Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mt. Jenkins - (5/31/2014)

Mile 651.4 to mile 659.4
8 miles

We made it back to the trail!!! Woohoo. It's so, so tough getting back to the trail after a couple of relaxing days off. It also doesn't help when we run into another hiker while waiting for the bus who tries to get us to go to the museum or to dip our feet into the river. Thanks Yuke. :D

The bus eventually came and sped us off to Lake Isabella. We decided that it would be easier to hitch out of Lake Isabella instead of Onyx, even though Onyx is closer to the trailhead. Onyx is a wide-spot in the road while Lake Isabella has a bit more traffic running through it. 

We waited on the hwy 178 on ramp, Mandie had her thumb out and I was holding the 'Hiker To Trail' sign that is printed on our class bandana. It only took about ten minutes before a nice lady, on her way home from kayaking Lake Isabella, stopped and picked us up. She was nice enough to drive us all the way to the Walker Pass trailhead which was past her original destination. 

Once at the CG we walked over to the 'Walker Pass Ruck' Trail Angel oasis to see who was there. There were only a few hikers there, none of which we knew, but there was a hiking celebrity there. Her name is Yogi and she writes and publishes the PCT Guidebook aka Bible. She is also a highly accomplished triple-crown hiker having logged something like 16,000 hiking miles, or some insane amount like that. We got to meet her, which was very cool. 

It wasn't too hot out so we decided not to stay at the ruck and just hit the trail. We weren't sure how many miles we were going to do today we just knew that we needed to get going otherwise we would get stuck there. The vortex and all. 

From the ruck, it was about a mile walk until we crossed hwy 178 at which time we started to climb and we continued to climb the rest of the day. The other 7 miles of the day would take us just below the top of Mt. Jenkins at 7921 feet. 

Our legs felt really good today as we hiked up the mountain. Although our heads were still in a fog from being in town but that will burn off soon. I have been having some pain in my left foot for the last week or so, which I was hoping would go away while we rested in town. It hasn't. I think it has to do with the Sesamoid bones or the ligament that those bones interact with. The pain I am experiencing runs from the base of the big toe thru the ball of my foot. To hopefully fix the issue, I have added a little padding to the bottom of my insole to offset the pressure. I am also trying to stretch the area out but nothing has been successful yet. Maybe when we get into the cold water and snow of the Sierra it will go away. If anybody knows of a solution please let me know. 

We are camping at the crest of Mt. Jenkins where it is a bit windy and cold. If we went any further we would have either had to camp on the side of the mountain or go all the way down to the spring at the base of the mountain, where we have heard rumors that a bear likes to visit. So, we are camping a few miles away from bear spring and are just going to pass through tomorrow. 

42 more miles until we are in the Sierra!

JBHIKES.com - (5/30/2014)

0 miles

Another zero, wooo!!! 

I have a new/better/easier domain name for my blog... JBHIKES.COM much easier than 2014pct.blogspot.com

As I mentioned in the last post we needed to go shopping for our next section and do laundry, which we got done today. While we were shopping our friend Timone strolled into the store which totally surprised us. We thought he was days ahead of us. We were happy to see him and get a chance to catch up. 

We will be back on the trail sometime tomorrow. We have to take the bus out of Kernville to Lake Isabella or Onyx and the get a ride from there to the trailhead. Hopefully it will go smoothly. 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Zero In Kernville - (5/29/2014)

0 miles

Before I get to today's post I have some sad news that I want to write about. I got an email from my boss this afternoon that said a long time co-worker, Becky, had lost her battle with cancer. It saddens me to hear about her passing but at the same time it reminds me to keep pushing forward. Life is short and who knows when it is going to be snatched away from us. My deepest sympathies go out to Becky's family and friends. 




Today we are zeroing in Kernville so there aren't any miles or hiking to write about.

We did a whole lot of nothing today and it felt great. We watched a movie, napped, and rested all day. What we didn't do any of the chores that we needed to do like resupplying and doing laundry. Oops. :) So we are taking another zero tomorrow to take care of those things that we didn't do today. 

Part of the decision to take a second zero was based on the amount of snow in the Sierra that we are reading reports about. Neither Mandie or myself have much experience hiking in snow and we certainly don't have the proper gear for heavy snow hiking. So, we figured the longer we take to get there the better off we will be. 

Hopefully our waiting will pay off. As Mandie says, 'For once it feels like we are were were supposed to be.'


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rejoicing At The Walker Pass Ruck - (5/28/2014)

Mile 637 to mile 651.4
14.4 miles

Today was the day, the day this nightmare of a section would be over and we could get into town. The only thing that stood between us and finishing was fifteen little miles. 

I woke up from a night of not sleeping well, crammed a Pop Tart down my gullet, and packed up so we could get the show on the road. I was not in the best of moods, I was tired, hungry, thirsty, and wished I was someplace else. 

We soldiered on for a few miles before running into a few other hikers that were taking a break. One of them was ChemoRob, a hiker who has brain cancer, and the other two were Pixel and Shazam, a couple. Pixel recognized us from Facebook, I had chatted with her a little bit before the trip about doing thru hikes as a couple. We all chatted for a bit before we continued on. 

