Weather: windy and sunny
Soundtrack: shuffle all day.
Reaccurring thought: how much electricity does one full rotation produce from one of those massive wind-turbines?
Sleep was sweet on our secluded point over looking the Mojave and all the wind giants below us. We had a slow start to the day with a big climb first thing in the morning. We made breakfast at the water cache at the top of the climb after hiking with Danko and chatting about sleeping arrangements for when we reached Tehachapi later in the day. The cache was wonderful and we got to have a lovely conversation with Danko and Double Cross while we relaxed in lawn chairs at the top of a small peak. We called trail angels from the ridge and tried to arrange a place to stay for free or cheap, but once we realized that there were no hosts in town, we decided to share a room with Danko. Danko's mom is very sweet and reserves hotel rooms for him in advance and suprises him with a nice place to say once he reaches towns! And speaking of sweet moms, thank you for sending us a gift in the mail Mom, it will be well spent.
The rest of the day was smooth walking amongst the giants and groovin to some sweet tunes. We were floating on air as we cruised down the ridge toward willow springs road. We decided to hitch into town on the earlier of two exit points so we could have time to do all of our post office stuff. The hitch was earlier than we expected, but very easy. We ate lunch before we got a ride so we wouldn't spend too much on meals while in town. The guy who picked us up ended up giving us a lengthy tour of town and showed us where everything is as well as taking us to the Post Office where we discovered a missing box! Apparently a box from Dana hasn't made it here yet! We will check again before we hit the trail tomorrow. Bryan and Kim sent us a box with all sorts of goodies. I will master the nose flute by the end of this journey; it goes nicely with my mouth harp. Thanks Bryan and Kimmie, you guys are the best.
We got some margaritas, met Danko, showered and went to a steakhouse for pasta and good conversations with good people. Double Cross, Mermaid, Danko, and The Fox all joined us for a lovely dinner. The Fox was pickin up a to-go order to save The Hound from an early bedtime. It is his birthday today and he got a little ahead of himself at the bars with his celebrating. Double cross is proving to be full of surprises and Mermaid always holds a good conversation on changing the world.
We met The Hound at the local bar later to wish him a happy birthday, but were too tired to do any heavy celebrating. We even skipped the hot tub at the hotel because we were worried we would fall asleep and drown. We are looking forward to a wonderful sleep in a great big, comfy bed. What a day!
Miles : 558.5-573
Weather: hot but windy
Discomforts: Boombox got bit by some red ants :(
Trail lingo: "breakfast rule"= take 3 bites and pass back. We use this rule when sharing a bowl of food to ensure we are both getting enough.
Soundtrack : still shuffling
Who we saw on the trail today: Cancan, Bandit, Happy Nomad, Butterfly, and Landslide
Once again, leaving town is difficult. There's always so much to do right before we leave and especially this time! We had to deal with post office errands; pick up boxes, sort them, and mail forward the extra food we sent ourselves.
Our PCT planner is off of about 18 or 20 mile days but we are exceeding that, hence the extra food. Sooo.. We left town really late. (I also had to send my camera away to get fixed :( ) Right when we hit the trail, we ran into trail magic! Chef and her partner are camping out along Willow Springs road and making PCT hikers amazing food! They call themselves "pop up trail angels". They made is some emu chili tacos... Wow so good!!
WE HAVE THE BEST FRIENDS AND FAMILIES EVER!! We received so many wonderful things in Tehachapi!
Boombox's parents sent us a really sweet card! Thank you Robin and Doug!
My sweetest best friend, Dana, sent us a box of goodies, a sweet card, bug repellant and a face mask!!! She's the best! Thanks Dana!!!
Our awesome friends, Bryan and Kim sent us a box of trail stoke and goodies, including awkward family photos and a nose flute. Also, I have had a jolly rancher in my mouth almost every second since opening the box, THANK YOU guys so much for your continuous support and love on the trail.
