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Miles 608.9 to 628.4
A late exit from camp this morning at 10:00 am.... we knew it was going to be a hot one with temps reaching the 90s.... I wanted to pull a big day because we were still behind the schedule I had made for myself for the week... but we left it open to decide as the day wore on.
It was hot... and water was miles and miles between each other... and it was more desert... some days it’s easy to spot something new - others it is a bit of a grind when you feel you have been looking at sand and sage and cacti everyday. I was just thinking about this while walking and how I (and everyone around me) can feel the urge to put a close to this section and move on to the next.... the sierras had been calling us for the past week... and as these thoughts were going through my mind with the rhythm of my footfalls... I turn the corner and bam.... there- in the distance... clear as day... was Mt. Whitney... our first view of it from trail - it seems like just a few weeks ago we were looking at San Jacinto in the distance as a major milestone... but this milestone is bigger... most people quit the trail in the first 700 miles... making it from Campo to Kennedy Meadows South is an accomplishment - the reward is entering the Sierra Nevada - the pinnacle of the entire trail... and here it was in my sights. Conversations have all turned that direction too... entering the Sierra, snow pack, bear canisters... plans through the big food carries... I guess we all feel done with the desert and ready for snow... giant peaks...river crossings... and just playing around one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Sorry for the digressing. I hiked on through some very pleasant trail... alternating between pine forest and desert as straddled the elevation lines... I met up with Hound around 4 and took a little siesta in the shade of a Joshua Tree. We decided to night hike together and pushed on into the evening - getting an amazing sunset... deciding to stop about 2 miles short of the next water source (knowing the big group was ahead of us and camping there and not wanting to wake everyone up getting to camp at 10pm)... and for the first time In a while had a warm enough night to sleep under the stars without a fly on. With the recent full moon... and being far from the city ... the stars and the silhouettes of the joshua trees made for a spectacular night... we each counted a number of shooting stars as a bonus...