We were hiking slow so Pixel and Shazam caught up to us in no time and breezed by. ChemoRob would pass us when we took a break a little while later to eat the last of our food. We emptied the last tuna packet onto a couple of tortillas and called it a second breakfast. We were now out of food will 11 miles to go. It was kind of a sad demoralizing moment. 

We could do this, it was just gunna suck, hurt, and take most of the day. 

We lucked out today in that most of the trail was fairly level, some ups and downs (actually one big down at the end but it was better than a big up) and there was lots of shade for us to hide out in. 

The trail would eventually turn into a dirt road that we would walk along for a couple of miles and then get back onto the trail. I noticed that there is some psychological change that happens when we go from the trail to the road and vice-versa. Road walks, either dirt or paved suck and hurt like hell to walk on. They are depressing and we take a psychological hit from being on them. When we get back on the trail it feels so much better, both on our feet and in our head. It feels similar to being back home after a long trip, it feels right, it feels like we are where we are supposed to be. It is an odd change in demeanor that I noticed today. 

Some how we managed to click off another 6 miles, which meant we had 5 to go. The anticipation and excitement started to grow which I have learned is not a good thing. When that happens the miles don't seem to click off as fast as they were before but it was difficult not to get excited about being done. To add to the excitement, we had heard from some other hikers that there might be some Trail Magic at Walker Pass, our destination. Trail Magic in the form of hot dogs and hamburgers, water and soda pop. It was just a rumor so we tried not to think about it. 

The last 5 miles were downhill and by now we were really hurting. Our muscles wanted to cramp up, joints were not moving as freely as they should, we had back pain, and overall did not feel good. We were walking zombies by now.

On our way down we saw several Horned Lizards. A couple of them were playing in the middle of the trail and really didn't pay us any attention. Mandie picked one up and baby talked to it. Further down the trail we passed a couple of older gentlemen, probably in their 80's that were chugging up the hill. It was impressive and inspiring to see them hiking up the mountain at their age. 

We had been hiking down this mountain for a while now and I felt like we had made some good progress. We stopped to empty our shoes and to check our PCT app and it said we had 3 miles to go. I thought for sure it would be less than 2 miles to go, so I was a bit upset when I saw 3 miles. The anticipation and excitement had struck again!!! We pushed on. 

We got down low enough to where we could see the Walker Pass CG and what looked like a bunch of EZ-Up tents next to an RV. We both looked at each other and thought, 'Nah, that probably isn't for us. It is probably just some random campers.' We hiked on. 

We got close and closer and it really started looking like it just might be some Trail Magic. We were about a half a mile from it when I was almost certain it was Trail Magic. It was right there at the trail head, what else could it be. 

I started to get a little emotional, there might have even been a little cryking involved too. The thought of being done with this hell of a section, the thought of food, water, shade, and an escape was overwhelming. Knowing that we would soon be in town, in a motel... It was all too much for me and I did not expect to have that kind of emotional reaction. 

We eventually got within 50 feet of the trail head and we saw a balloon next to a paper plate with a hand written message on it that read, 'Hikertrash Wanted'. That is us! We are Hikertrash! We slowly walked forward a bit more, rubbing our eyes, when another sign appeared that read, 'Welcome Walker Pass Ruck' and beyond that was nirvana. As we approached everyone that was there clapped, hooted and hollered, and welcomed us. They seem to do that when Mandie and I show up. :P Nooo, that seems to be what we do when any hiker shows up. There was 3 or 4 EZ-Up tents all tied up together with a dozen or so chairs under it, most of which were occupied with Hikertrash. There was a picnic table that had a grill and all kinds of food and fixens on it. Next to that was several coolers filled with soda and more food and about 30 gallon bottles of water sat on the ground in the shade. There was even a fruit basket hanging filled with fruit. 

After finding a place to sit the son of one of the Trail Angel's gave us a cold drink, some Mardi Gras beads, and a button that had his picture on it with a caption that read, 'Bearbait gave me a cold drink at Walker Pass'. We quickly finished those drinks and got ourselves another one, which was quickly drank. It was then followed up by filling our water bottle with half Gatorade and half water. We sat there in a coma for about fifteen minutes before we started being social. During that time a couple people came up to Mandie and asked if she was okay. I think she had the look of death on her face but she slowly came around. 

Food was next. The Trail Angels started making grilled cheese sandwiches for us hikers. Not just any grilled cheese sandwiches but grilled cheese with onions and tomatoes in them. They were the best grilled cheese sandwiches we had ever eatin. They were off the hook. I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that we were starving but they would probably still be pretty good on any given day. The sandwiches were followed up with some fresh cantaloupe, an apple, and some pretzels. We were starting to feel more human. 

Now we had the task of figuring out how to get into town. We figured we would go down to the highway and hitch but we didn't have to do that. It turns out that a section hiker who was there, Boots, had a car and was taking hikers into town. We just had to wait for him to cook up the hot dogs that he had been craving for weeks and then he would be happy to take us. While we waited we chatted with the other hikers and enjoyed not being on our feet. 

It was now time to go so Mandie and I, as well as a couple of other hikers, ChemoRob and Gilad, an Israeli hiker all climbed into Boots' vehicle.  As we drove along hwy 178 towards Lake Isabella we chatted about all sorts of things including who we are and where we live. This is when I learned that Gilad was from Israel. It turns out that Gilad and I are friends on Facebook. He had posted a question on the c/o 2014 PCT page asking if it was legal to camp at the Mexican border the night before he started the PCT. I noticed that he lived in Israel so I called and asked the Border Patrol for him. He thanked me and that was about the extent of our Facebook relationship. So it was weird in a cool way that we would end up in a car together. 

