Day #24 – May 9th: The Saufley’s place was so great! I laid on a cot all day in the shade and watched the horses frolic around. It was a very busy place, lots of other hikers, so the sleep wasn’t that great. But it was nice to give my feet a rest for the daunting trek ahead!
Day #25 – May 10th: I left this morning with Banana Boat, Cheetah, Chad and Mountain Goat. It was nice to have my wolf pack of one grow into five for at least a little while. They kept giving me crap for always hiking past them and never hanging out. We hiked together all day until about six miles from The Anderson’s (our stop for that evening) where we found an amazing trail angel water cache with pop!
After that I was feeling motivated and flew (without my wolf pack) to the next road crossing where the next section of the trail was closed due to a forest fire. I came out on the road and realized that I didn’t know which way to hitch hike to the Anderson’s house! I sat down on my pack and looked sad as cars passed by. Ten minutes later a car pulled up and a lady inside said that she had seen me looking pitiful and had decided to turn around and come back to see if I needed help. She must be familiar with the PCT because she asked if I was looking for the Anderson’s! What luck! On the drive things got a little weird when she offered to take me to her house for a some beer and a swim in her pool…I respectfully declined. I arrived to the Anderson’s where it was the absolute opposite of the notorious party house I had heard it was. With a few hikers lounging on couches in the driveway, it was calm and quiet. I walked to the mini mart and bought a half gallon of milk to go with the famous taco salad that Mrs. Anderson makes for PCT hikers every night. Later, she took everyone’s pictures…but mooned us in the process.
Day #26 – May 11th: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM! 🙂 I left the Anderson’s early and headed to my next resupply pick-up point…a place called Hiker Town…it’s a little goofy fake town where the gang and I picked up our resupply boxes and rested up during the heat of the day for a night hike along the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
It was fun to hike with others longer than a just a day, but at the same time that little urge to be on my own started to bubble up…increasingly nagging me randomly throughout the day. But we hiked 16 miles and then slept under one of the giant wind farms that notoriously occupy the landscape out here. The night air was filled with the faint mechanical sounds of the turbines feeding off the wind to power unknown strangers’ refrigerators…mmm….cold food….Into the Mojave Desert we go!
Day #27 – May 12th: So hot today!!! Six miles to the next water source and my feet are screaming two miles in! We hit the stream and everyone created their own shade anyway possible. Around three o’clock I gave in to the voice of solitude and said goodbye to everyone…they were all going to detour into the next town and I wanted to keep hiking. I hiked six miles past Tehachapi and set up camp on a hill side around 1 in the morning.
Day #28 – May 13th: I rose at 5:30 am and repeated the previous day. Hot desert marching. Around 10 am I found myself on a cliffside overlooking the Mojave Desert, sent a last text to Madison and started into the windy heat. This section will definitely be the most mentally training section so far.
Days #29 & 30 – May 14th & 15th: These two days get combined because they were a blur. I hiked well into the early morning hours, crashed for a few hours, woke up and hiked until it was too hot and then snoozed until about 4pm and then would start all over again! I hiked with Jolly Miles and Glitter for a bit one night but ended up going further than they and didn’t see them again until I got to Kennedy Meadows (Day 33).
Day #31 – May 16th: Hiking today was much the same as the previous two…not a lot to be seen but sand, sun and heat waves. However that night I woke myself up yelling. The next morning I looked outside my tent and found a very large set of mountain lion tracks. It’s nice to know my inner survival instincts have my back when I’m asleep! I followed the tracks for about a mile hoping the whole time that they would head down hill from the trail and not up the steep hillside to my left that looked like prime ambush material. I considered grabbing my knife but then laughed at the absurdity of the way such a feeble attempt would play out. Instead, I practiced protecting my neck and blowing the built-in rape whistle on my backpack. Good times. Then I came upon a spring called Joshua Tree where the water is deemed unsafe due to high levels of uranium! Yum! I chugged a gallon of it while listening to U2. Super powers here I come!
I hiked into the night again. I’ve been rationing by good and at this point I have four packets of top ramen to last the next two days. Hunger is a great motivator to get to my next resupply point! That, and to get out of this heat! So far, all of my water reports have been wrong and I need up hiking off-trail to a camp ground with iffy water at best. I found a couple of campers and asked if there was water and they said yes…just a mere half mile away! They looked me over and asked if I was okay. Did I mention that I haven’t showered since the Saufley’s? I look GOOD. They ended up giving me about a gallon of water, three oranges and a Gatorade. Two hours later I ran into a southbound hiker who was doing trail magic and handing out bags of chips! He also gave me a Snickers bar and another candy bar. Best day ever. But best of all…25 miles to Kennedy Meadows!!!
Day #32 – May 17th: I woke up feeling refreshed. I stopped using my airmatress and now sleep only on my 1/4 inch foam pad. Two miles in, I came across bear tracks. They weren’t big so I wasn’t too worried about it…besides bears are way more reasonable than cougars. I was instantly reminded of that scene from The Other Guys where Will Ferrell misunderstands Marky Mark and ends up doing bad-cop, bad-cop and goes way too big…and the bad guy is like “I’ll talk to you, you’re the reasonable one” but in my scenario the bear is Marky Mark and the cougar is Will Ferrell…For those who haven’t seen this excellent movie you can see the clip of what I’m referring to here…I mayyyy be losing it out here. hahaha ANYWAYS, I soon saw human foot prints over the top of the bear foot prints so I felt at ease knowing that if the bear was hungry, he would probably eat those guys first. Besides, at this point with my food shortage, bear sounds pretty tasty. 🙂
I hit the meadows with eight miles left until I got to town. I went to bed early with no dinner 😦 Tomorrow morning I will have one packet of instant oatmeal and then eight flat miles to the Kennedy Meadows General Store where my next resupply boxes await me!
Day #33 – May 18th: Today was a good day. I showed up for last call on breakfast at the General Store. Eggs, sausage, bacon and all you can eat M&M or blueberry pancakes!! I showered and did laundry, at a burger…and chips, some milk, an orange and a candy bar for lunch. Lasagna for dinner!! Open tabs are great until you have to pay them! Oh well…Madison will understand…right?? Haha Tonight I get to sleep in this beautiful camper instead of my tent…I have found some questionable material inside…
So lessons learned so far…when choosing to go faster through a section do not get rid of your food (the hike from Hiker Town to Kennedy Meadows was supposed to be about 9 days and I did it in about 6). You are still burning the same amount of calories for the distance. Secondly, if you are going to blow snot rockets while wearing a bug net, remember to take it off first. And lastly, my life motto has changed from Let it Play Out to Put Some Tape On It and Then Let It Play out. Due to blisters. On to the Sierra mountains! (and as always, there are more pictures under the “photos” tab and the map with my updated location under the “where am I” tab!)