The Foggy Cloud Hath Returneth
Beginning Elevation = 5,500
Peak/Ending Elevation = 6,500
As I feared, I woke up to drops of rain on my tent. I unzipped the tent flap and was greeted by a scene that I’m becoming quite familiar with, dense fog covering a damp-looking forest. I had expected this though…the forecast when I’d checked back in Tehachapi had a 90% chance of rain for today.
I didn’t expect waiting it out would work today, and considered doing a full day in the tent, but didn’t have enough water. I’d at least have to make it to the next source. I wasn’t feeling up for spending a full day out in the rain though, so had a nice lie down for a while. I did my usual breakfast routine, but also listened to a podcast, and spent a surprising amount of time thinking about and planning my packing method. Despite having been out here for 49 days, I still haven’t mastered the quick dry pack up or the quick set up, which are nice skills to have on days like today.
My newest strategy consisted of once again packing up everything possible while still inside and under cover of the tent. The main changes I implemented this time around were moving my hydration bladder to an outside packet, folding and attaching my sleeping pad in a way that reduced surface area (to allow a better fit of the hot pink rain cover overtop), and most importantly stuffing all tent items in the outside mesh pockets. I also realized I’d been installing my packs rain cover incorrectly. I’d been missing a Velcro strap that sucks it all in tightly.
Pack up was a success. It actually wasn’t raining much which helped, mainly just water dripping down from the trees above, but nonetheless I was fast and feeling good about it. I also had my water proof gloves (a Ziploc on the right and Subway bag on the left), so was ready to rock!
My plan was to make it to the next water source, approx. 6 miles ahead, and to be content camping there if rough out. The walk wasn’t all that bad, the wind seemed to be up higher in the treetops mainly, and it was still nice scenery. Probably would’ve been super nice if clear to look out.
At one point, I observed some cow plops that let’s say seemed to be fresh and ripe. My tracker senses were tingling. Back during my time in Middle Earth, my ranger friend Aragorn (trail name of Stryder) taught me a trick of putting my head to the earth to listen and hear the foot/hoof prints of my target, in this particular case the cows, to know how far ahead they are. And so, I quickly determined that there was a small group of 5 or 6 heavy animals about 50 yards ahead. Indeed, I found them, even though upon arrival they strangely did not seem to be moving their hoofs, but just staring at me…
A bit further past the cow guardians, I got passed by a hiker who introduced himself as “Grizzly.” He let me know that the forecast is for 2-4 inches of snow overnight for areas above 6,000 elevation and that things are expected to start getting nastier around 1:00pm. I was very thankful for the heads up.
Soon later, I reached another trail mile marker, 600 miles! Sorry, no dancing video folks, you’ll have to wait til 1,000 I’m thinking 😊
Around 11:00am, I reached my goal of the water source, Robin Bird Spring. It had only been doing a light rain/snow mix off and on during my hike, so I decided to continue on another 2 miles ish to another tent site/water source combo. I got there around 12:45pm. I debated on trying to go further yet, but thought it’d be safer to set up at this nice camp site. Better to not push my luck.
Once my tent was set up, I filled up with water at the stream, and then got cozy inside the tent and had my lunch (“pizzas” again, this time in tortillas).
The rest of the day was spent inside the whole time with just a few exceptions. Took a nap, listened to tunes, updated my blog posts, and went back to the podcast I’d listened to this morning. It was a very thought provoking one – The Liturgists Podcast – Episode 3 “The Bible”. This podcast had been recommended by my sister and I have to say that thus far I’ve really enjoyed the conversations. It has three folks talking about different topics “through the lenses of art, faith, and science.” I’m starting at their beginning, so these are first posted back in 2014!
Around 4:30pm, it started snowing enough so that it was sticking to my rain fly and to the ground outside. I guess this is a warm up (or cool down?) for the daunting Sierra section coming up!
Dinner consisted of creamy chicken flavored rice with an added zesty peppered chicken packet. I fell asleep to the peaceful snow falling outside.