Finally in Lake Isabell we had Boots drive us around town to see where things like the market and food establishments were. We saw one of the two motels that were in town, this one happened to be the one with horrible reviews about it in the PCT Water Report. We figured if comments about a motel made it into the Water Report then it had to be bad. We found the second motel and stopped there. They only had one room available with one queen size bed so Mandie and I got it for $65 a night. I only mention the price because it was a sh!t hole and for that price it should have been a little better. The room was the size of a closet, it was dirty, and the swamp cooler spit water all over the place. This was not the place we wanted to zero at. The manager was nice enough to refund our monies without issue. 

We needed more food before we could figure out a game plan so we walked across the road to Subway and got a sandwich. We learned that there was a bus that would take us 15 minutes up the road to Kernville where there were other motels. After finishing our sandwiches we waited an hour or so at the bus stop before being wisked away to Kernville. 

The bus dropped us off in downtown Kernville right across the street from the  Kernville Inn, which is only feet away from the river. As we walked around looking for the office a couple of biker dudes, shouted across the lawn asking us if we were homeless. We laughed and told them that we were hiking the PCT. We walk over to them and they ask us more questions about what we are doing which we are more than happy to answer. They were so astonished with what we are doing that one of them asked to take a picture with us. We oblige and before heading off one of them gives us his business card and tells us to email him if we ever get bored. They were very nice guys and I told one of them that I would give him a shout out on my blog. So Keith, if you are reading this, I hope you enjoyed you ride through the Sierra. Be sure to check you snail mail, were going to send you post cards throughout our journey. :)

Once in our room we promptly dropped our packs and headed out for some beverages at the local Shell gas station. There just so happens to be a little Mexican food place next to the gas station and we couldn't pass up more food. We placed an order of nachos before stocking up on drinks. We ended up with water, Gatorade, Apple juice, 7-up, and Clamato. Back at the room we consumed everything, showered, and hit the sack. 



There are so many emotional ups and downs out here, it was nice to end on an up. 

One thing that I 'learned', if you will, is that I will probably never take water for granted again. In the 'cotton world' it is so easy to go to a faucet, water cooler, hose, convenient store, or wherever to get water. That isn't the case out here, especially in the desert. If we run out were are out. There is no faucet, water cooler, or convenient store to swing by to get more. It is something that I have never had to experience before and it is scary feeling. 













Bonking In The Desert - (5/27/2014)

620.7 + 2 mile walk from Willow Spring to mile 637
18.3 miles

In order to get back on the trail from Willow Spring, where we camped last night, we had to walk a 2 mile dirt road... uphill of course. 

We woke up early again this morning to try and beat the heat. I think it helps a little bit. We then walked the road to rejoin the PCT. Where the road and the trail met there was a picnic table and an information sign that had info on the Desert Tortoise. From that sign I learned that the Desert Tortoise is California's state reptile. Who knew.

As I mentioned in my last post, Mandie and I felt like this section of trail was our final test of the desert portion of the PCT. Like any final, it is the culmination of everything we have learned, and today's trail was no different. Today we had heat, big hills to ascend, deep sand, wind, water conservation, and poor nutrition. It truly put us to the test and it almost won.
Did I mention deep sand??? It was like walking on a beach all day. Ugh! I used to really love the desert but I think hiking for the last 640 miles in it has changed that. I am so ready for something else. 

Around mid-day, we were both dragging our feet from not eating or drinking much. There was supposed to be a water cache up the road a bit but we heard rumors that it was no longer being maintained.

As we sat under a tree in the shade we tried to figure out a game plan. We knew that there was a dirt road where the water cache was supposedly at, they had to drive the water in. We also knew that the dirt road led to a paved road with more traffic on it. So we came up with the following plan while drinking one of our liters of water... If there was water at the cache, we would drink lots of water and replenish our water supply, rest in the shade, and continue hiking when it got cooler. If there was no water at the cache then our plan was to bail out on the dirt road, and then try to hitch a ride into town. 

There was water at the cache. 

So, we did what a bunch of other hikers were doing, which was hiding out in the shade for a few hours and drinking water until it cooled down to continue hiking. There was a huge mountain that needed to be climbed just after the water cache and nobody wanted to do it in the mid-day sun. 

At 5:30 pm we got back on the trail and headed for this mountain. It was 2500 feet over 3 miles. We had had a little bit of food while we rested and we hoped it was enough to get us to the top. It was cooler anyway, which would help with the water situation. The trail to the top was fairly well graded and had lots of switchbacks to make it a little easier. By the time we got to the top, we were both out of energy and the sun was starting to set. We had to keep going in order to make tomorrow's hike easier, but we were both bonking hard. Fortunately, the trail on the other side of the mountain was nice hard-packed dirt which made traveling much easier. We were able to do another 3 miles and get to a camp spot just as it got dark. 


We set up the tent with the help of our headlamps on a hopefully not often used road. We split a packet of tuna on two tortillas for dinner and called it a night. We have another 15 miles to do tomorrow with almost no food but at least we will be in town. 

