Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 40: Walker Pass

Mile 630.8 -> Mile 652.1 -> Hitchhike into Ridgecrest

I kept waking up thinking my alarm was going to go off any second. At 4 AM, it finally did. We packed up as quietly as possible and began heading up a mountain. It was already balmy–my phone said it was about 71 degrees. We had the moonlight at our backs and we tried to see through our own shadows. We were going from 5361 ft. to about 7000 ft., and we wanted it to be over as soon as possible.

We caught the sunrise at the top, a bonus for having woken up so early.

The rest of the day cruised. Toucan and I were tired and sore, but we put away the 20 miles before 11 AM. We arrived at the Walker Pass campground to meet Joy and Sassafras, the former being an eccentric traveler who setup camp at Walker, and the latter being an adorable 3 month old kitten.

I wanted to get going fast, so we hit HWY 178 and threw our thumbs. The Kid, a hiker we leapfrogged with the past couple of days, was joining us into Ridgecrest. Not 20 minutes into our hitching attempt we saw Big Jim, a friendly section hiker we passed on the trail. He finished a section and was heading into Ridgecrest as well. Score!

About 30 minutes later we were at the hotel, with an early check in, and a hot shower. An hour after that we were at teht grocery store buying fried chicken, potato salad, chips, hummus, and beer. We spent the rest of the day napping and relaxing before the others came around 5 PM.

After discussing and shopping online, most of us ordered last minute items to have shipped to Kennedy Meadows, about 50 miles ahead of us and the end of the desert. Some of us bought ice axes, microspikes, and other snow travel gear. We also used Amazon Prime to get odds and ends.

We ate at a sushi-leaning-but-unspecifically Asian restaurant for dinner, and then went back to the grocery store for pints of ice cream to round out the night.

Main Photo: The morning view of Bird Spring Pass Rd. leading out of the canyon on June 18.