Days Seven to Ten: Night Hiking, Wind Farms, and MAGIC
Day 7 – Hiker Town and Highway 138 to Trail Sign (mi 517.6 – mi 529.3)
Night hiking AGAIN. We were hiking through the aqueduct for the most part. ALL FLAT! Incredible! The only problem was that it was all flat on concrete roads. After about 6 miles I was feeling every joint. I started getting bored and I really wanted to hang with Beast Cub. We were together for a while in the beginning, but when my joints started hurting I had to slow down. I eventually yelled out to her. It took yelling her name three times for her to finally hear me and turn around. That’s how far she was. She stopped and I said “DIANA! I’m bored! *haha* Can we talk or something?? I caaan’ttttt!!!” I was definitely whining. She said when she starts hiking she gets in a groove and starts to daydream. I wish I started daydreaming when I hike alone. I just get bored and imagine tripping Beast Cub. I guess you could consider that daydreaming?! Oh and guess what?! We didn’t even need our headlamps! The waxing moon lit our path the whole way! It was beautiful, but a little upsetting I carried extra batteries for no reason. EVERY OUNCE COUNTS!! I could only do 11.7 miles and that took me 4.5 hours. I finally told Beast Cub I needed to stop. I was waddling and knew an injury was headed my way. We cowboy camped close to the trail and next to some random dirt road. Got to bed at 12:30AM and woke up at 6AM!
Creepy Sign with Doll Head Pointing to the Trail in the Wind Farms
Day 8 – Trail Sign to Tylerhorse Canyon and Tent Site (mi 529.3 – mi 541.5)
I took my sweet mother fucking time today. From the second I woke up I knew I was going to take it slow. Not because I necessarily wanted to but because I physically and mentally could not move any faster. I started to forget what I was doing. I haven’t nailed down my routine yet. There was so much to do. Brush my teeth, pack up, eat, poop, stretch, chug some water, etc. I could feel Beast Cub getting antsy again. She doesn’t tend to her bodily needs like I do. She’ll hike 13 miles and only drink 1.5 liters. I don’t get it. I need AT LEAST 5 liters for 13 miles!
Desert Plant with Invisible Needles
As I was getting ready I sat right on a desert plant that has these invisible little needles that stick in you and are so fine that when you try to get them out they break. What fun! Beast Cub sat in some the other day and was like “oooo, yea, watch out for those!” A much too belated warning! Learning the hard way with Beast Cub each day!
Desert Lizard Chillin' on a Trail Marker
We get going and Beast Cub is out of sight within 5 minutes of hiking. Which pissed me off as I’m LIMPING, searching for a red and white spotted mushroom to gulp for double strength. It really does feel like a Nintendo game out here, or an obstacle course. A really boring obstacle, or rather, realistic. Where you think it will get exciting but all that’s around the next corner is more desert and uphill. “I wonder what is around this bush”, *imagining a snake popping out*, but all you get is a train of ants carrying food to their nest, or better yet, a leopard lizard running across the trail! Whatever the fuck those are. It wasn’t really a goal of mine to learn about all the different types of desert lizards. But now I know there are at least 3. Sometimes the lizards are entertaining. I came around a corner and witnessed a leopard lizard trying to capture and eat a small scorpion. It happened so quickly I can’t believe I caught it, but those few seconds got me through the next 2 miles! I have also seen some bunnies! That’s quick fun as well. They basically just dart past you once every 8 miles or so. Just enough time to let you know they exist.
Wind Farms in Tehachapi
The wind farms! Wow! I was hiking in the heat for 3 miles when I saw huge windmills ahead! About 2 miles later I was hiking through them! It was so cool! A little creepy! These monstrous tri-bladed energy sources doing their thang right over your head! I was starstruck! As if I’d never seen one in my life!
Taking so many pictures and videos at every angle possible! This was when I was really sad to be alone! I wanted to share this moment with someone so badly, but I had to just play a Lizzo Spotify playlist, “This Is Lizzo”, and dance my way through, “‘cause I’m my own soulmate”!!!
I made it to the water tank where Beast Cub was waiting for me. She wanted to keep going before it got too hot so she was rushing me to see if I needed water. I couldn’t move so I had her leave the Platypus filtration system with me so she could keep hiking without me. Turns out I was good on water. But I was glad to have the purifier just in case! Better safe than sorry!