We aren't really sure how we messed up our last resupply so bad that we have so little food this week. Maybe we ate too much one day or miscounted the number of days we needed food for, but something was amiss. We will chalk it up to another lesson learned and try to do better next time. 



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Willow Spring - (5/26/2014)

Mile 602.3 to 620.7 + 1.6 mile alternate to Willow Spring
19.9 miles


We got an early start this morning in an effort to get a bunch of miles in before it got too hot. We slept amongst a half-dozen other hikers and were the first to break camp. 

It was another beautiful, crisp, and cool morning. We were treated to a trail that seemed to be more direct than usual, and it was shaded by a forest of pine trees. It was a perfect trail and a great morning to be out in nature. 

Six miles after starting we came to Landers Meadow CG. Both Mandie and I thought that it was a developed CG, where we would find tons of people celebrating Memorial Day weekend. With people comes food, and we thought that maybe we could yogi some food or drinks from them. The CG turned out to be the complete opposite of what we thought, there wasn't even a pit toilet or a trash can. Psssshh! There was a natural spring, and I suppose that was good enough. As we filtered our water the usual stuff happened, we ate, rested our feet, and other hikers showed up to do the same thing. 

The next section of the trail would be a dry stretch, it would be 14 miles before we would reach another water source. The first few miles of this section turned out to be beautiful. It was a burned out area that was recovering quite well. There was meadows of purple, yellow, and white flowers all around and the smell of grape, artificial grape flavor actually, was in the air and huge boulders dotted the mountain side. It was one of the prettiest parts of the trail we had been on thus far and got us all excited for the Sierra. 


Those beautiful meadows of flowers soon ended and we were back in the desert traversing the side of a mountain in the blazing hot sun. We would eventually reach the Kelso Road water cache. There was not only a huge supply of water there but there was also two ice chests full of soda and fruit drinks. It was a wonderful surprise and at just the right time. 



We found some shade under some Joshua Trees, drank a couple of sodas and headed off down the trail. It was early afternoon by now and the sun was blazing hot. We got a mile and a half down the trail and just couldn't take the heat anymore so we found another grove of trees to hide out in. We stayed there for an hour or two until it cooled down enough to go back out into the sun. 

I must say that even though it was hot, killing part of the afternoon laying in the shade, staring at the sky trying to find shapes in the clouds is not a bad way to spend the afternoon. 

I'm not sure if it had cooled down enough to get back on the trail or if we just got restless but we decided to head back out. We only had 2.5 miles to do before we would have to take a side trail to water, Willow Spring. Of course the better part of those 2.5 miles was uphill. 


We eventually hit the side 'trail', it was more like a wash, to the water source. The wash was pretty easy hiking until we came upon some boulders and then a couple of small dried up waterfalls that we had to traverse down. That section, the boulder hopping, reminded me a lot of hiking in the Anza Borrego Desert, especially to the Goat Canyon Trestle. Because of that, Mandie and I were comfortable with the terrain and cruised down it with ease.  

A short time later we arrived at the spring where we found a bunch of other hikers that had passed us throughout the day. While I got us water Mandie set up the tent. She had a difficult time getting a couple stakes into the ground, even breaking one, so we had to use our trekking poles to pitch the tent.

Our tent is set up to use trekking poles instead of stakes and this was our first time doing so. It was kind of awkward and I could think of better ways of attaching the trekking poles than how the manf. has done it. I only mention that because some readers have asked me about. 

We are low on food, so there wasn't much of a dinner tonight, just a tuna wrap. It is a beautiful, clear evening so we are leaving the tent vestibules open so we can stare at all the stars. 

Tomorrow we start our longest dry section yet, 30 miles without a natural water source. Wooo!!!


Another Long Dry Stretch - (5/25/2014)

Mile 588.1 to mile 602.3
14.1 miles

We were supposed to do a bunch more miles today but the hot weather, lots of uphills, and lack of water changed those plans. It was another hard, ass-kicking kinda day. 

When I woke up this morning I had one of those, 'Where am I moments.' It took me a second or two to figure out that I was in a tent doing the PCT. At least I slept or was sleeping, I for sure didn't want to get up though. I did, we got ready, and hit the trail. Soon after, we came across the cows that were making all the noise last night. I am not sure what all the ruckus was about but they all appeared to be in good health. I guess they just had a lot to say. 

It was around 8 am - 9 am and it was already warm out. Since we were still in the burn area there were no trees to offer us any shade. Thankfully the burn area wouldn't last much longer and the trail would eventually take us through fields of tall grass and oak trees. 

As we were hiking through one of these fields I was forced to stop short because there was a baby rattle snake laying in the trail. It seemed to be oblivious of us and the sticks we tossed at it, so I nudged it with my trekking pole and that woke it up. It slithered away as it shaked its rattler at us. 

A couple of minutes later we pulled over into another field to check out a bone that we saw laying there. It was part of a hip bone from a cow. As we stood there checking it out, Mandie looked up and across the trail and saw a huge rattle snake stretched out sun bathing. We got close enough to take a picture or two and let it be. We would like to think it was the mother of the baby we saw earlier. 

With that excitement out of the way we pressed on. It was getting hotter and hotter and the trail climbed a lot. We were exerting lots of energy and sweating profusely. As we climbed we would go from shady spot to shady spot, trying to cool our bodies down as much as we could. It helped, but there was still more miles to do. 