And Abby and Kelsy put super cute cards in our resuppky box. They are so wonderful!! Thanks ladies!
We climbed out of the flat desert, which feels great, and we are camped among some pine trees tonight! The wind is absolutely nuts around here. Makes sense why the hills are covered in windmills.
Topic to ponder: Fun Size said that one of the reasons she is out on the trail is because the wilderness is a great place to heal herself, but that she doesn't give the wilderness any romantic qualities of actually having magical healing powers. Glitter Bug and I discussed this in more depth later and had a hard time distinguishing where the healing was? If the plants and the space and the solitude are what create the place for one to heal themselves, then isn't it those things that are in fact healing you? Maybe not the "spirit" of an individual plant, but the energy of the collective wilderness.....hard to tell where the seperation is really. All energy, all one. What is healing and what is being healed?
Woke up in the tree cave that gave us protection from the howling wind all night. The hiking was quick and easy to a great view for breakfast and the sun warmed up quickly on the exposed point I chose for our routine breakfast stop. I carry around an umbrella and it usually only gets used as a wind screen for cooking, but the crome dome came in handy for some shade!
Road and dirt bike walks. A lot of the morning was spent on dirt roads that get lots of dirt bike traffic. Every time the trail would come near the road or cross it there would be tons of signs stateing that motorized traffic was not allowed on the PCT. Even though there is hundreds of acres in that area for motorized use there were still signs of dirt bikes on our trail. Stay off our trail jerks! I don't know if it is out of defiance or ignorance of the damage they do, but there are frequently some signs of dirt bikes on the PCT in southern California.
Glitter Bug and I had lots of talks about childhood and nastalgic memories about home. I have been thinking a lot about my first favorite backpacking partner. I miss my regular backpacking trips with my Dad. We reached the last spring for 23 miles and had a nice long break with a good safety meeting with some new friends. Safety first! I got to know Fun Size and Dr. Chip, both are great people and I look forward to runnin in to them some more. The next section was very very hot and we were suddenly worried about running out of water. We were hiking through a burn section and shade was scarce. Both of us were dreaming of pools and cold drinks. We found a little patch of shade in the midst of burnt trees and took a great relaxing break out of the heat.
A little further down the trail brought us to an unexpected forest with huge pine trees, grassy meadows, and buldging boulders. We found a wonderful camp on a bed of pine needles and I had to dig below a thick crust of pine needle duff and haul rocks to set up the tent....sometimes I really miss my quick and easy free-standing tent. Loving life in the wild!
News: WE REACHED 600 MILES!
Discomforts: Seth's getting another blister...
Sounds track: shuffle, lots of phish
Who we saw on the trail today: Fun Size, Dr Chip, Strawberry
Food: "brown rice chicken stew" wrapped in tortillas, it was actually super delicious!
Stress: worried about not getting our next box in time.
The birds were so beautiful to wake up to this morning in the forest! It was a beautiful morning and we were able to get some miles in before it got too hot. Because we were short on water we needed to push to the spring before breakfast break. By the time we got there, my stomach was practically screaming for both food and water.
The spring was beautiful and so refreshing!
FunSize and Dr Chip showed up right behind us and we enjoyed our breakfast break with them. The conversation was so good that we ended up taking a two hour break! Wowee! But it was worth it.
The trail went through another burn section but this one was already full of life, a sea of wildflowers took over the hillsides.
Towards the end of the day we dropped back into the desert. Dundundun....
It got hot. And dry. And boring.
But!!! Right after a water cache, there was trail magic! Coolers full of delicious drinks. It made our night.
Quote from a trail register: "it's hot as balls out here" I really think there is something wrong with Strawberry's balls if they are this hot! See a doctor bro, 110 degrees is not a healthy temp for your soldiers.
We were on the trail by 6 AM, earliest morning yet! We have got our pack-up time down to about a half hour from when we wake up to when we hit the trail. Long breakfast after 6.5 miles under a Joshua tree cluster. The Joshua trees are like weird alien trees straight out of a Dr. Seuss book and they provide wonderful shade if they are grouped together close enough.