My Favorite Tree in the Desert
My right leg started hurting from my Achilles tendon up to my IT band. It was getting so bad I had to take a break at a tree. Words that aren’t in Beast Cubs hiking vocabulary. It took so many miles to find a good tree to rest under. There aren’t very many trees in the desert and the few that were around, other hikers were already under, taking their midday siestas. People that have been hiking for three months were taking more breaks than Beast Cub! She really is a BEAST! I came across a tree only 0.9 miles away from the tent site where Beast Cub was waiting for me. I wanted to just make it to her, but my Achilles was swollen and tightening up so bad I couldn’t walk anymore, let alone hike! This tree GAVE ME LIFE! After an hour of rebirth, I got up and made my way to Beast Cub, still limping a little. Of course when I reached her what does she say? “We should go another 1.2 more miles to the next tent site! There is water there! But…… it’s all uphill!” GREAATTT. I knew she was right! We had to go. Filling up on water is way too important and to do it before bed is more productive than doing it the next day and wasting valuable hiking time.
When I got there, an hour after Beast Cub, we got water and walked down 0.1 miles to the tent site! Guess who was there!? The girl from Wee Vill who was nervous for the aqueduct section! The first thing out of her mouth when we rolled up was “do you guys do drugs?”. I laughed and said “I smoke weed, but that’s about it. Why?” She informed us she was high and had been chilling at this spot all day. She only started her hike 6 days ago at Lake Hughes Rd, mi 485.8. That is where she met the group of hikers that got her high by putting hash in her potatoes! Their number one carrying priority for this hike was drugs! I saw this group a few times so far. First when we were hanging out with David at the Ranger station and he invited them over for a beer. And second when we got to Wee Vill. They were getting ready to have a rave through the aqueduct section. They took LSD, wrapped glow sticks around each limb, packed up, and partied their way through the Mojave desert. Hilarious. I think I would have died for real.
The girls name was VRon, short for Veronica. She didn’t have a trail name yet. She asked how I was doing and I told her how annoyed I was at Beast Cub for always leaving me. She gave me the best advice I could have asked for. “You know what, you just need to hike your own fucking hike!” It clicked! Everyone else was telling me not to focus on Beast Cub. Just worry about getting stronger, which is basically the same advice, but the way she said it spoke to me! Hike my own fucking hike. Not, hike my own hike; no, hike my own FUCKING hike! It’s my fucking hike! My fucking body! I don’t like being alone, and I would really appreciate a partner, but those aren’t my circumstances right now. So I just need to do me and HIKE MY OWN FUCKING HIKE! I loved her! Thank you VRon, your high, free spirited, blissful ass slapped me out of my negativity and into the beauty of my surroundings!
Sleeping at Tylerhorse Canyon and Tent site
VRon left around 7:30PM to night hike one of the harder sections. The section Beast Cub and I were going to hike in the morning. It was SO windy that night! I don’t know how VRon didn’t get blown off the mountain. Trying to get some Z’s that night was a task and a half. We cowboy camped with our puffy jackets, buffs over our faces, beanies on our heads, and cocooned in our sleeping bags. Not only was the wind bad, but one fucking frog wouldn’t SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP! This frog was ribbiting so loud, so infrequently, and all night long! When I woke up this bitch was still YELLING! Somehow I got some sleep! Beast Cub said she couldn’t sleep at all, which didn’t slow her down by any means!
Day 9 – Tylerhorse Canyon and Tent Site to Dirt Road (mi 541.5 – mi 558.0)
For breakfast this morning I wanted to eat my fruit and nuts bar, but I knew I needed more protein for this next section so I ate my protein bar instead. I started to realize I was considering what I needed instead of what I wanted. “What do I need to get through today?!” What a concept!
PCT Trail Register mi 544.5
When I started the hike today I was checking every valley making sure VRon wasn’t dead! When I approached one of the trail registers to sign I saw she signed it and a big smile came across my face! She did it! And if she did it high on hash oil, I sure as hell could! I signed it: Cheche – Tampa, Fl “what do you need?”. The first 8 miles were mostly uphill. A solid 4 miles went 2,000 ft uphill. It wasn’t as hard as I thought! I’m getting stronger! I started thinking the uphills were like losing weight and the downhills were like gaining weight, easier and much quicker. Uphills are like a bad day at work and downhills are your day off. Uphills are Beast Cub leaving me and downhills are VRon getting high and sharing her wisdom.