The trail would eventually take us through a lush, compared to the desert anyway, forest of Pine trees with fields of Miner's lettuce, Fennal, Wild Celery (I think), and lots of other plants that I don't know the name of, below. There was shade, lots of shade, and the ground was soft, covered in decomposing debris and pine needles. It was a teaser for the Sierra. 

The teaser eventually ran out and we were thrusted back out into the hot sun and arid landscape. It was time to ascend our first mountain pass, Hamp Williams Pass. We repeated the process from the other ascents, hiking from shady spot to shady spot. It was brutal, we were hot, hungry, and tired, and like yesterday neither one of us wanted to eat anything. I'm sure that just compounded the problems we were experiencing. 

Like yesterday, neither one of us were feeling especially well hiking in the heat, with little food and water. We were dizzy, had upset stomachs, and we both felt like passing out. I am sure that we both started the day in a deficit from the day before which was making today that much harder. We pressed on the best we could taking lots of breaks as we went. 

During one of our pushes up a mountain we crossed mile 600. Neither of us made much to-do about it; we were tired and just wanted to get to the water source that was a couple more miles away. 

With 1.8 miles left to go, Mandie had a great idea to fill up one of our water bottles from a bladder and make some electrolyte water. Both of us were experiencing the onset of cramping so I thought it was an excellent idea. Since I usually drink less water during the day, I offered to fill up the liter bottle from my bladder. I was only able to fill up half the bottle before my bladder went dry. I was shocked to see how much water I had drank during the day, almost 3 liters, and the bad part was that I think I only peed once. Anyway, we sat in the shade sharing the electrolyte water before making a final dash to the spring. 

We finally made it to Robin Spring and promptly downed a liter of water each. We then made the decision that we needed to camp here and drink as much water as we could so that we could rehydrate ourselves for tomorrow.

Luckily, tomorrow isn't as long of a dry section as the last two days have been but the day after is. After tomorrow, we have a 30 mile section without water. Even though we have looked at it on maps, we aren't quite sure how we are going to get through that yet. I'm sure we will figure it out tomorrow when we are about to leave our last water supply for that section. 

The desert is giving us a final test before we graduate to the big leagues, the Sierra. We will pass!






A Long Dry Stretch - (5/24/2014)

Mile 569.4 to mile 588.1
18.7 miles

Thank you Rita for the donation and advice. I replied to your comment via email, hopefully you got it. If not, let me know and I'll post it here. 

I replied to almost everyone's comments via email the other day, hopefully those were received as well. 

Today was a very hard day due to the fact that there wasn't a water source close to where we camped, it was 14 miles away. Usually when we dry camp, like we did last night, water is only a handful of miles away. We did not have as much water as we would have liked to do those 14 miles.

The morning was typical for the area, windy as heck. The Joshua Trees that I thought would offer us some wind protection did not help at all which made it a long night and I did not sleep well. Not much I could do about that, it just added to the difficult day. 

The morning part of the trail would have us climbing up and into the Tehachapi mountains. It wasn't very steep, because of all the switchbacks, but there was a lot of elevation to gain. The wind did not help with the hiking either. The wind always seems to hit us in the face, never a tail wind. There was one part of the trail where the wind seemed to whip around a canyon and hit us as we walked the ridge. We estimated that the wind was going 80 mph. It was crazy. 

Once we made it to the top, we stopped for a snack and rested our feet. The next section would be fairly level with some small up/down hills. As we were walking along we came across a Southbound section hiker named GoalTech. We introduced ourselves and he had heard of us from reading our blogs. Which, as you know, is way cool for us. GoalTech offered us some Trail Magic, which we declined and we went our separate ways. 

The trail would then link up with a road, MK10, if that means anything to anybody. We would follow this road down the mountain for around 4 miles. 

By now it was starting to get hot and we were rationing our water the best we could. Both of us were starving but neither of us wanted to eat anything because we knew it would make us more thirsty. The lack of water and food was starting to take its toll on both of us. We felt sick to our stomachs, dizzy, and wanted to pass out. It was not a fun time to be out on the trail. There wasn't much we could do other than sip the water that we had and push on. 

Eventually the road ended and the PCT picked back up. We were in another Wind Farm, which meant more wind. It was welcome this time as it helped to keep us cool in the hot mid-day sun. 

Based on how many miles per hour we hike, I figured that we wouldn't reach the water source until 3pm-ish. It was 12:45 pm and I figured we had close to 4 miles left. I checked our PCT app and it said that we only had 2.6 miles to go. I don't know how we made such good time but I was so happy to see how little we had to go. This put a little pep in my step and we cruised as fast as we could to the water. Of course it never is as close as you might think it is, that last half mile takes forever, and we were both very anxious to get there.

Finally we reached the water. We immediately dropped our packs and began filling our dirty bag with water from this teeny tiny trickle of a stream. We got the bag half way filled, called it good, and sat in the shade and began filtering and drinking the water as fast as we could. It was glorious. As we sat there refilling, filtering, and drinking a couple of hikers showed up and did the same thing. 

It was time to get back on the trail, our goal was to do another 4-5 miles before camping . Mandie and I each had 5 liters on us for the evening and for the next day. Another 15 mile dry section. We would be better prepared this time. 

