Happy Trails!


    1. Ha ha Sonjia, no, on the trail I am AppleJack so named for the pineAPPLE sized pine cone that beaned me and the kangaroo JACK hat that saved my life.


  3. I had no idea there were so many trail angels out there. Love seeing these small pick-me-ups and inspirational nuggets weave through your tales. Great writing, John! Thank you for bringing us with you on your journey! Safe Trail travels, friend.


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