Gadget, chaos, and whistle caught up with us from Tehachapi and there was much rejoicing and smooches. We were running into a wall of exhaustion from the heat just as we pulled up to a water cache amongst a tribe of pińon pines that supplied us a nice place for a long mid-day break and some lunch. We chatted with Mr. President, Moxa, Shazam, Pixle, and B-line in the cool shade. B-Line is a part of a crew called Rif-Raf from the AT, he's a funny guy with lot-kid attitude.
Glitter Bug and I were getting antsy after a couple hours of laying around in the heat and decided to push on just as the heat got to its hottest point. Glitter Bug almost passed out near the top of a very long uphill climb in the heat of the day. After some shade and some water she was ok. One last break up top and the rest of the day was an easy stroll to camp. We cowboy camped after 25 miles in a clearing next to a dirt road, getting close to some rumored trail magic by Yogi! ( she actually told us herself so it's no rumor).
WALKER PASS TRAIL MAGIC!!!
Soundtrack: James Taylor
Trail lingo: trail magic- unexpected gifts on the trail, usually food and drinks!
News: I picked up a new pair of shoes!!! Thanks mom!!
It was an easy fast ten mile morning down to walker pass. From the top of the hill we could see a big blue tent and we all started dreaming of the possibilities...
Boom box, Gadget, Whistle and I all ran down the trail to the tent at about 930am
and we were greeted with cold sodas from BearBait, hot coffee and blueberry pancakes!!!
Yogi, Jackalope, BearBait, Coppertone and some others, get together every year and do amazing trail magic at Walker Pass. They have a water cache set up, chairs, shade, snacks, huge meals, cold drinks.... What more could a hiker ask for?
We got a ride from a fellow hiker, Boots, into Onyx to get out resupply box. Onyx isn't even a town really, all it has is a post office and empty buildings. But the adventure into town was fun.
Boombox and I had intentions to leave and hike about ten more miles but we got stuck in the magic vortex! When we got back from Onyx we immediately has grilled cheeses handed to us. Shortly after that, whiskey was being passed around before we had a huge spaghetti and salad dinner. Needless to say, we stayed there for the evening and enjoyed the company of other hikers.
We left the trail magic feeling good that we resisted staying for breakfast. We were worried that if we stayed for breakfast then we would get wrapped up into chatting and before we knew it it would be time for lunch, then dinner would only be a little more of a wait and there goes another day! A quick 2 miles later and we realized that I left Glitter Bug's iPhone cord back at the trail magic! I was very reluctant to admit my fault and reacted poorly in the situation. We got into a bit of an argument and ended up mad-hiking seperatly for a little while.
I was cruising along by myself a ways behind G Bug and looked up to see a super cute brown bear trotting down the trail towards me! We both froze and locked eyes for a moment and before I could do anything the bear turned around to run back the other way. My amazement immediately turned to fear for Glitter Bug and I thought I was going to have to rescue her. My rescue attempt began with very weak and winded yelling. I shouted her name a few times to warn her, but the bear took a hard turn off the trail down the steep hillside and he was gone. What an amazing experience! The bear really brought me back to the moment and the appreciation of where I was. I ran up to G Bug and told her all about it along with an apology and an admission of my part in the shitty morning.
We stopped for a late breakfast after 8 miles on a beautiful rocky point that was apparently the home to billions of ants that got all over and in all of our stuff. After breakfast we had a beautiful wilderness walk. This section has been one of the very few times I have felt like I am in the remote wilderness on the trail so far. There was over 10,000 ft of elevation change, which kicked our asses a few times! Ate lunch in the trees near a spring. Gadget and friends pushed on for 30 miles and we did almost 25 to a wonderful camp site on the ridge. Most of the day we were bouncing around Happy Nomad and Butterfly...great people. Its fucking great to be alive!