As we hiked towards camp, we noticed that the mountains were starting to change. Instead of the gentle rolling hills that we had been hiking in for so long, they were turning into sharp, rocky mountains. The terrain is starting to change as we get closer and closer to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We are getting so excited. 

We are now camped atop a hill in a burned out section of the forest. It doesn't seem too windy and we hope it stays like that.  We just heard some weird sounds from a cow, we hope it is a cow and not a bear. We always seem to hear these weird sounds at night and it freaks us out.

I hope the cow is okay. 




Back From Bakersfield - (5/23/2014)

Mile 558.5 to mile 569.4
10.9 miles

Today is my dad's birthday. Happy birthday dad, I'm so happy you are able to celebrate it in good health. Love you. 

Yesterday there was no post because it was a zero day at Mandie's dad's house. It was a very relaxing day that started with us going in his jacuzzi and pool and ended with a wonderful steak dinner. We did laundry, resupplied for our next 6 days on the trail, watched movies, and was lazy as much as possible. 

The day before our zero I was thinking about all these random topics that I wanted to write about on our zero day but I never got around to writing a post that day. Below are a couple of random things I think about while hiking and then I'll get to today. 

Plants and Animals
Through most of Southern California we have had the pleasure of listening to a certain bird called the Mountain Chickadee. The Mountain Chickadee has several calls that sounds a lot like it is saying 'cheeseburger' and, 'double cheeseburger'. I haven't heard a Mountain Chickadee in a while and I kinda miss my friend. 

I know Mandie has written about this but there is a plant out there that smells an awful lot like French fries and ketchup. You might think it is our imagination but there are other hikers that have smelled it too. It's kinda cool. 

Food
One of the cool things about hiking this much is that we get to eat anything we want, and I mean anything, at any time with no guilt. Most of the binge eating only happens in town but we put away an impressive amount of food. Most of it isn't super healthy either, Mandie craves pizza a lot on the trail and I crave cheeseburgers but we also get to eat cookies and ice cream and you name it, with no guilt. (I can hear my mom, who is a super healthy eater gasping right now. Hi mom.) We do crave and eat fresh vegetables and fruit too, since we rarely get that on the trail. We burn up to 5000 calories a day so even with all the food that goes in, we still manage to lose weight. 

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Onto today:

Today was a pretty uneventful day as far as hiking goes. We got dropped off by Mandie's dad and his wife around 11:45 am. Our packs were über heavy with 6 days of food and 5 liters of water in it. This section has few water resupply points so we have to carry extra water. Lucky for us the trail and elevation gain was fairly gentle. Of course the wind and wind turbines were back; it wasn't quite as windy today as it has been though. 

Eight miles after starting, we crossed Hwy 58 and found a water cache. Since we had 5 liters we didn't need any water but still took the opportunity to take off our shoes and rest. The next part of the trail would be gaining a significant amount of elevation as we traverse the Tehachapi mountains. Because of this we decided to guzzle a liter of water, that we were carrying, to make our packs a couple of pounds lighter. Losing those two pounds helped so much. 

Back on our feet we started climbing up the mountain. There was a tent site a few miles away that we had planned on staying at. We arrived at said tent site and found that it was a very nice site. It was under several Joshua trees, was flat, and somewhat protected from the wind. It was perfect. 

With the tent up and us inside of it we had dinner, looked at each other's photos, and talked until it was time to blog. It was fairly uneventful day but that's okay. Those kinda days are good too. 

We have our sights set on the Sierra which we should be getting to in about 140 miles or around 9-10 days. We are so excited to get there and out of the desert. One day at a time though. 



Thursday, May 22, 2014

To Tehachapi And Beyond - (5/21/2014)

Mile 547.2 to mile 558.5
11.4 miles

Last night ended up being a very windy night which made for a long night. The tent held up great in the wind but we did have an issue with one of our trekking poles falling; we were using it for extra support. Turns out the extra support was important in keeping the tent from laying down on top of us. We fixed that and just rode out the rest of the night. 

The morning was just as windy but when the sun comes up everything seems to get just a little better, a little easier, a little less intimidating. We quickly packed up so that we could get on our way. Thoughts of a shower, real food, and a bed was our motivator. We said goodbye to Horizon and Backup, who had decided to camp next to us, and headed off up the hill. 

There was about 2 miles left until we crested over the top of this mountain but most of the elevation gain was done yesterday. We had amazing views of the desert floor and wind farm that we had previously traversed. The sky was filled with big puffy clouds and the air was chilly. It was a great morning to  be on the trail. 

At the top of the hill we came across a water cache that was supplied by Daniel and Larry. We aren't sure who Daniel and Larry are but we thank you. Mandie and I each grabbed a bottle of water and a chair and drank ourselves silly. It was strong water so it didn't take much. We then picked ourselves up and stumbled back onto the trail. 

The trail took us through a previously burned out area, from which fire I am not sure. As we hiked around the skeletons of burned out trees I imagined a fire racing through the area with the help of such strong winds. The firefighters must have had a battle on their hands.

It seemed like each time we decided to take a break to rest or eat something there was an obstacle in our way, either we were on the side of the mountain with no place to sit, ants crawling all over the flat areas, or there were strong winds. We just couldn't find a good spot, so we kept on hiking. 

