mile 608.9 – 630.9
22 miles

Colors and shapes are softer in the morning, easier to take in and digest. Miles seem softer, too, though maybe it’s only because I’m fresh. 
The trail this morning was magical. As the sun came up I found myself on sandy trail surrounded by giant bushes full of purple flowers. Beneath and between those bushes hovered small purple and white wild flowers, millions of them. Beneath those, clumps of teensy golden flowers. Giant boulders sat silent, overseeing all of this. Everything was bathed in that perfect pinky-orange light of sunrise. 

As the sun climbed effortlessly higher, the light turned golden. The purple flowers gave way to wild sage, pines, and Indian Paintbrush. Then the pines disappeared, and for the rest of the day I walked in the hot hot heat through a sandbox full of scrubby bushes and Joshua trees. 

I had to keep going. If I stopped, I felt the sand burn my feet through the soles of my shoes. I popped my umbrella and trudged through the sand- one step forward, half a step back. 

It was a good day. My mind was calmer today. I enjoyed the solitude. 

The last mile was the longest. By the end of the day, my feet felt abused, raw and bruised. They need real rest. 

Tomorrow, another 21 miles to Walker Pass. I was planning just to take the bus to Onyx to pick up my box at the PO, but the closer I get I dream of somehow getting to Lake Isabella just to go to the McDonald’s or Subway. 

Today I met, briefly, Salsa and Turbo Snail, a cute couple hiking in sandals. 

Today I learned, if you have water in the desert and one bee visits you, you might as well pack up and move on because he’s about to go tell his friends. For a few minutes I had three bees sucking up the sweat from the lines in the palm of my hand as at least five others checked the rest of my body and surroundings.  Good thing I know how to remain calm around bees. 

Today’s hike was powered by thirst and the hope for a water cache. Thank you, water cache tenders!!!