It was a pretty cold morning tucked into that shady ravine, but I still managed to get back on the trail by 8am, just before the direct sunlight reached my nook, having been passed by a man I had not seen or heard pass who was now just a hundred yards ahead. Over the course of the next mile, I caught up to him and passed him on a switchback descending the ridge toward Scissors Crossing.
After a road crossing, the trail came near an underpass with a famous water cache. A giant plastic tub with water bottles in it. I went ahead and filled my bladder from one. The man caught up to me just as I was finishing that. I chatted with him while preparing and eating/drinking my morning snack. He had started his hike just the day before at the road to Mountain Valley Retreat, having noticed, used, and now thanked me for the water I brought up to the trail at Third Gate. He had stopped a few miles north of where I had but started hiking much earlier, well before sunrise.
It was pretty cool in the shade under the underpass, and eventually I found myself sitting on a log in the one sunny spot, putting sunscreen on my face, neck, and knees. Having emptied my trash into one of the trash cans at the cache and repacked, I set out again several minutes before the man and he never caught up to me again.
The trail went across another road, followed it for a half mile, then set out straight across the desert flats to the next range. I passed some day hikers in this piece by catching up to them. But once I started climbing up onto the next ridge, I didn’t see anyone else all day.
This next section looked pretty much the same as the last. There was nothing about it that made it stand out from any other day, aside from one decently long road walk downhill, one really steep hill climb, and one place where the trail briefly joined a road and I missed the turn where it left it again. There were a lot of good views late in the day as the trail drew nearer the Sunrise Highway. The terrain was relatively easy.
A bit after sunset, I arrived at the last tentsite before the Sunrise Trailhead. There was a nice little water cache here, and a previous hiker had left a bag of Jelly Belly. But it was also, again, in a cold spot. So I set up camp and got in bed before cooking—eating my way through the jelly beans the whole time.
Total distance: 20 miles