When you walk more than you sleep.
Pretty much every other day we have had some sort of shelter to stay in, Hiker Heaven, Casa de Luna, Hikertown…it’s interesting. And each one of these places has its own quirky character and something to offer when we feel like we are hiking in the middle of no where.
Day 30: Ridge past Hiker Heaven, Mile 473.6
We got a late start out of Heaven, places like that are hard to leave. But also late in hiker world means we weren’t hiking until 8am. Normally, you wake up with the sun and try to get as many miles in before said sun is trying to turn you into a puddle of salty water. At least, that is what I like to do.
I hiked with Flicker, Colin, Lizzard, and Chopsticks, who I am now getting attached too. Why are people so cool? Ugh. It was a hot climb and none of us were feeling it. My ankle shin splint thing was no bueno too so at 3:30 I took off my pack and slept for an hour. Yes, I actually listened to my body. We just climbed into desert and I am sorry to say I took zero photos. The plan was to get to Casa de Luna the next day and my crew said they didn’t want to stop there. So I ended up hiking 2.25 miles past em and camped by myself for the first time.
I cowboy camped and fell “asleep” to the sounds of bugs. It was actually really cool to sleep solo. I wanted to do it at some point, not really sure why. But when you are by yourself, on top of a small desert mountain peak, staring at the milky way above you, it really puts it into perspective how small you are in the universe. It was a pretty awesome feeling, sleeping outside of a tent alone. But it’s not something I would want to do all the time.
Day 31: Casa de Luna, Mile 478
Moving on from the profound into the….eccentric. Casa de Luna. Whatta place. Wow. I hiked the Seven miles into the Casa solo and probably broke through 146 spiderwebs. They tickle so freaking much and are impossible to find on your body. So I was low key spazz-attacking myself tryna get these gossamer threads off me before they tickled me to death.
I hiked all the way to the house even though I could have gotten a hitch. Definitely get more…”Ima do it myself” when I am by myself. Woke up at four am to hike there, refused a hitch…ya…I should get better at doing my own thing and not following a group mentality as much. I just like people! Hiker problems.
Ok. The Casa. Walk in to fresh blueberry pancakes, of which I ate five. They have these massive sheets to sign and I saw all my previous tramily’s names. You get to paint rocks, something my family used to do semi frequently. Mom wanted me to carry these guys to Kennedy Meadows…sorry. A three pound rock is not worth it. And guess who showed up?? Flicker, Chopsticks, Colin, and Lizzard. I guess they were getting water at the ranger station when Terry (one of the angels at the Casa) pulled up and asked em if they wanted blueberry pancakes and coffee. To which they could not refuse.
Then. Oh then. You walk to where we camp. It was this amazing manzanita grove that probably went on for a whole mile with all these little alcoves for individual tents. It was so SO cool. If fairies were real this would be their castle. The trees all have painted rocks in them from all the hikers who have been there. It is just so awesome.
After peeing my pants in excitement at where I got to sleep, I went to “town” for lunch. It was good, damn good. Got a berry delight milkshake that, yes, was $5 but was also the size of whatever a large at starbucks is (vente?), and a 1/3lb cheeseburger with onion rings, bacon, and a side of mac n’ cheese. Oh, AND, Dirty Avocado and Roadrunner had left their croutons from their salad so I ate those too. I was grabbing their plates after they left their table and the waiter goes, “Oh, don’t worry about the dirty dishes, I’ll take care of that.” And I proceed to tell him I was going to eat the leftover croutons. He just gave me a funny look and said, “Carry on.” #hikertrash
Walked the four blocks back to the Casa trying to digest, I actually felt FULL, what a luxury feeling that is, and got a nap in. I’m telling ya, waking up at 4am to hike seven miles really puts you out. I guess that isn’t really surprising. They served us taco salad that night and if you serve youself with your plate over the food dish, Terry wacks you with a stick. Or if you spill any food. Some of my chopped onions hit the ground so I got a small beating.
We were told there would be music and dancing so we could get our PCT bandanas that they hand out, but Terry didn’t get home till after 9pm, which is hiker midnight. Member that thing about getting up at 4am? Means you go to bed real early too. I mean 8 o’clock early. So we were all exhausted by the time she showed up and pretty much danced in a line towards her for forty seconds then went to bed. Missed the photo where Terry straight up moons the camera. Casa de Luna, get it?
Day 32: Red Rock Water Guzzler, Mile 502.4
We got the 5am shuttle to the trailhead and hiked. And hiked. And hiked. Twenty-four mile day. Which are getting easier minus my freaking shin splint. I hiked with Chopsticks for most of the day cause we were going a bit slower. We took a three hour siesta in our tents because of the goddamn, awful, horrific, disgusting, six-legged, creatures that have nothing better to do than buzz around us and bite us because we smell like cows. I HATE. BUGS. I hate them. Gross.
