Day 11 – 17: Squatting, Mating, and Small Town Rivalries
The time off has been amazing. Spent a week with the fam in Malibu celebrating my sisters incredible accomplishment! It was rejuvenating! My brilliant sister is officially a doctor! And this hiker got to sleep on an actual mattress! All around a good ass time had by all! The weirdest thing is I dreamed about the trail. It’s like it was calling me back. “You have to finish! You love the suck! You want the pain!”. My last night I was ready to go back out, but it didn’t make leaving my family any easier! I wanted to get out there, but knowing I can’t talk to my family or see them whenever I want is definitely a huge down side.
Day 11 – Kelso Road to Random Site off the Trail (mi 615.9 – mi 619.3)
We decided to go north of Tehachapi about 50 miles and come back to it later when we finish the desert. Those 50 miles were really dry with long water carries so we are waiting until we are stronger and Bonnie’s ankle is better! We didn’t get on the trail until 8:30pm! Right during sunset! It got dark fast. We decided to not be dumb anymore. Hiking on a trail we don’t know in pitch black with tiny headlamps and an injured hiker was not the best idea. We were going to do ten miles tonight, but the second it got dark and I got too ahead of Bonnie I was ready to say nope and set up camp. I waited for Bonnie every now and then because 1) I’m worried about her ankle and 2) I was scared! There’s loud noises at night and you can’t fucking see what’s going on! All you see is fucking three feet of trail lit by your headlamp. Bonnie finally said “I can barely see out here and I don’t know the trail!”. We decided to find a place to sleep. But, of course, we were going up a freaking incline. I finally found a big Joshua tree 3.4 miles up the trail with some flat ground and we cowboy camped!
Day 12 – Makeshift Tent Site to Tent Site (mi 619.3 – mi 633.2)
13.9 miles on pretty flat ground. HA! Jokes. It was all uphill. Bonnie is still behind me trying to build up her strength. I’m astounded, honestly, that I’m in front of her! She’s being so good about nursing her ankle, but she’ll pass me soon! I feel strong, but it’s an illusion for sure. It’s getting so cold at night! We had to put up the tent. I’m so cold in my sleeping bag already, which is bad! Hopefully layers will help or I’m going to need to buy a new sleeping bag.
Day 13 – Tent Site to Walker Pass Campground (mi 633.2 – mi 651.3)
We woke up and took our time getting ready because we knew a big up was in our future. When is a big up not in our future?
We finally made it over the mountains for the day and got to this cabin where we could get more water. It was about 11.1 miles into our hike and located 0.2 miles off the trail. At first we passed it! A hiker, Kyle, who we met earlier in the day, was right behind us and pointed us in the right direction! Thank God! It we missed that water we would have been screwed! When we turned around we saw a big arrow pointing to the cabin right by the trail marker. We must have looked so helpless. He was probably confused how we got this far.
I went to charge the solar charger I borrowed from Cubbie and placed it in a fire pit in front of the cabin because the sun was shining perfectly on it. Just my luck, someone didn’t fully put out a recent fire and it burned the bottom of the charger. Great! We were wondering what we smelled burning for a good 10 minutes. Dumbass! Eventually we knocked out another 7 miles! 18.1 miles done! Everything hurts. I had to take Ibuprofen to get some sleep and I still woke up in the middle of the night to my hips throbbing. Wish I had something stronger than Ibuprofen out here!
Day 14 – Walker Pass Campground to Joshua Tree Spring (mi 651.3 – mi 663.8)
Trying to be positive today because the desert is making me so negative. First of all, I love my Leki poles! I see some thru-hikers barely using their poles or not having any poles. My hands would swell and my shoulders would fall off without these life savors!
There are a lot of animals mating out here! I walked up on some lizards and they ran away still stacked on top of each other. I got a glimpse of the genitals! Very red. Wish I could have unseen it, but such is life. On the up side I learned how lizards get it on. OK, I’m done being “positive”. It takes a real special person to actually, truly, enjoy hiking with a 30 pound backpack. It’s fucking hard. Like, in so many ways. Especially in the fucking desert. EW! Why would anyone want to hike in the desert? A desert with a shit ton of elevation and very little shade.
Day 15 – Joshua Tree Spring to Chimney Creek (mi 663.8 – mi 680.8)
There are so many hikers out here! We met this middle aged guy named One Gallon! He is triple crowning for the FOURTH time! He thru-hiked the International Appalachian Trail from Key West to Canada! He is addicted to this shit. He’s the special person who does actually, truly, enjoy this! Hiking that much will NEVER be a goal of mine. I don’t think I even care to triple crown. Like I’m down to do the PCT, obviously, but the CDT and the AT…I’d rather backpack Europe instead. I’m sure as hell not dedicating my life to this form of torture.
In our last 6 miles I saw a baby mouse sleeping on the trail! So fucking cute, so little. I thought I was going to crush it with my poles. It looked dead at first, but I took a closer look and it was breathing and twitched a little! Hands down the best thing that I’ve seen this whole hike.
