Given the limited water availability on this section, Bob Dog, J Dub, The Bird, Alias, and I all decided that the only feasible place to hike to today was the Robin Bird Spring a little under 19 miles from yesterday’s campsite, Golden Oaks Spring. I got started around 7:30 to a warm sunny day with a light breeze. And for much of the day, the trail went through forested (or, at least, not obviously desert-like) land.
The wind farm continued to line the mountain ridges near the trail. Although not as extensive as the farm in the immediate vicinity of Tehachapi Pass, and the trail did not go as near to them, there were still a lot of turbines, most of them older models.
About seven miles into the day, I took a short snack break under a Juniper tree that provided partial shade. Shortly after, I passed the PCTA work crew I met yesterday. One part of their group was moving a fallen tree from the trail. A little further on, another group was trimming back brush from the side of the trail.
The trail, as it climbed up a fairly steep hill, passed through a cow pasture on private property. Warning signs posted at the entrance to the private property warned of grazing livestock “and other animals”, and warned to proceed at your own risk. Fortunately, though, no cows were present anywhere near the trail, and the only “other animals” apparent were insects or lizards.
For once, I managed to get a photo of an insufficiently skittish lizard.
Towards the end of the day, while following a dirt road, the trail passed 600 miles. For once, someone else was there to take my picture! (Bob Dog, J Dub, and The Bird were there taking a break; they had passed me four miles earlier while I was taking a break — including a short nap under a pine tree.) And, naturally, there were three different 600 mile markers.
Robin Bird Spring, off of a short side trail, was flowing pretty well, starting as a stream of water flowing across the trail and then collected via a pipe that poured the water over a several foot drop, making collection pretty easy.
Although the guide again claimed there was limited camping available, we got at least five tents in the somewhat large area around the spring (which included a building foundation whose interior was flattened, making for excellent tentsites).
Besides the four of us, the campsite also hosted Butters, Ice Man (who got in late), and Pain and Panic, a pair of southbound section hikers.
Because of the limited cell reception (the last I had a signal was very near Tehachapi Pass), Pain and Panic provided an invaluable update to the water situation ahead, helping to solidify our plan to hike from water cache to water cache to get to Walker Pass, nominally the end of the dry section of trail. Normally, this can be risky to do (and it still contained some risk), but given the amount of water they thought was at the caches up ahead (and the number of people they passed), it didn’t seem likely that we would have a problem with water.