Long day yet not nearly as tough as segment #19
Started off the day stopping at a gas station were we met a fellow HAZ member! I'm horrible with names
but global warmer should suffice
We set up our cache off fire road #418 then the shuttle on the north end. From Shultz Tank we were off at 7:54am. The majority of the elevation gain is dealt with in the first 7 miles.
Kachina is a nice trail yet I wasn't as excited as everyone else. Having witnessed the western end in Autumn this is about as exciting to me as visiting West Fork in the summer. Nothing compares to Autumn in my opinion and it's kind of a roller coaster with no destination. As expected the western end was loaded with typical Saturday crowds. In the middle we unexpectedly passed Amy, she was doing a K/W/H loop with Tugger!
The summit and Kachina parking lots were pretty darn full. Noticed Chapman's ride in the parking lot along the way!
The Aspen Loop section is a ridiculous zig zag for thru hikers. Yet understandable for the majority that get out on a short hike to see the hillside. Certainly a very pleasant and enjoyable area.
The hike around the western base of the peaks was delightful. Passed more hikers and bikers than expected yet nothing like the big ticket summit and Kachina draws. With brisk breezes we experienced the delightful upper sounds of knocking Aspens. I thought it was pretty cool anyhow...
Passing the turnoff for Bismarck Lake (tiny pond) Denny couldn't help himself. He split from the group dancing in glee singing Bis Markie "Just a Friend". T'was a sight to see, we watched in awe.
At this point we were in get-to-cache mode and believe most of us were starting to bonk.
Retrieved our trusty cache around 1:25pm then hiked another mile to a beautiful lunch spot admiring the eastern slope of the shallow crater that makes up the itty bitty Walker Lake. How cool!
Continuing on, the Aspens soon petered out yet the forest continued about four miles more than anticipated. Having read the mountain folk babble about "pine pollen" woes for the past week we finally got a glimpse. It seemed the ground was rather yellow/green. Then Dave noticed all the spider webs were covered in pollen. Hole E cow there are a lot of spider webs along the ground when revealed with pollen!
The six miles after lunch seemed to go by effortlessly. We pressed on another mile for our final break of length. I hit the B vitamins and taped up a couple hot spots on my toes. For myself the Bs work best when I'm really tired. The remainder of the hike was the least anticipated as it dwindles down to junipers. Yet this wasn't too bad as the heat of the day was dwindling too and the angle of the sun was pretty low. We managed to still catch a little shade even off the junipers.
Good hike, fun day. Thanks everyone and especially Denny for everything!