Miles 569.8 – 588.2
The day prior we woke up around 5:30 with the winds still blowing hard. With our packs stuffed to the brim we were ready to continue walking, except for one of us. Diggs had decided she would sleep in and catch up with us later in the day. We were at mile 569.8, and we wouldn’t be running back into Diggs until mile 702 when we’d arrive at Kennedy Meadows. That’s just how it goes sometimes. You think you’ll catch up with certain people, or that they’ll catch back up with you, but you never really know when it might be the last time you see a friend.
The first five miles of the day were tough, about a 1,200-ft climb followed by a small drop and another climb. The views of the desert were amazing though, as you climbed along these ridges high in sky you would stop often to observe the beauty of the seemingly unproductive landscape. We had a fourteen mile hike to Golden Oaks Spring at mile 583.3. We thought it would be a good idea to take a midday siesta and rest here for a while to wait out the burning sun. There were plenty of other hikers who had the same thought, everyone was scattered about in the shade either sleeping or eating a hearty portion of tuna wraps filled with cheese and/or some other deliciously filthy food. This spot was nice though, it felt good to be amongst a dozen or so other hikers, and the water wasn’t too bad. It was an old trough for cattle that was fed by a natural spring. As long as you didn’t take water out from the trough itself and grabbed from the pipe leading in, you were in good shape.
Once the sun’s heat started to ease up and we realized Diggs wasn’t going to be catching up with us for the day we headed back out, this time descending down to where we would eventually camp. It was a very enjoyable end of the day, I was happy to be with my new trail family. Looking back everything that evening seemed perfect, that it had all fallen into place and I was exactly where I needed to be.