PCT CA SECTION E & F
AGULA DULCE TO TEHACHAPI
MILE 454.5 – 566.4
TEHACHAPI TO WALKER PASS
MILE 566.4 – 652.1
Day 33 (continued) – 4 miles
We continued on another 4 miles to a camp that was too good to pass up – the bellies filled with Mexican food didn’t complain one bit. We’re working on taking things a little easier, doing all the miles yesterday so quick and on steep downhill wasn’t a great idea, and the KOA was honestly not relaxing at all. I’m feeling a lot more relaxed here at camp.
I’m still feeling a bit discouraged today but I know it’s only temporary.
Day 34 – 19.7 miles
Today started rough, my knee was hurting worse today than it has on any other day out here. I took my first Advil of the trail and felt sorry for myself mostly. I knew we had about 20 miles to cover, with a 15 mile water carry and the source was questionable.
We got up and going around 4:30am, our tent was again almost completely soaked from the condensation. The fog was unreal this morning! It swirled around us as we walked and it felt so surreal. We got to the water source of the day, it was literally fart water. It smelled like fart and tasted like fart. There’s no fucking way I can drink this for the next 15 miles… great.
Thankfully, a few miles down the trail there was a water cache, so we dumped that stanky ass water out and refilled our bottles. Thank goodness! My faith had been restored after the fresh water and some vitamin I… I think we can actually do this.
We periodically took breaks and decided to have an extra lunch since we didn’t eat dinner the night before. I was almost out of water but I really wanted ramen, and the bench we had found was too good to pass up. The ramen was the most needed morale booster.
Finally, 6 more miles until the fire station, where there is water and a place to camp. We trudged on. We saw it from a distance, I was so excited to be done with this day. We arrived and we’re immediately offered beers by Beermeister! What a treat, they were even gluten free.
We spent the rest of the evening hanging out with everyone and eating. It was a good day, this stretch has been rough with the lack of town stops but I think we’ve got this.
I would be lying if I said this wasn’t wearing me down though, the fatigue has been hitting me really hard the past few days and I just feel really off. Hoping to feel better soon.
Day 35 – 7.6 miles
What a low point. I woke up feeling dizzy again, thankfully I didn’t throw up this time like in Idyllwild, but I was getting seriously concerned. I crawled back in the tent and sipped on water, after two hours I felt mostly better.
We hit the trail hot, we were trying to make it another 20 miles today to camp at a water source since the water carries have been absolutely wrecking me. Everything was going great until I hit mile 7.
I was listening to some music, I saw a bird, I turned my head and the vertigo kicked me in the face. I fell to my hands and knees and crawled to the side of the trail, propping myself up with the pack still on my back, tangled in my headphones. This was bad. Angler was ahead of me at this point so I checked my phone – “Break at 485.8” it read…. Ok, that’s only 0.6, I’ll regroup, I can do this.
I stood up again, and almost immediately I was back on my hands and knees, I started crawling. Any movement I made with my head sent me into a spiral. I tried sipping water, nothing was working. I got up and staggered along, thankfully Angler was waiting just around the corner.
I told him the situation, things aren’t improving, I can’t even stand up let alone hike 13 more miles today, we need to bail. I just had a feeling that there was something really wrong.
I made it to the Lake Hough road, collapsing into a heap on the ground. Utterly defeated, something is wrong, I need help. I told Angler that I was going to call paramedics, I was scared.
First, the fire department showed up, all my vitals were fine except for the fact that I couldn’t sit up for more than about 10 seconds without the world turning upside down. The ambulance was lost they said, it took over an hour.
They finally arrived, I got in the back and thankfully they let Angler ride with us. It was a terrible ride to the hospital, I already get hella carsick and here I am, dizziest I’ve ever been, riding backwards on a windy road. Fuck my life.
We arrived at the Palmdale hospital, they got me in quickly and immediately began running tests. Medical procedures are the thing I’m most scared of, I’m in hell. They took my blood pressure, listened to my heart, took vials and vials of blood, got IV hydration going and then told me I’d be getting a CT scan.
At this point, I told Angler he should maybe go try to find a hotel cause I could be here all night. I felt so bad about ruining his day like this. I called my family to tell them the situation. I sobbed into my sleeve, I can’t believe this is happening.
I was convinced this was it, this is where I find out I have that terminal illness that I’ve always known deep down in my hypochondriac soul I have and will ultimately kill me.
