There I was, back in Wrightwood, the town where I got off trail five weeks earlier. A lot had changed in those weeks. Where the town was buzzing with hikers back in May, now I only see two other hikers.
After 38 days, I finally got back on trail. I’ve been looking forward to this moment ever since I left. My friends had continued and are at the beginning, or in, the Sierra Nevada already.
The first day on trail started great. In my previous month on trail, I had not seen one rattlesnake. Now just after five minutes one is on trail in front of me.
Mount Baden Powell was the first challenge of the section. Straight up to 9400 feet (2800 meter) after being in low elevation countries for five weeks was intense. Above 8000 feet I had to stop to catch my breath frequently. The views from the summit were great.
On the summit was the last time for the whole stretch I saw any other hiker or person until Agua Dulce. Coming from the hiker bubble in mid-May, this turned out to be more of a problem to me than I anticipated. During the day I hike by myself mostly, but I always liked having people to talk to during breaks or at camp.
Next to that, hiking in the summer heat was also harder than back in May. Due to this I got up earlier, around 5am, and hiked until midday. After a long rest I would hike another two hours until sunset.
As there was no shade to rest in on the third day, I just decided to keep on hiking. This resulted in a 29.4 miles day. Almost my first 30er.
The fourth and last day, I had to go through the desert heat again. It was even hotter than the days before. And the fourth day without other hikers was tough. By midday I got to Vasquez Rocks County Park, where a lot of movies have been shot, as it looks like a moon landscape. Just after that, I made it to Agua Dulce and made human contact again. Some other hikers rolled into town earlier that day.
Despite there being other hikers, I contacted Hollywood and asked about his plans. He is at Kennedy Meadows, the portal to the Sierra Nevada, and is about to hike in. After researching and planning with him, I decided to skip the rest of the desert and start the Sierra Nevada with him in a few days. I can’t wait to hike with my buddy again!
The rest of the desert-section will have to wait until I reach Canada, or another time. I know by doing this, I will not be a thru-hiker in the purest sense of the word, but I have to do it to have fun in my hike. And having fun during this adventure is the most important part for me.
More about my hikes in the Sierra Nevada in my next posts. In the meantime, make sure to check my Instagram.