I met up again with Far Out this morning as he was passing by my camp. Our different sleep schedules keep us overlapping at around 9; I leapfrog him in the night. My screwed up finger had gushed a bit overnight, and there were blood droplets glistening on the Erodiun and Eriogonum leaves on the right side of my sleeping bag. He appeared both amused and concerned about the injury. Since I'd just butterflied it closed, I spared him a view of it.
We met up again at the empty Kelso Valley Road water cache. He was sitting in the thin shade of a lone Joshua tree as I came down the hill. His posture told me the cache was empty. We walked over to a pair of coolers surrounded by coyote-scattered garbage. He said there was still some dirty, fairly revolting water in the coolers from melted ice and offered to take it with his filter, which pulls out particulates, so I didn't have to use a bandanna with my UV filter. I could then take the liter or so of cache water which had somehow been left floating in half-submerged jugs.
With this bit of water, bypassed by less resourceful and hastier previous hikers, we determined that we could make it to Walker Pass if necessary. This meant being able to skip a three mile alternate to a spring and planning for the second cache at Bird Spring Pass to be empty. It also would require more night hiking and severe rationing. Walking from the cache at noon, when we'd met up, was out of the question, so we set up a half-ass camp in a sparse collection of nearby Joshua trees to wait for evening. I hung my jacket between a couple of the sad yuccas for more shade. It was a hot afternoon.
We finished our 20 for the night at around 3am, just four miles and a thousand feet or so above the second water cache. I camped under a few extant Joshua trees within a familiar Mojave landscape and watched meteors drizzle down the night sky like heavy raindrops.