Mile: 565.5 to 583.3 (Golden Oaks Spring)
up/down: 3900/2300 feet
Back on the trail after three days off, the feet and leg muscles complain. We left Highway 58 after our wonderful friends and Uber drivers Dan and Brenda dropped us off. A two thousand foot climb over the next few miles got us away from the freeway and onto a beautiful ridge with pinyon, oak, and juniper. The views in all directions were pretty spectacular including some familiar sights like Breckebridge Mountain and the Greenhorn Mountains near Lake Isabella. We won't be going that far west.
After several pleasant miles on the ridge we connected with a jeep road that doubled as the trail for four or so miles. And unfortunately that took us back into the windmills. I was so hoping we would avoid close contact with these noisy beasts, but no.
This entire section to Walker Pass is laid out by day and distance, determined by water. Today we stopped at Golden Oaks Spring, tomorrow it will be Robin Bird Spring - 19 miles from here. There are no other sources.
We are lucky that there is a Golden Oaks Spring with usable water. A year ago range cows destroyed the spring box and fouled the entire area. It was virtually unusable for hikers. But last spring volunteers came in and did a huge job of reconstruction of the spring. And it appears they've been busy clearing down trees from the trail as well. So, a shout out and thanks to all of the volunteers who made this possible!
There isn't a lot of flow from the pipe at the spring box so it took a while to fill our bottles. While I sat there quietly a small flock of warblers came to bathe in the overflow only feet away. It was pretty neat having a male and female Hermit Warbler, along with a beautiful male Townsend's Warbler almost close enough to touch.