Eleven miles on not much more than a Pop Tart makes us cranky hikers. Mandie did a bit of cryking and I cursed under my breath. We eventually made it to Tehachapi Willow Springs Road where we saw Coppertone, the Trail Angel who has root beer floats, waiting at the Trail Head. Again we were too early for the floats, maybe the third time will be a charm. 

After crossing the road and getting to a safe place to hitch, I held up our 'Hiker To Town' sign and the first truck that passed us pulled over. A nice man and his dog gave us a ride to Denny's in Tehachapi where we would meet Mandie's dad. We of course ate while we waited for him to arrive. He showed up with his wife Di and whisked us off to their home in Bakersfield. 

There we did our usual chores like showering and laundry. We watched a silly mindless movie and then they fed us an amazing salad with garlic bread, and fresh strawberries for dessert. It was a nice and relaxing evening that was much needed. 

I'm off to go sleep in a warm soft bed with real pillows! I am so excited. 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hikertown - (5/19/2014)

Mile 494.6ish to mile 526.6
32 miles (15 actual walking miles)

Somewhere along our road walk this morning we crossed the 500 mile marker. We have walked 500+ miles, crazy!

We did 6 more miles of road walking this morning to get to Hikertown. All this road walking has been because of the Powerhouse Fire closing the actual PCT trail. Roads are a bit more direct and taking them has cut a bunch of PCT miles off, which is what the mileage at the top of each blog post is based on. We didn't actually do 32 miles today but based on where we think we were on the road and where we got back onto the trail it's what the numbers turn out to be. 

Hikertown is an interesting place to say the least. It is situated in the Lancaste/Mojave area basically in the middle of nowhere. When you walk up the driveway to the gate your eyes immediately go to the row of old western style buildings. There is a building for the Post Office, a Saloon, Jail, General Store, etc... I guess the person that owns Hikertown used to be in the Motion Picture business and that is where these building props came from. 

There are several dogs running around on the property including a new mother who just gave birth to a whole grip of puppies. They are so cute. There are chickens and roosters walking around as well as some llamas out back. 

We stopped by the PO on our way by to pick up a resupply box we had shipped there. I think the PO builing is the only building that is what it says it is on the outside. From there we made our way over to the Hiker Lounge which is a fancy way to say garage. Inside of the garage there were several couches and Lazy Boy chairs, a kitchen that was accessible by hopping over a couch and a bathroom. Out back there was laundry facility and some trailers which I think the groundskeeper lived in. 

It was a very interesting place. 

We got comfortable on a couch in the back and immediately started charging our devices, things were either dead or soon to be dead. We then started talking with Detour and Lap Dog, the two German ladies. They had walked the entire road walk the night before and didn't get there until 10 pm. Homegirl was also there and was just about to jump into the shower. 

As we sat there chatting we learned of a store a few miles down the road.  We could call the store and somebody would come over and pick us up. How cool is that! We called and made arrangements to be picked up around lunch time. 

When John, the store owner showed up, he drove us around town a bit, showing us where the trail went, before taking us to the store. The store was your typical convenient store that also had a grill.  We all ordered burgers and ate chips and drank sodas while we waited for them to be ready. For convenient store burgers, they were pretty good. John then drove us back to Hikertown. I'm sure us hikers are good for business so he doesn't mind picking us up. 

Now that we had eaten, everyone started packing up and getting ready to head back out to the trail. Mandie and I were waiting on a second package to be delivered so we weren't getting ready just yet. The Postman came and went and there was no package. I went online and Amazon said that the package would be delivered tomorrow. Bummer. The package was a second phone charging cable so it wasn't über important that we get it. I spoke to the groundskeeper and they weren't willing to reject the package so we just told him to keep it. He then found some other iPhone charging cable and gave us that on in exchange for the one that would arrive tomorrow. Score! I love when things work out like that. Mandie and I could now pack up and leave, which we did. 

This part of the trail would take us along the LA Aqueduct. We would walk along it while it was above water and walk on it when it went below water. I believe the LA Aqueduct diverts water from the Colorado river and diverts it to LA. It was a pretty cool sight to see and walking atop a huge metal pipe, that was partially burried, was neat until the novelty wore off. After that we just walked on the dirt road that was beside it. 

The pipe eventually goes completely underground but we still followed its path through desert farm land. They farm sheep out here and I know that because a I saw a huge herd of sheep, I would say in the thousands, crossed our path. We stopped to take pictures and video of them as we baaa'd back and forth with them. It was the highlight of our day. 

Now we are stealth camped along side of the Aqueduct somewhere in the middle of the Mojave desert. It is a cool night with a slight breeze crossing over our tent. The plan for tomorrow is to get up a little earlier so we can get some more miles in before it heats up. 

Baaaa bye

This Section Blows - (5/20/2014)

Mile 526.6 to mile 547.2
20.6 miles

We woke up earlier than normal to a beautiful desert morning. There were lots of clouds in the sky and a orange glow to everything. It was cool and crisp with a slight breeze. 

We were on the trail, or should I say Aqueduct, around 6:45 am. It was an uneventful morning walk other than seeing several hikers in front of us and in back of us. I think we have officially been swallowed up by the 'herd' because there seems to be a lot of people around us these days. 

After 7 miles, we hit a water cache. Lap Dog, Detour, and Homegirl were already there drinking, eating, and refilling water bottles. We stopped to do the same since we heard the next water source, 6 miles away, was very silty. The next water source would be close to 20 miles from there so we would need to carry lots of water. 

