Day 29: CS635 to Walker Pass (16.0 miles - 651.3)
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
June 5, 2016 - I wanted to sleep longer but knew the earlier I got hiking the better as it would be much cooler out. I had just a little over 2 liters which I figured could get me the 16 miles to Walker Pass. I heard of a water cache at mile 637 but like all water caches you can’t rely on them. Turns out the so called reliable cache at 637 was empty. It would have been nice to have a little more water but knew I could make it. That means I did the 42 mile dry stretch on 8.5 liters.
Pretty much the hike was all downhill to the road. I hiked for awhile on a jeep dirt road where at the end of it I got my first real look at the high Sierras with their snow top peaks. Then the rest of the hike was in and out of shade down to Walker Pass campground.
I got down to the campground around 11am. With it being Sunday there is no bus service which meant I would have to hitch the 35 miles to Lake Isabelle. I heard it was an easy one to do. At the campground there was a lot of food left over from a group’s camp from the previous night. So I ate a bunch, lots of fruit which I hadn’t had much of on my hike. So spent an hour or so hanging out with the other hikers.
While hanging out at Walker Pass a ranger came by to let us know that the trail north of Walker Pass was back open again, just opened yesterday, after the fire in the area. I heard about the fire several days ago and was worried if I would have to skip this section. The ranger said the fire was started at a campground and never actually made it to the PCT as the winds kept it to the east. He did say that it would probably be best to carry out as much water as possible as the water sources were probably contaminated from the chemicals used to put out the fire. However the forest service had 50 gallons of water set up about 27 miles down trail. I knew that 50 gallons wouldn’t last long. Was not looking forward to the long dry stretch but just glad the trail was open and not hitch around like some had to do.
Right as I was about to try and hitch to town a current thru-hiker pulled up in a car to deliver some trail magic of cold drinks. The guy was from Norway and had gotten tired with the trail and is taking a break so rented a car to see other parts of the west coast. He offered a ride into town so I took it. It was a nice drive down the mountains into town. There were 2 other hikers with us. They got dropped off at the KOA campground but I wanted a bed to sleep in so I went all the way into town.
Got to Lake Isabella to resupplies and then when straight to the Pizza Factory. Then walked the mile to the Lake Isabella Motel where I spent a long time taking a hot shower trying to get all the sand/dirt cleaned from my body. Then spent the rest of the evening watching movies on an actual bed, something I haven’t done on my hike.
Check out is at 11am so I’ll try to sleep in as late as possible but I’m sure my internal clock will wake me up at 5:30am.