Longest day, distance-wise. Wander up, following creek part of the way. Find some Claytonia. Top off our water at a snow pack near the top of the slope. It is late enough that we can divert enough flow to fill our bottles relatively quickly.
Off early again, trying to ensure we saw no people today. This early stretch up to White Mountain summit is the only place we are likely to see anyone on the entire trip. We rely on a snow patch visible at top of the ridge to get water.
Started uphill early through lovely bristlecone forests, following an old road briefly. Found some wood crusts under a huge old bristlecone, then some Caloplaca atroalba-like thing on pebbles under another big bristlecone at edge of meadow;
We packed up carefully in the early morning and headed into Cottonwood Basin. All limestone up here. Saw a coyote right at the start, “leading” us to the start of the ridge descent
We drove both vehicles to the Trail Canyon trailhead and camped near there in a lovely spot in a Pinyon-Juniper woodland. Very intimidating thunderstorms were looming all along the White Mountains and ranges to the east. We decided to delay for a day in Trail Canyon, and stay in Cottonwood Basin the following day.
The White Mountains of California / Nevada are the little known younger sister of the High Sierras.