Everything started off great! We were excited to get into Hiker Town, drink some cold soda, eat some town food, and enjoy a nice bed. We were cruising early and had 25 miles done by 4pm. The last stretch was hot but we had cold drinks and good food on our brains so we managed.
We hit 500 miles!!
As we were nearing the end of our day we started to hear the buzz of a chainsaw. This is not a normal sound we would hear still so far from civilization, but as we rounded a corner we saw a beautiful sight. We had been walking through dense bush on either side of the trail, scratching at our legs and face and slowing us down…until we came upon an entire group of high school kids working with Forestry Services clearing the trail! They were like a finely oiled machine, chainsawing, throwing debris to the side, shoveling dirt, and even stamping the loose dirt down. We fist-bumped and thanked everyone and smiled our way through the absolutely beautiful walkway. What a change they had made, we sure appreciated it!
We arrived and checked into our room for the night. We’d be staying at City Hall. For those of you who don’t know Hiker Town is an old movie set turned hiker hotel. Each little building has its own theme equipped with a bed to rest your head. From there we were given a ride to the Neenach Cafe and Market where we’d get our fill of food, cold drinks, and a shower.
City Hall in all its glory!
The Neenach Cafe and Market is partnered with Hiker Town so they supply free rides back and forth. They also have a shower for hikers as well as an air conditioned back room equipped with couches and a big screen tv for hikers to enjoy. These guys are awesome and we strongly recommend staying with them or Hiker Town.
Que the weirdness!!! While waiting in line to buy his drinks Cody became hot and nauseous and threw up at the counter. This was the beginning of a long spiral downward. He attempted to cool off by taking a cold shower, drinking water/sports drinks and laying in the air conditioned room. Nothing worked, he could not keep anything down and this continued for about 4 hrs until we made our trip to the ER. There he continued to vomit and struggled with basic functions. He was given two bags of fluids and was diagnosed with heat exhaustion without any real tests taking place. This was strange because he had hydrated well and had electrolytes all day and all of his numbers were good on his blood test. After receiving the fluids we were on our way back to Hikertown with plans of hiking the infamous LA Aqueduct the next night… this did not happen.
Unplanned Zero Numero Uno:
The next morning we woke up and made our way over to the market to relax until the weather cooled later in the evening. Cody mainly slept, still unable to eat while Kelsey watched several movies and enjoyed the markets tacos. Cody continued to struggle all day long, this made it an easy decision to take a zero and try our luck on the aqueduct bright and early the next morning.
Mileage: 517.6-541.5 (23.9 miles)
Would hate to come across the cat that these belong to!
Our alarms went off at 4am and we began to get our gear ready to head out. Cody had night sweats throughout the night soaking his clothes to the point where it looked like he’d jumped in a pool (first hint this wasn’t heat exhaustion). He felt weak but good enough to push on so we started our walk along the famed LA Aqueduct.
It was a gorgeous morning and the sunrise over the waterway was beautiful. We stopped many times to practice our many model poses (we’re aspiring to make it into Hikertrash Vogue one day… where’s Twerk at?).
As the sun rose so did the temperature. This stretch is notoriously hot and for good reason. There’s little to no shade and water is scarce. Our goal was to walk 17.3 miles to the next water source and relax there in the shade for several hours. We arrived before noon, topped off our waters and went under the bridge to enjoy a nice long shade nap.
Doesn’t get much more hiker trash than that!
We stayed here until about 4pm when we decided that it had cooled off enough to keep moving. It was an excellent spot and hard to leave. We hiked another 6.6 miles to where we’d be staying for the night. When we arrived we were excited to be done for the day and have a spot close to water. Cody said this was surely his hardest day on trail.
One Month on Trail
Mileage: 541.5-558.5 (17 miles)
Our alarms rang at 4:30 am waking us out of our slumber. We were stoked!!! 17 miles until we’d be picked up by Kelsey’s dad to enjoy 2 Nero’s and a zero at her grandmas house in Tehachapi. Cody still felt weak and out of it but had town on his mind for motivation. We even took a pit stop on trail to catch up with some friends and enjoy the umbrellas, water, and fresh apples some lovely trail angel had left out for us. We quickly said our goodbyes and were on our way. We hiked over several hills spotting more and more windmills as we passed. A familiar site this week.
