14.4 miles (Miles 558.5 – 572.9)
Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road – PCT Mile 572.9
Our hike today was in two parts. We took a long morning getting our resupply and food organization ready for the next 93 miles, hiked 8 miles, took a 3+ hour siesta (in style), then hiked another 6.4 miles (uphill).
Our resupply went well. We’re getting more and more efficient each time we do it. It’s hard to lift the food bags after they’re all packed up, though. They are so heavy! Thankfully they get lighter as we go. We also grabbed our next set of maps – from Mojave/Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows. We are soon going to be in the Sierras. Can I slow this show down somehow? It seems to be flying by. I’m glad we still have a little over 2,000 more miles to go!
Anyway… back on subject! After resupply we hit the trail. We got going after 10am, but we were going 8 miles and meeting Aloha at Hwy 58 where he was going to meet us with water. There was supposed to be a cache there, but we’re definitely not counting on them at all. From where we left this morning to the next reliable water was a 25-mile stretch. So we carried a few snacks, three liters of water, and all of our other regular gear. The 8 miles went by fairly quick, but we climbed up and around and back down a bunch of sandy hills. I think I know what ants must feel like when they build their giant anthills. They should totally make switchbacks like the PCT does!
We met Aloha just in time for siesta. It was getting hot, too! Instead of crashing under a tree in the shade, we jumped in the pickle jar and Aloha brought us into town. We stumbled upon a cute cafe where I had the best milkshake of the hike so far! Mmmm, strawberry. Then we drove to a shady spot and I took a nap (still in the car). After nappy-time we went to Sonic for tater tots and a blue-coconut slushy. Then we stopped at Starbucks so I could wake the heck up with an iced espresso. It’s rough out here some days, I tell you! It was a good siesta, but we needed to get back on the trail.
We hiked about a mile along the highway, which wasn’t very scenic, but we soon started to climb up and away from it. It’s so nice to come into town and get the next stretch of food, but towns and roads are always lower in elevation, so we get 10 pounds of food, load up with another 10 pounds in water, then hike uphill for what seems like forever with a maxed-out-in-weight-pack. But we always manage. Sore shoulders and tired legs quickly recover with a good night’s sleep.
The Powerhouse fire has grown since we saw its first smoke billows a few days ago. It had gone from 150 acres to 400 in an hour that day. Now it’s at 25,000 acres and fills the sky with an eerie haze each day. It does offer us pretty incredible sunsets, though. The sky tonight lit up in pinks, oranges, gold, and softly blended into blues, and finally the black of night high above. The mountains silhouetted in hazy layers in the foreground to really enhance it, too. It’s kind of a weird balance… trying to really enjoy such a gorgeous sunset when it’s caused by a big, scary fire.
We finally plopped down in a grove of trees that turned out to be a perfect campsite away from the strong, gusty wind. We were so ready for camp, too. Brad and Melissa joined us – they’re a really nice couple that we met a couple of days ago. There’s lots of room, so we didn’t mind at all! Plus they gave Tears and I each a slice of cold pizza! Great appetizer to our couscous and salmon dinner! Now if just these ants would share the space – they seem to want to take over!
Tonight I love brain-freeze. I know that’s crazy, but if I have brain-freeze, it means I’m eating or drinking something really cold and probably delicious!
A few more photos from today: