Day 37: Onyx
From Walker Pass mile 652.1 to mile 664.8, plus 34 miles of hitching to Onyx and back.
I was on the road with my thumb out by 5:50 this morning. It dropped to the low 40s last night which was great for sleeping but was chilly standing roadside. 10 minutes later a hiker I had not seen before joined me. He was wearing a huge straw sun hat and some sort of shawl. Now, I am dirty and stinky and unshaven. I look like a hiker. This dude however simply looked nuts.
A steady stream of traffic came by. Folks heading to Lake Isabella or the Kern River for Memorial Day weekend. After an hour I told crazy dude that by having two of us there our odds of getting a ride were probably cut in half if not more. He said he would walk over to the campground and see if the car campers there were up. He was gone 3 minutes when I got a ride (in a car with room for only one).
Onyx is a pitiful place, despite being on “Easy Street”. A mix of tiny ranchers and trailers, perhaps a dozen. A convenience store that closed 10 years ago and is now decaying. The post office is the only nice building. Though not open on Saturday the postmaster answered when I knocked and he gave me my package. My Mom was the postmaster at a small office and she was always there on Sat mornings to receive the mail truck and help sort mail.
After a nice call with Gayle I thumbed back to the trail. The first 6 miles were a good climb up from the pass and then there was a long descent. My left knee started to howl at me so I made a short day and stopped hiking before 6. 12.7 miles. I dry camped away from anyone, not in a previously used spot. At 7:30 a couple came along, saw me, and then picked a spot 40 feet from me. I am laying here listening to them. Apparently the old norm of trying not to camp close to someone else is no more.
Kennedy Meadows is 35 miles so I should get there on Monday, right on schedule.