PCT mile 681, Into the dry hot mountains

It’s hot. Way too hot for hiking. Temps are in the high 80s and low 90s with a cloudless blazing blue sky and only intermittent shade.

And this is not the worst of it. The lower elevations behind me are in the 100s, and water carries of over 30 miles are required. I’ve talked to several folks who have simply skipped over the Mojave and the Tehachapis, fearing for their safety. Probably a wise choice.

Others are hiking at night. I was on the trail myself well before dawn, knocking off most of a 2000 ft climb before the sun got too high (the sun… it burns us). I made it the 4 miles to Spanish Needle Creek – just a trickle over a tree root – before running out of water. The 3 liters I got there were enough to get through a long midday break and the 11 miles to nearby Chimney Creek – also just an intermittent trickle.

I’m hiking station to station – scurrying a few hundred yards and stopping at each shady spot to cool off before continuing.

Water will soon become less of an issue as I approach the Sierras proper. Already there are more and more outcroppings of the dazzling white granite that are so characteristic of the range. But at this altitude (5000-7000) feet, and with a record-breaking heat wave, that white granite serves mostly to turn canyons and hillsides into bake ovens. I got thoroughly roasted today, and I’m hoping that tomorrow will be more of a sous vide sort of day.