Seeking a Sierra Trail Family – Day 54: Spanish Needle Creek to Fox Mill Spring

PCT Miles: 668.7 to 683.1

Miles: 14.4

I wake up this morning and don’t want to get up at all. My motivation is still missing. I look at the map and decide to hike 14.7 miles today, which will let me camp by water, and will only leave me with 18 or 19 miles to Kennedy Meadows. Hopefully the promise of getting to Kennedy Meadows will wake my motivation back up.
I finally get up and walking around 7. I decide to try walking with two poles today – Mark has brought me one from home because I thought I might want both for the Sierra. I’m surprised how not annoying it is to use two (it was super annoying the last time I tried, before I started the PCT) and I feel like they help power me up the climb. 
At the top of the climb I’m hungry, so I sit down for a break and make myself half of a Mountain House meal that my friend Natalie sent me for my birthday. As I’m sitting a hiker who was close behind me the last section of the climb sits down. His name is Nobody, I met him at the water yesterday – he’s section hiking from Tehachapi to Lone Pine. 
“You have a really nice pace,” he says. “Can I hike with you?” I say sure and we chat about the trail. It’s good to have someone to talk to and it gets my head in a better space. Once we get moving I feel pretty sure he’ll want to go faster soon, but instead he keeps pace with me all day, even when I take breaks in the shade shortly after we’d already taken a break. 
We’re 2 miles from water when a south bound hiker tells us there’s trail magic ahead. Sure enough, he’s right. Saunter, a hiker who’d done the trail last year and was looking to do it again but had to stop because of a hurt foot, and another hiker who is off trail named Bethany, had sodas and hot dogs. We sat in the shade and talked about the Sierra and I chatted with a group of hikers I like. 
We stayed there for a few hours, waiting out the heat. Then Nobody and I hiked the last 2 miles to camp. It was warm and uphill and I was quickly drenched in sweat, but I was also moving fast – the two pole thing might be a game changer. At camp I had to take off my shirt and set up in my bra I was so sweaty. I climbed inside my tent and continued to try to cool down. I ate a pop tart and brushed my teeth and then sat with the group I’d chatted with earlier, Bird Dog, Mishap, Keith, Moon Burn, and Clara. Then Moon Burn kicked us out of the space, because it was her tent space, so she could set up camp. It’s 7:45. I’m hoping I can get up early and feel motivated so I can get the 19 miles to Kennedy Meadows done efficiently. 
After that, I don’t really know. I hope to find a group that has some experience and some realistic mileage goals. I found out Twerk has headed north to Redding (his family lives there) to continue hiking north. I should be able to get to Lone Pine no problem. After that is a question mark. 

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