The campsite had been on the top of a hill so the morning began with a fast descent. We made good time into Chimney Creek, where we had been expecting to find a campground with a water faucet. Instead we found directions to a single tap at the far end of the campground, 1.1 miles away off-trail, and a creek right on trail with perfectly good water. I washed some clothes in my cooking pot by the creek as we sat to snack with Staying Alive and Crunch Berry.
Leaving the creek was hard, knowing we had a hot climb ahead. It actually turned out fine, and the trail provided a wonderfully shady tree for a lunch spot. In the afternoon the trail moved into an exposed burn area, with a long steady downhill to end the day. All the way down, I could see the Sierra Nevada in the distance, giving a taste of what is to come. I could also hear F18 jets, perhaps from Edwards Air Force base, and have learned to look ahead of the sound to see the jet.
We set up camp early tonight to ease ourselves into trail life steadily. As we ate dinner and collected water, we saw a tent city growing by the creek. It’s slightly worrying to see the size of this bubble compared to the one we left a couple of weeks ago. Far more hikers, which means more noise and more competition for campsites, hitches and other resources. More chances of meeting interesting people though, too.