Day 16 – Chimney Creek to Tent Site (mi 680.3 – mi 695.4)
Pack up your life in a backpack and go workout all day! Imagine doing StairMaster all day long with an extra pair of clothes, some food, water, and your bedding on your back. The view still isn’t worth the struggle. We hiked about 2,000 feet up twice today and the view was shit. When I got to the top I sat on a rock and hyperventilated for a few minutes. Freaking out every now and then is OK, right? I’m crying again. Awesome. I’m hoping it’s because I’m about to get my period, but I’m crying because I miss so many things. I miss my fucking family the most! I want to call them and I fucking can’t! I want to FaceTime and show my dad all the cool rock formations, and tell my mom how many miles I’ve done, and tell my sister I’ve been listening to Hamilton and Dreamgirls and Book of Mormon! “HASA DIGA EEBOWAI!”. But I can’t call! I have to wait. And what does waiting do, makes me forget what the fuck I wanted to tell them, or it all just loses momentum. What good is telling my dad I saw a cool rock 5 days ago?! Also, don’t tell my mom, but I miss her every second of everyday! She was always so accessible and now I’ve made it so she’s not. Whenever I have service I call! And it sucks because the conversation is always “What? You went in and out! Are you there? Hello?! Ce?!” Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! Fucking A man! All I could do to get through the day was think about the hot food at Kennedy Meadows and fantasize about a shower. I smell like a lot of things. Mold, feet, sweat, piss, and shit! A literal walking port-a-potty and I’m so gassy! I fart and burp at least once every mile. Today I thought I was turtling a poop after I tried to fart. I found a tree to hang my legs over to try pooping because I’m tired of squatting. We have to squat for everything out here. Pissing, shitting, getting water, pickup up your Chapstick when you miss your fanny pack. You have to get crafty when your legs are killing you and you have to poop. I want to poop standing up. I mean, we have to dig a fucking 6 inch hole to go poop out here. Like, what?! I don’t know about you, but I don’t always have that much time before I shit myself.
Day 17 – Tent Site to Kennedy Meadows (mi 695.4 – mi 702.2)
Woke up this morning, had my morning poop and when I wiped I discovered my bloody monthly friend had finally arrived. Of course I forgot to pack tampons so I put a wad of toilet paper in my undies and walked the 6.8 miles to Kennedy Meadows. It wasn’t terrible but it was definitely the longest 6.8 miles yet! It wasn’t difficult, but I don’t feel strong at all. Bonnie is leading the way now. I don’t feel like run-walking anymore.
When we got to the trail head a native was waiting there for another hiker. He offered to take us to the General Store! Thank God! He was an interesting guy. Born and raised and stayed in the small town of Kennedy Meadows where there is no cell service. You’ve got to be a little out there. He was nice and very helpful, but not someone I ever need to see again.
When we got to the General Store we ate and talked to some of the hikers we knew. Clearly my period was not my priority. I wanted food ASAP!
Cooter, the cutie pictured above, joined every conversation! He loved hanging out with all the smelly hikers and waiting to lick our nasty hands! We were telling 60 Minutes, a hiker we met at Kelso Road, that we were flipping up to Oregon after we got to Lone Pine. He told us there was a nice girl who was looking to flip as well. It was VRon! Bonnie said I squealed when I saw her! I was so excited! I said “VRON!! Hey!!” She told us she finally got a trail name, Oprah! Yes, like Oprah Winfrey! We asked her why? And she said “I’m not visually Oprah, but she is my soul!” It makes sense when you see her in action. Talking to EVERYONE, always lending a hand, giving the best advice! She’s such a beautiful person!
Later that night we went to Grumpy Bears and Triple Crown Outfitters about 10 miles away. I needed tampons to finally take care of my situation. We were warned by the local who drove us to the General Store that there is a rivalry between Grumpy Bears and the General Store. I thought he was kidding. He was not. It is very apparent Grumpy Bears and Triple Crown Outfitters hate the General Store. They had nothing but backhanded comments to say about the General Store. “We actually hike!” “We play movies every night not just the weekend!” “Go get your stuff and stay here” “Our beer is on tap!” The best part is the General Store could care less to talk about them. Apparently the General Store was a ma and pop that was sold to some assholes. Honestly the town is so small all the hikers and locals go to both. No need for discord. We didn’t move our stuff, we slept at the General Store and the next morning we ate breakfast with Oprah. Oprah and I have the same backpack and she asked me if my hips are hurting. They are THROBBING! She adjusted something in my hip belt and saved my life AGAIN! We left the General Store around 2:30pm and hiked out of the desert! YAY! BYE! Unfortunately we have to return to the desert in about 3 months, but for now good riddance!
Three more days and we see Toby!! Just three more days! There is so much uphill coming up. We are going to get up to 10,000 feet! We will exit at Lone Pine which is right before the Sierra Mountains! The Sierras are still snowy with avalanche warnings. We are going to skip out on dying and come back to the Sierras in September. Us Floridians don’t speak “pick axe”. I’ll be dreaming about Toby’s face and his white Subaru for the next 42 miles! Cheers to more uphill climbs!
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