Before we knew it we had reached our pickup point, Kelsey’s dad pulled up smiling and waving. We were stoked to see him. We drove into Tehachapi where we met Kelsey’s grandma. She spoiled us with snacks, laundry, hot showers and great company. We snacked, laughed and caught up. Her dog Cassidy (Kelsey’s furry uncle) was a hoot, we had a blast playing with that ball of energy. We even got to enjoy an all you can eat Chinese buffet… something we’d been talking about for what seemed like weeks.
We spent the day being productive, planning some for the Sierra’s and going over resupplies, did our grocery shopping, shipped 3 boxes out of the PO, and even set out a little water cache near Highway 58 where we would cross. Cody swapped out his pack with a much smaller version, his has been too big all along, things shift around and he has way too much extra space. (I tried to get him to carry some of my things but he refuses to help a sista out.) He loves his tiny new little pack! (Thanks to Gossamer Gear for shipping it out to us so quickly, awesome customer support!) The rest of the day was spent talking with Kelsey’s dad and Grandma and enjoying their company.
For dinner we dined at the very fancy Jake’s Steakhouse. It was so nice to relax and spend time with family.
Zero/ ER Visit numero dos
We woke up and Cody was unfortunately still feeling like crap. His symptoms weren’t making any progress and after a quick call to Kelsey’s mom and aunt it was clear that we needed to go back to the ER. Upon arrival the staff seemed to take his condition much more seriously than the previous ER. They ran a series of tests and continued to pump him full of more liquids. The conclusion… drum roll please… GIARDIA!!! The first diagnosis of heat exhaustion from the earlier hospital was incorrect. This made sense as his symptoms weren’t greatly improving. They called in prescriptions and sent us on our way. We were both stoked as we finally had an answer. We filter all of our water though so it’s quite the mystery as to where he picked it up. For those of you who don’t know Giardia is…
*Giardia infection is an intestinal infection marked by abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea and bouts of watery diarrhea. Giardia infection is caused by a microscopic parasite that is found worldwide, especially in areas with poor sanitation and unsafe water.
It will remain a mystery as to where he contracted the bacteria but we’re both relieved to finally know what his illness was. A step in the right direction!!!
Mileage: 558.5-569.4 (10.9 miles)
A Nero is not usually something worth celebrating but when you’ve been sick for a couple of days you’er stoked to get back on trail. We enjoyed our morning with Kelsey’s grandma and went in to pick up the prescriptions. After that we were in the van and on our way with Kelsey’s fur uncle Cassidy and Grandma ready to send us on our merry way.
We had an easy 10.9 miles so it’d be the perfect way to test Cody’s health and get a decent chunk done before nightfall. The hiking was easy going and the afternoon was beautiful. We had previously stashed ahead a mini water cache before hopping back on trail leaving enough for us and hopefully several other thirsty hikers. We snacked and laughed, stomping our way down the beaten path until arriving at one of the coolest camp sites yet (also very windy). It was sandwiched between Joshua trees with a view of wind turbines and low mountain scapes in the setting sun. Truly beautiful.
The past week has been full of ups and downs but we’re stoked to have this opportunity. We’re extremely grateful for all of those who helped us with our trips to the E.R. as well as our time in-between. You guys are great! Thanks for getting us back on trail smiling.
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Hey ya’ll! We’re Kelsey and Cody and we are stoked to be hiking the PCT this year.
Duke : Jul 1st
Giardia……..good thing they got it right and Cody can start making progress. When I had that on the AT trip, the one Doc said some of the symptoms might persist while on the meds. Kick @$$ and take names Cody! Kelsey……you should carry both packs while he recovers🤣🤔🤪😘
I could only aspire to look so healthy while sick as a dog Cody. Such extreme fortitude to walk it out. So thankful this was experienced relatively near civilization and it could be addressed properly. The first hospital should be ridiculously embarrassed over their treatment and lack thereof. You guys are kicking butt and persevering over (as under would suggest a negative connotation) the conditions you have faced quite admirably. Trek on!