Hippies, Heat, Hurricanes!
Tehachapi - Mile 558 - Jun 10th, 2016
It's been a pretty eventful 9 days since my last entry!
We left Hiker Heaven, had our first night hike till about 10:30pm - oh the stars, spiders, scorpions and stumbles! We made camp at a great little flat spot for a few hours before heading out very early the next morning. It was a long hot dry parched day! We all thought we had enough water, and for the first time on the trail, we didn't. We all rationed the best we could, and I shared a little with a little hiker nymph, named Fallen, hiding out in the shade. Thankfully we all made it to the fire / ranger station at the trailhead safely. We spent that night at Casa de Luna!
Casa de Luna, or Hiker Haven, or Hippie Day Care or, simply, The Andersons is a wacky wild home in Green Valley sporting Taco Salad, front yard couches, rock painting, horseshoes, the most amazing backyard tent pad maze and Terry Anderson. She is a sweet, loving, hugging, seemingly tireless human with a massive heart. When I told her I was Potential's partner, she sweetly snuck me into her house so I could shower in the real bathroom! VIP perks! It was a bit of a rough night there though! I was woken by a drunken hiker trying to crawl into a tent with another hiker nearby at 3am. They spent an hour laughing about how silly that was, then woke me up again at 7:15am reminiscing about how hilarious 3am was! Sheesh!
The next couple days on trail was beautiful! We strolled through grassy meadows with huge black oak trees - a welcome shade in deed! We have found creative water sources and spots for long heat escaping lunches.
A few days ago we landed at Hiker Town. This bazaar and slightly creepy property outside of Palm Dale. It's a big lot with old movie facades of a City Hall, Jail, Saloon, Ammo/gun shop....wacky! We waited out the heat of the day there. My buddy, Heidi, and I hitched a ride to a store where we ate many delicious things! Apparently we went to the wrong store, and our other hiker friends were worried about us, so when they saw a county sheriff, they sent him looking for us. He checked at Hiker Town, then found us at the store, where he made sure we weren't hitch hiking back. I suggested we might be, so for the first time ever, we both got a ride in the back of a cop car! Steve, the sheriff, was very nice....and we reckon a little bored.
We left Hiker Town around 6pm to walk the LA Aqueduct and enter this corner of the Mojave Desert. The first part of the evening was very pleasant, singing songs with other hikers and sharing stories, and enjoying the sunset from the aqueduct. So odd to be walking over LA's water source and not be able to access an of it! Around 10pm the winds picked up and we made camp. I managed to get my tent set up, and was startled awake around 1:15am by massive gusts of wind kicking dusty sand into my tent, all over everything, in my face, up my nose, eyes....it as my roughest night yet! My tent kept collapsing on me, and after an hour of holding it up from the inside, I finally decided to start packing up with the intention of walking through the headwind at 3am. Amazingly, Kate & Max's 3 person tent was holding true, so we threw the fly on it and we all snuggled in to wait out the night. Eventually we all got a few hours of sleep and all was calm-ish in the am. The next morning was hot and dry (35 Celsius). The morning was quite pleasant, despite the heat (again, I'm thankful for my sunbrella)! We waited out the heat under a bridge by the next water source till the late afternoon, and set out again. I should mention we were walking through a hug wind farm - hundreds of wind turbines! This afternoon, the winds kicked up again, and we had to really hunker down while pushing through it trying as hard as we could to stay up on our 2 feet! Ugh...we were all plenty exhausted by the end of the day! Again, we set up Kate & Max's tent in the gusting wind and had another slumber party!
Finally out of the Mojave flatland and back into the rolling California desert hills, we set out the next morning headed for the trail head to the town of Tehachapi, 16 miles later. We spent a lot of this day talking about ice cream, freezies, icy pops, cold drinks and anything frozen. At the end of the trail that day was a man named Legend with an RV, providing trail magic with cold sodas, wet clothes so we could wash, spaghetti and shade around a table with paint buckets to sit on. He's following this group of hikers up the trail providing trail magic. These people! What a community!
I'm now writing from a computer in a Best Western where we've had a luxurious 2 night stay, complete with hot showers, laundry, gear washing and a hot-ish tub! We set out again this afternoon back to the trail; got a ride compliments of a trail angel, Annette! I LOVE trail angels!
I'll post pictures when I can. For now, I can report all's well. I feel beaten up most days but also lifted up in the simplest and most beautiful ways. Physically I'm holding up well, save for the blisters. Many are healing, a couple seem chronic and new ones pop up daily. Paper tape is magic! I've pretty much replaced most things in my first aid kit with paper tape.
Weird things happen out here, great things happen and even the hard stuff makes for great stories and a sense of pride in overcoming them.
There's so much more I want to say about this experience, but this is getting rather long. Also, many tasks and logistics still need to be taken care of before I leave this highway desert town!
So much love and hugs to all you sweet friends and family. I think of you everyday....each one of you pops into my head at different times and I spend several miles thinking of you, wondering how you are, how grateful I am for you in my life and eager to see you again. I think this experience has made everything a little brighter and a lot more intense. It's a strange kinda love!
big love and hugs,
Tehachapi - Mile 558 - Jun 10th, 2016