6/1/17 – Flying
Miles: 541.5 to 566.4
“How much water should we carry?” Dave asked.
Ahead of us was a 25 mile waterless stretch, and this was Mojave, the hot unforgiving desert we had to cross, so I wanted to play it on the side of caution.
“Let’s take 4 liters each,” I said.
Dave did not like the idea of the heavy carry but at this point we only had two days worth of food left so even with the extra water, our packs were reasonable.
Our alarm was set for 4:00 a.m. so that we could beat the heat. Our plan was to hike 15 miles (Dave’s ideal day) or more (my ideal day) with the first 10 being finished before siesta and the rest in the cooler evening air.
That way we would have at most 10 miles left for tomorrow morning and we could have nero and a zero in Tehachapi. We haven’t had a complete zero since Wrightwood and our bodies (feet especially) started to ask for one.
Everything went according to the plan until around 9:00 when we found a water cache after a long climb. Chairs were also provided and an umbrella for shade. More hikers showed up shortly after us and it was time to socialize for next half hour or so. Only seven miles got hiked at that point.
Our lunch break was came after 12 miles. We found a shade under a tall pine tree and since we only had 3 miles left to our goal, we took an hour long siesta here. The heat did not materialize today. It was very breezy and the lovely breeze cooled everything down to the point that after an hour in the shade, I was actually freezing.
We continued on a long downhill, looking for a place that camp but the ridge line did not offer a home and we had no other choice than continue walking.
It was easy walk today, thanks to the wind. The miles flew. At three, we found a refuge in a grove of trees where other hikers “waited out the heat.” I always thought I was a wimp when it comes to heat, the temperature rises above 75 and my energy dies so secretly I was happy to see that some hikers were effected by the heat even more than me. The wind blew life to me today, I did not overhear for a second.
We only had 8 miles left to Hwy 58 where we could catch a bus to Tehachapi. The consensus was that most of the other hikers are going to push 5 more miles when it cools off so that they can catch the very first morning bus to town.
We decided to push too, and since for once I didn’t have a heat problem, we set out for the 5 mile walk after a short break.
Normally it takes us about 2 hours to hike the distance (on reasonable terrain). Today it took little longer. Trail magic appeared by first paved road we crossed, sodas we could not say no to, and later the wind picked up speed and we had to fight it on the uphill a bit.
Five miles passed, we were still in the wind farm area and the turbines were turning swiftly. We were on a lookout for a camping spot out of the wind but there simply was no camping at all, wind protected or not and again we had no choice than to push forward.
The first possible camping spot came when we were 1.25 miles from the bus stop. It was by the road and very close to busy railroad tracks. Neither of us found it appealing. And so we went ahead and hiked all the way to the highway.
Hot shower and pizza an hour later were a great reward for our longest day on the trail yet.