They came back with the results…. I am extremely healthy they said, and I don’t even have a brain full of tumors like I thought.
The bad news is that I was so severely dehydrated and exhausted that I couldn’t even keep water down and my body was trying to shut down. They also advised me that they believed I was malnourished and were very concerned about my calorie intake. They told me to take it easy, try to eat more, and drink more water… to which I have the perfect solution – Angler and I will be skipping the remainder of the desert and picking back up at Walker Pass.
We had already decided to skip from Tehachapi to Walker Pass, we just didn’t expect it to be this soon. Some people might give me crap for skipping or saying I’m not a true thru hiker, but I’ll say the same thing that I told the nurses when the asked about my motivation for doing this “It’s to have an experience, something that can’t be taken away and I’ll have forever”. This is my hike, and my experience, and I don’t give a rats ass about how others may judge my experience.
Today was the hardest day I’ve had since the Camp Fire destroyed my home and killed my cats – but if I know anything about adversity is that every time you face it, you get a little stronger.
This has challenged me in ways I never imagined.
Now, this is the part of the blog that may not be interesting to those of you who want to read about hiking, but for those who want a really honest account of my experience here on the PCT (and a nice glimpse into my world of living with anxiety issues and me being real about personal problems) do continue…
Day 36 – 0 miles
My confidence has been rocked a bit. I felt so much better today and ate full meals and didn’t feel dizzy at all. Still though.
I think it may have been the pack weight of all the food and stupid amounts of water I’ve been trying to carry. I know I’ve been exceeding the 20% “allowable” weight of 21lbs, and I just get worried that maybe this tiny body of mine just can’t do this.
I’m going to keep trying, just not feeling super confident right now.
Day 37 – 0 miles
Still having general feelings of anxiety and unease. I think that my episode was actually pretty traumatic for me and I know it will take time to process. Last night I was wondering if this is worth continuing. I don’t know a lot, but I know I want to try at least one more time, even if it scares me.
I’m no medical professional, but I think I’m starting to sorta figure this issue out. I read some interesting articles that link earplug/headphone use to vertigo (and I’ve been sleeping with earplugs in this whole time and occasionally wake up with ear pain). I’ve never used earplugs before but remember having very sensitive ears as a child, so maybe that contributed as well? Anyway, I’m mixing things up in hopes of making this next try less dizzy.
We did a big shopping trip for our resupplies in the Sierra, we’re gonna take it nice and easy through there because it’s pretty much the best part, why wouldn’t you take your sweet time?!
Feeling a bit more hopeful this evening.
Day 38 – 0 miles
Last full day in Palmdale. Thankfully I was able to find some good info about ambulance charges in LA county (I’m honestly terrified of the bills to come after working in health insurance for a few years and seeing some of those disasters). Got logged into my online Anthem account so I can keep an eye on the claims as they pass though.
Tomorrow we make our way to Mojave where we’ll spend one day then we take a bus to Ridgecrest. We had originally intended to stay in Ridgecrest until Sunday but I’m feeling so much better and honestly really stir crazy right now.
I planned a pretty decent itinerary for the Sierra to allow for plenty of fishing and exploring time while still hitting passes early enough for any remaining snow to still be frozen. I know they say “don’t plan” but I do and mostly have been. I like it that way.
I’m missing the trail a lot, but am honestly not that sad about skipping the rest of the desert. I don’t think the desert is my favorite.
Day 39 – 0 miles
Getting out of Palmdale today! We’re gonna take an Uber to Mojave where then tomorrow we will catch a bus to Ridgecrest! The days off were very relaxing and nice, but I’m so ready to get back out on trail!
I’m anxious, but I won’t let it stop me! I keep getting really bad bouts of anxiety at random times when I move my head, I’m hyper aware of how dizzy or not dizzy I might or might not be. I think it’s all in my head at this point.
We arrived in Mojave around 11am, the town does give off a bit of a methy vibe but I’m from meth mountain, nothing new here.
I’m anxious, but I won’t let it stop me!
Well, I got antsy and decided to say fuck it. I don’t see the point in staying in Ridgecrest when I’ve already been sitting around for like 4 days. I’m stir crazy, I found a series of buses to take to Walker Pass tomorrow morning and we’re freaking doing it! We’re finally getting back on trail!
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