We got a note from Flicker saying they decided to camp four miles past the planned site so we trudged on. We camped at this water guzzler that was pretty empty, so to get water you threw down a cut smart water bottle attached to a rope and had to try to scoop up water. I was so good at it, I got a solid inch of water every time. I was so good at it, someone took it from me and got my water for me to, uh, speed up the process. I was not good at it. Then we saw the fox/cat/???? skeleton in the water…and drank it anyways.
The campsite was sweet: on a ridge, so windy, but with a sweet view and everyone was there. Dixie, Dirty Avocado, Roadrunner, Pilar, the crew, there were probably nine of us cowboy camping there. Moon was so bright I had a shadow!
Day 33: Hikertown, Mile 517.6
Hit another funky place just for hikers. No one woke up at 4:30 as planned so finally I started rustling to get the people moving. I left camp first after a hearty breakfast of brown sugar cinnamon poptarts, and hobbled on. My shin was being a major booger so I expected everyone to pass me quickly. They did and I stumbled the last of the fifteen miles into Hikertown.
Hikertown. It looks like a western film set complete with a city hall, town store, hotel. It is…pretty weird. But they have bunkers for us to sleep in for a $10 “donation” (the guy was pretty adament about the pay, so it was hardly a donation) and water we don’t have to filter.
Got the El Gordito, a 2lb burrito, at the convenience store and ate it real fast. And didn’t feel full. The woman there were nice enough to give me a bag of ice to ice my shin, which has gone down in swelling, and then she gave me a cactus water that advertised, “helps inflammation and has antioxidents”, for free! Again, I know I have said it a million times, but I cannot get over how nice people are to us. Then another hiker gave me some KT tape (that shit is EXPENSIVE) to tape mah leg. So I did and here is to getting yet another tan line.
The LA aqueduct was the next bit, twenty two miles of flat exposed road walking. It was close to 100 degrees today so we decided to get up at 1am and hike it.
Day 34: Canyon, Mile 545
Just gimme a moment to brag, by the time you were up this morning around 8am, I had hiked 17 miles. Yup. That’s what hiking at 1am in the cool does. I’m sure you are all just aching to try it. I was so hydrated I peed more than four times and still walked faster than three miles per hour. Guess who’s leg is feeling better? Thank you KT tape. Swelling has gone down again too. Yeeeeee.
We literally walked on the metal aqueduct and didn’t even need our headlamps cause the moon was so bright. And it’s not even a full moon!
Pretty much just walked, pooped, peed, drank, walked, for the seventeen miles. We got to the bridge and saw a sign for the windmill farm. So we decided to go there. What a place. For real. One, it is really cool to walk right next to windmills. They are huge! Two, they made us fresh cookies, ordered us pizza, have gatorade on tap, and cots for us to nap on. Probably because they know we all night hike this section and are exhausted during the day. I mean this place is waaaay out there from the highway and they order pizza! Pretty awesome.
So. We were napping on the cots, and someone came in to say the pizza arrived. Within five seconds, all of us went from horizantel to vertical to in-line for the fourteen Costco pizzas they bought for us. There were about thirty hikers and I still got five slices! Managed to sleep for two more hours and was woken up by, “There is trail magic outside!” I cannot tell you how confused I was cause we were IN trail magic. Turns out, someone had driven from the bridge after doing magic there cause he heard all of us were at the farm. So we got soda and chips too! Then, all thirty of us jammed in the bed of two pick up trucks and went back to the trail head.
Day 35/36: Tehachapi, Mile 568
I did it. I caught up to the old trail family. I can’t believe it. Five days off trail and I caught up!!! Amazing. Got up at 2am and did the 21.3 miles into Tehachapi. Another night with four hours of sleep followed by over twenty miles of hiking. I. Am. So. Tired. We walked along windmills, which were weirdly beautiful. Especially with the sunrise. I wish I had seen this section in the day cause it “looked” really cool. I didn’t use my headlamp cause the moon was so bright.
I got to the first hitch spot, there are two to Tehachapi, and Coppertone AND Legend were there! Double freaking whammy. Got roped in for an hour then finally started the last eight miles. At the next hitch, there was a car waiting for us. A trail angel who saw us with Coppetone and Legend timed it so he would be at the next trail head when we were there. And he got it perfectly! The generosity people show us still blows my mind. He ended up giving us a tour of town and taking us to an all you can eat buffet.
I promise I’ll take more photos of people to prove all these things are true. The old tramily picked me up and it was a wonderful reunion. I also saw Harvest again and some other people from before. It’s only been two and a half week but it felt like so much longer. I love the people I have been walking with and I want to continue walking with them but seeing Pony Express, Fire Ant, Dandilion, and everyone again was so so so great. I am staying with them at this also really, really great trail angel’s house. They took a double zero so we’ll probably be hiking together again.
It is time to start researching the Sierra. It is going to be gnarly. But beautiful. Tehachapi has been a blur of kindness, food, resupplying and attempting to do this blog. Being with the old group makes me feel so content. So many miles can pass and you can still feel so close to people. Starting again tomorrow. Ready to hike again.
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