I noticed that I had hiked almost 30 miles the day before. I felt pretty good despite having gone so far.
I worried a little that I might get Hanta virus sleeping in a mouse house. I hoped that I would be ok.
I woke up at the crack of dawn and packed up with my headlamp for light. I was on the trail into the cool morning and made it across the desert to Bird Spring Pass by 8:30am. The desert smelled so fresh and sagey. I had come to make peace with this horrible stretch and it had met me half way, easing my way with rain, rainbows, coolness and the ability to hike evening and morning hours instead of heat of the day hours. I left with an appreciation of the beauty of the area. Next to make peace with would be the high passes of the Sierra.
AT the cache I saw Pockets, TrashMan, Hello Kitty and Matt. I wondered how I had gotten ahead of them. They had started the morning I had gone into Tehachapi and I hadn't seen them along the way.
I climbed out of Bird Spring Pass and back into pinyon pine forest. It was still cool but warming up by 11am. At 11 my stomach was growling. The gnawing hiker hunger was gradually catching up with me. I stopped for cheese sandwiches. Ah, American cheese! Specially forumalted to keep poor kids growing and poor people working another half a shift at the plant. It's what I needed to keep going.
I walked through the dry, oakey forest and emerged into the burn zone with the undulating dirt road. I remembered this road well from last year. I whipped out my umbrella to shield myself from the intense sun. I remembered suffering last year. The umbrella was a huge help. Also helpful was the cool breeze.
Walking the road seemed much easier than last year. Shorter, too. It must be that I wasn't vitamin and calorie deficient like last year.
I decided to make the side trip to McGuyver Spring. I hadn't gone there last year. It was a delighful, pipe-fed spring and an open cabin. There were lots of hikers lolling about. I cooked up an extra dinner and relaxed for a couple of hours.
Soon I was on my way to Walker Pass. The walking went smoothly until near the end when my feet were starting to get sore. I had just walked another 29 mile day.
When I reached Walker Pass, there were some old-timers there cooking barbecue for hikers. Trail magic! Meadow Ed, Stone Dancer, Jellybean's dad had chicken, steak, potatoes, beer, cold drinks and salad for us. There would even be breakfast in the morning. I had heard they would be here on Saturday, but today was Thursday so it was a nice surprise.
I was now in position to get to the Post Office at Onyx in the morning. It was the reason I had hiked so many miles so fast.