Day 37 – 42 Hiker Town to Tehachapi

Day 37 17.04.18 15.5 Miles / 25km

While I packed up my tent in the light snow Ray went for his morning poop, returning to find me standing next to my tent thawing frozen hands between my thighs.

Ray: “Have you done anything since I left?”

Heather: “Yeah, I took out the poles and pegs, but my hands are too cold to pack it into my bag now, I think I’m gonna be a while”

We eventually get moving towards Hiker Town, climbing over the last mountain range surrounded by a dusting of snow. With frozen hands and feet I started slow but as it warmed up I picked up the pace singing along to the Grease soundtrack. It’s probably best Ray was ahead, he hates Grease.

Once in town we catch up with Kyle, grab a few bars in a mini resupply, ate lunch, then caught up with Judy my original trail angel who was checking in on her hikers. It was really nice to see a familiar face.

Back on the trail we started walking along the LA Aquaduct, which is the water supply that feeds the whole of Los Angeles. For me this was an iconic stretch of the PCT and something I simply wouldn’t have walked on otherwise. So I made the most of it singing the Aquaduct song, skipping, cartwheeling and being a big kid in the Aquaduct playground.

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Ray and I were catching up to Kyle again as he started while we had lunch, so by 6pm we were back together, seeing Scott who had driven out to meet us with a supply of water for the long stretch. Since we were walking along a dirt road Scott drove us up the trail to a campsite and stayed the night with us; again treating us to beer and good stories.

Day 38 18.04.18

With the gang back together we played the wake up song “Hooked on a Feeling” which we’ve played every morning together since we started.

Scott made us coffee and the most amazing sandwiches. Scott’s sandwiches were so good I’d be happy eat that salami, pepper jack cheese, mayonnaise and sweet hot mustard sandwich for the rest of the trail. It was amazing.

After the foodgasm Scott returned us back to the trail. In front of us was a long flat two day stretch across wind turbine farms. In the distance we spot two technicians at a turbine so we walk over and ask for a look inside. More than happy to show us inside they explain how it all works in exchange for our stories of the trail. Fun Fact: each turbine is air conditioned to ensure smooth mechanical operation.

We stop for lunch in the shade of a Joshua tree, avoiding the heat while we anticipate the climb ahead. Ray was really struggling this day. I’ve never seen Ray so defeated. The heat finally caught up to him. Half way up the hill we refill our water in a less than ideal stream to capacity (4Litres) in preparation for a long stretch and carry on uphill.

The night was spent in the wind tunnel of a canyon, but after chatting to others we learn we were relatively sheltered to the weather that howled all night. Ray pushed on to the next campsite and reported light snow while he packed up the next morning.

Day 39 – 42 19-22.04.18

Wrapped in my rain jacket we tackle the wind head-on as we climb the last 6.5km (4 miles) hill into the town of Tehachapi. We get blown around for a few hours then make it down to the road, opting to head into town at the first available point, rather than hiking the further 13km (8miles) to the originally planned highway to town. Kyle records what it’s like out there, but most of what we say can’t be heard over the wind.

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Kyle: “How’s the wind River?”

Heather: “It’s f*cked”

Trail angel Brenda picks us up from the highway and takes us to her house where we join Four Eyes and Ray. Brenda is amazing. Brenda is a nurse in a jail and just wants to see more good in the world. She lends us her mini van which she uses for hikers so we can run our errands in town for the 3 days that we stayed, in return we helped with picking up other hikers for her. She has a jacuzzi, and home theatre with luxury chairs, and she wants you to make her home your own. Four Eyes contributes by repainting the hallway and we gift her coffee mugs noting she didn’t have enough for guests.

Tehachapi was a great town to us, we ate well at a BBQ steakhouse, German bakery and I finally got to try buffalo wings at a local sports bar. What I didn’t realise was buffalo was a kind of hot sauce rather than a cut of chicken wing (I know, I’d never really thought about it…) so I ended up changing to honey soy wings last minute. I frustrate and entertain everyone. Ray was not happy with my decision.

Brenda took us to meet with the caretaker of the wind turbines to feed the wild horses on the property. It was incredible, we brought hay and watched them come to us, some ate from our hands, others brought their foals for us to admire. It’s these kinds of unique experiences that make travel so amazing.

The rest of the time was spent resupplying, and doing other odd jobs such as back flushing our water filters and having an arts and craft session making new stove wind shields out of aluminium baking trays and tape.

On our final town day we “slackpacked” the 13km (8 mile) section between the two highways into Tehachapi without our bags. The hike helped us stretch our aches and pains and we returned with less of a hiker hobble. The rest also brought on my period which was 3 weeks late from the shock of hiking. I was so grateful to spend those days curled up doing nothing.

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