Mile 517 - 652!
Leaving Hikertown and mile 517 there was a long walk along the aqueduct to reach the wind farms and cross the desert floor. I decided to do this at night. So I left Hikertown at 8pm and headed toward the bridge where the next water cache was supposed to be. It was a long hike along dirt roads, where Joshua trees appeared for the first time. City lights from Bakersfield were bright in the distance and that ever looming question in the back of my mind of what animals lie out there was ever present. I hiked until 1:30am and ended up cowboy camping among a bunch of bodies already sleeping soundly.
Waking up in the morning it was a race to get to the canyon. In the canyon there would be water and that's where I would spend the rest of the day relaxing and catching up on sleep. There was a slow moving trickle in the canyon and it was magnificent. This would be the last natural water source I see for
That night (5/30) I took off just before 6pm with 6 liters of water and a bunch of miles on my mind. After 9 miles I came upon trail magic at mile 549 on top of a mountain. There were granny smith apples, cold water and keebler cookies. It was amazing. You know what else they had? An Adirondack chair just waiting for me. It's funny how just sitting in an Adirondack chair can make me feel right at home. I spent a well deserved 15 minute break there relaxing before taking off down the mountain and singing Cheeseburger in Paradise. I ended up making my goal of reaching the Oak Creek. This creek was dry but it had some great camping sites.
I lazily woke up but took off before 6am because the heat comes in fast. On 5/31 I made the quick morning trip across the Tehatchapi Wind Farms and spent the rest if the day under a bridge waiting out the heat. For the evening I hiked up and over a steep 4 mile climb from mile 58. I managed to make it a few more miles before calling it a night 2miles short of my goal for the night. That night I slept on a hill in an exposed area. It was super windy. I definitely learned my lesson to choose a better campsite because there's probably another one less than a
I woke up the next morning 6/1, feeling terrible. My feet had this weird chaffing thing going on, and I was way out of it mentally. I think it was mostly due to dehydration. I dragged myself the 2 miles down the mountain to the spring ( first running water since the canyon) and sat there for awhile eating breakfast, and drinking water. I'm really thankful there were a bunch of people there that morning because i'm not sure how much farther I would have made it without them. I ended up hiking for 10 miles that morning and finding my groove. Taking my siesta around 11 am I laid in some trees until 4pm and took off for the next water source. I had decided to take 2 GU's before leaving. That was a huge mistake. I think there was too much caffeine in them and I crashed really hard after an hour. I slowed down a little still making the 8 miles to water by 7pm. From there I ate a fantastic dinner of ramen, chicken and some veggies before filling up for my night hike. I hiked another 7 miles that night to reach Landers Campground where the next spring was. In total I cranked out 27 miles I didn't think I would be able to do more tha
n 5, not too bad.
Waking up in the campground with water was a dream (6/2). I was able to take the morning slow, eat some oatmeal and drink cocoa. From this point I hiked into another waterless stretch. In the morning I hiked 6miles before deciding it was too hot to go any further. Plus, I found this awesome rock where I could sleep and I couldn'
t turn this spot down.
When I took off for the night hike I ran into Batman at mile 622, where he checked his phone to find out about a fire that had started around mile 680, right in our path. People had been evacuated Wednesday night and the PCTA closed the section from Walker Pads for Kennedy Meadows. At that point the roads into Kennedy Meadows were also closed. This raised a ton of questions. I ended up only hiking 2 miles further that night before camping with Batman and Bokus at mile 624, a lot sh
orter day than I had planned.
The next day though I hiked 28 miles into Walker Pass at mile 652. I left camp at 3:45 am to haul into the pass by 1:30pm. It was tough through the heat
but I was really determined to finish.
Sitting out on a picnic table trail angels kept coming by asking if people needed rides. I accepted one to Kennedy Meadows but four hours later I was still in the same spot and a guy drove up asking if anyone needed a ride to Ridgecrest. I took this and headed to Ridgecrest. I have been in a hotel for a night and staying tonight again for my first official zero. My body is really thanking me for this rest. All I did today was eat and sleep.
Tomorrow (6/5) i'm trying to reach Walker Pass or Kennedy Meadows. The likely scenario will be Walker Pass and hopefully, I'll arrive to Kennedy Meadows in two days time.
Random thoughts and tidbits: I don't know why anyone lives in the desert. Today it reached 110 degrees. I'm tired of walking through sand and being dehydrated 80% of the time. The little things like cold water, fresh bread or fresh fruit are amazing. Trail Angels are miracle workers. Beds are great. I think i'm ready to hit the trail again though.
Send cold thoughts! It's hot out here. Happy Trails! We'll see what happens next.