Tentsite – Independence 
13.5 trail miles. 7.6 side trail miles.
5064ft up. 5660ft down.

I woke up in a bad mood. I don’t know why. I was tired and hungry I think. Not sleepy tired because I’d had more than enough sleep but bone tired. My feet are so cold every night. The rest of me is toasty warm but not my toes. It’s a problem. I put my gloves on my feet and my waterproof jacket over the foot of my sleeping bag, but they were still cold.

I got going and immediately the snot began to run, I wiped my nose on my glove only to realise that they now smell like feet. Gross.

Catwater was ahead of me and I needed to stop for a poo, after that everything seemed to just take a turn for the worse. I struggled to walk down the trail, normally I fly downhill but this section of trail has been maintained by giants. The trail is impressive with its stone steps and rocks, but not easy to negotiate with little legs! I struggled to breathe, I felt like I couldn’t fill my lungs and I struggled to get enough air. I moved slowly.

I got to the big suspension bridge and the swinging made me feel really nauseous, on the other side were a couple of guys with a fire, the smell of that made me feel sick, then the stagnant water by a little wooden bridge made me feel ill.

The trail started to climb and my legs felt like they had lead weights strapped to them, the tiniest of inclines made my legs flood with lactic acid. Then it got hot and I stripped off my layers, I was doing that overheating thing again. I felt like there were beads of sweat prickling on my neck but when I felt it, it was dry and cool. I didn’t want to get to the point where I felt like I was going to pass out again so I stopped and changed into my shorts. I managed to fend off the faint feeling but the smell of my own body started to make me feel sick.

I also felt completely dehydrated, I didn’t have a single bit of moisture in my mouth. But I had drunk a litre of water this morning and I was weeing excessively and it was almost clear, so I can’t be that dehydrated.

All in all I felt terrible. I checked the GPS and I could see that I was hanging on by a thread to a 2 mph pace. If I just keep going, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I’ll get there eventually.

I kept going, I kept eating little bits of food. I ate the last of my Cadbury rations which improved my mood ever so slightly. I kept sipping water, I tried not to overheat. Eventually I started to feel better. The aching in my legs didn’t stop but I didn’t feel so sick.

The trail flattens out by Rae Lakes and I managed to get a bit of a move on, and take some photos! I came across 4 day hikers and we had the usual conversation:

Are you Aussie?
No, I’m English.
Oh I love England!

Sure you do! The tell me Catwater is only a couple of minutes ahead so I eventually catch her and we take a little break before the real climb up to Glen Pass begins. It’s a long tough rocky steep slog and there are about 5 false summits but eventually, after a lot of wheezing and stumbling we made it. There was no jumping, just some lying down on the nice warm rocks out of the chilly wind.

We saw more people between Rae Lakes and the top of Glen Pass than we had for the whole 9 days!

We didn’t hang around long, we had a couple of miles downhill to do before taking the 7.6 mile side trail to go out over Kearsarge Pass and into Independence to resupply. After 9 days I was really looking forward to a wash and some real food. But Kearsarge is a major pass, higher than some of the passes on the trail at 11,760ft so it was tough, it was a relief to get to the top and then cruise the 4.5 miles downhill to the onion valley trailhead. It took me an hour and a half to get there as the trail is so smooth and gentle than I practically ran.

I got there at 6 and piled on my layer as stopping makes you instantly cold. We were picked up by Strider from the Mt Williamson Motel where we are staying.

I was expecting 4 maybe 5 packages but only one had turned up which was a bit worrying. The package I sent myself from Mammoth arrived but not my resupply from Glendee or my new tent from REI, nor my replacement backpack from Hyperlite mountain gear.

I spent a long time on the phone to REI but the problem is still not sorted out. There is talk of a storm rolling in and it’s all too much for me to think about. My brain is fried. So I will go to the post office, check for my packages and think about it in the morning.

There isn’t a lot on offer in Independence so we head to Subway to get sandwiches as our ‘real food’. As my first ever Subway it was alright.


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.




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