Trail Magic NOT a Mirage
After 8 miles I needed a break! I knew from Guthooks there were two tent sites coming up. One at mi 549.0 and the other at mi 549.7, where I was meeting Beast Cub. I come around the corner approaching mi 549.0 and see a big red umbrella with two hikers under it! It was TRAIL MAGIC! There was so much water and so much shade! A fucking GIFT! I hung out with the hikers, Leftovers and BBQ Chicken! Hikers I was behind all day! Only 5 minutes later three more hikers came (didn’t get their names), and then two more (I Doctor and GT), and then another two (Plant and Pickles)! It was a PARTY! We talked for two hours! They gave me the strength I needed to hike 8 more miles! Eventually I got up and walked the 0.7 miles to Beast Cub, told her I could do 8 more miles and she was off. I didn’t see her for another 4 hours.
Day 10 – Dirt Road to Cameron Road (mi 558.0 – mi 565.1)
We slept for 12 hours! 12 hours and I was still hurting. Today’s hike was harder than yesterday’s 16 miles and 2,000 ft incline! Probably because I pushed myself yesterday to finish that hike and 12 hours of rest wasn’t enough to keep me pushing. My Achilles swelled up again and my left knee started talking to me. I needed to take my time through this last stretch of hilly wind farms.
Mid Yawn Walking through more Wind Farms
The only thing that started to get me through was what VRon told me. To HIKE MY OWN FUCKING HIKE! This section was 4 miles of some pretty steep uphills through another wind farm and 3.1 miles of switchbacks downhill. A trail angel, Rudy, was waiting at the trailhead where we were meeting Toby with Pepsi, Fanta, and candy bars on ICE! So refreshing! I’m not a huge soda girl, but after not having much of anything for 112.2 miles, I inhaled it. It was heavenly nectar! 30 minutes later Toby picked us up!
Trail Angel, Rudy's, Trail Magic
I am off the trail for about a week because my sister is graduating with her DOCTORATE!!! She so smart! I don’t want to lose everything I gained so I will go on hikes, ice EVERYTHING, and attempt to lighten my pack dramatically! I already miss the trail. It’s a weird feeling to miss something that sucked so much.
Sleeping in the Wind Farms
I didn’t realize how much negativity the trail would bring out of me and my “tramily” (trail-family). I came out here to learn to love the suck. To translate and intertwine the hell of life with the joy of life. How to keep going when there’s nothing. How to be more when you’re all out of gas. How to breathe when you’re suffocating. To reflect and be better. I’m starting to grasp what that means and it 150% hasn’t been easy. Especially with the people I chose to do this with. They are family in real life. My dad and Toby have been best friends since they were kids! I love them but we do not have a strong foundation. I’m misunderstood, I’m picked on, I’m thrown under the bus, and the funny thing is, they feel the same towards me. That I’m not listening, I’m not doing my part, I’m taking advantage. And we are all at fault. I can defend my character all day, and so can they, but, regardless of our feelings, we all blindly signed up for the same shitty paradise we call the Pacific Crest Trail. No real concrete plan in mind except get to California and hike. I never lived with Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Toby! Of course we may have some aversion toward each other from time to time. We are cramped in a two person camper when we are all together. I feel they’re being selfish and they feel I’m being selfish. At the end of the day, Bonnie and I NEED to hike this fucking trail, hurt ankle and all. It’s our life line and, right now, it’s our only glue. I have to stop calling her Geezy. She has expressed she hates it! Bonnie is CoMOMdo and always will be. I didn’t realize the significance of trail names to thru-hikers. She may not be CoMOMdo on the PCT, but that’s her trail name. Her one and only! Her “trail alter ego”. Bonnie jokingly suggested a trail name for me I FULLY connect with: Fucker. Not that I say it a lot on the trail because I can’t even breath on the trail, let alone use profanity, but when I reflect and write about my experience so far the only word that seems fitting is fuck, fucking, or fucker! So, “Hi! I’m Fucker, Fuck for short! What’s your name?”
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