The trail then took us through a wind farm and what comes with a wind farm? Wind! We love the wind. It was neat to walk near the huge wind turbines and listen to the propellers 'woosh' as they spun around. As we walked along we would leapfrog with the German girls, Homegirl, Horizon, and Backup. There was one other guy in that group but I don't remember his name. I'll update the blog when I remember. 

As the wind farm ended and we started to enter the Tehachapi mountains we had hoped that the wind would also stop. That wasn't the case and we had to fight the wind every step of the way today. 

By 3 pm we had done 18 miles which is really good for us. We had planned on camping at the 18 mile marker but the wind and the weather changed our minds. There was no place to get out of the wind other than pitching our tent in a wash. We didn't want to pitch our tent in a wash because it looked like it was going to rain and the forecast called for a 20% chance. We sat in the wash for a while trying to decided if we wanted to go on further or take our chances with the rain. We finally decided to get up and hike further and take our chances that there would be a better spot further up the trail. 

So we climbed and climbed our way up and along the side of the mountains, getting wind whipped along the way. When you are on the side of a mountain there aren't many flat spots to pitch a tent. A couple miles later we came to a ridge line that was wide enough and flat enough for us to pitch our tent. As we were setting up our tent it started to sprinkle but I think/hope that is the last of the rain. 

We had a yummy dinner of tuna and tortillas and are now curled up in our sleeping bags getting wind whipped by the tent. It is really cold and windy up here and I think we are in for a long night. 

Tomorrow we have 11 miles to do before we get to Tehachapi via Willow Springs Road. There Mandie's dad will pick us up, he lives in the area, and take us to his place where we will have a Zero. We haven't Zero'd since Big Bear, some 300 miles ago, so we are looking forward to it. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rock Inn The Road - (5/18/2014)

Mile 474.6 to mile 494.6ish
20 miles

We aren't exactly sure of our mileage today since our app doesn't measure non-PCT miles but 20 miles is what we estimate our day being. 

Today was a big road walk day for us and those are never very good for the feet. We had a 4 mile hike on the trail from where we camped to San Francisquito Valley Road. The hike to the road was pretty uneventful, just the usual up and over a mountain kinda stuff. 

There is a Ranger/Fire Staion just a little bit down the road from where the PCT crosses the road, we stopped there to fill up on water and have a bite to eat. There was a couple of other hikers there already, Lap Dog and Detour. They are very nice German ladies who I have started to teach me some German. So far all I know is 'Good Morning' and 'Good Day'. 

From the Ranger/Fire Station is where our 20 mile road walk would start. We would walk San Fracisquito Valley Road until it turned into Elizabeth Lake Road. Elizabeth Lake is not a very pretty lake but it was nice enough to have a picnic area with pit toilets which we more more than happy to see. There aren't many place to go to the bathroom on the side of the road. In the Lake Hughs area, Elizabeth Lake Road would turn into Pine Canyon Road. We happened to come across a biker bar/burger joint in Lake Hughes' called Rock Inn. It isn't the type of place we would usually go into but they had food so we risked it. :) It turned out to be a nicer place than we thought it would be. We got their special, which was a Western Bacon Cheeseburger. It was huge, messy, and delicious. On our way out of town we stopped off at Papa's Grocery Store for some ice cream, which makes any road walk better. 

Along the road we would pass many farms and ranches and would usually get greeted at the property fence by several barking dogs. The ranches would offer us views of horses, goats, chickens, llamas, pigs, and even some wolves. Mandie would take every opportunity she could to pet the horses and dogs. 

As I mentioned road walking is very tough on the feet for whatever reason. Towards the end of the day we were hobbling along the side of the road taking breaks in any shady spot we would come across. We eventually caught up to Homegirl who was also having foot issues. The three of us would walk a few more miles before finding a flat area off the side of the road to set up our tents on. 

We are now dry camping and are very very thirsty with little water with us. Not much I can so about it so we will just have to be thirsty until tomorrow when we get to Hikertown



Under The Manzanita - Day 46 (5/17/2014)

Day 46
Mile 458.7 to mile 474.6
15.9 miles

Today was quite a day, I am exhausted.

We had planned on getting up early again this morning, although not as early as the morning before, but just couldn't do it. We were so tired from the day before that the snooze button was too inviting and we paid for it by hiking in the heat of the day. 

It was a great morning, the temperature was nice and cool, even with the sun up. From camp we immediately started climbing, a 1,500+ foot elevation gain over 4ish miles. It was a lovely way to start the day and it certainly got the muscles warmed up. 

As we were climbing the mountain we came across spots of natures air conditioning. When we would walk into a canyon and approach the deepest part, the apex if you will, we could feel the cold air rushing down the mountain. Because, ya know, cold air falls. It was wonderfully cool and it is where we would choose to take most of our breathers. 

When we reached the top of the mountain we were greeted by a snake that I almost stepped on. I'm not sure why I never see a snake until I am on top of it but that's what seems to happen. The snake was a new one for us, and the best way I can describe it is... It was worm shaped, meaning the head tapered and it had a thick body with a skinny tail. It was whiteish yellow with black bands around it. It also shook its tail similar to a rattler but this wasn't a rattler. I do have a picture. 

After that we headed down the other side of the mountain hitting a natural spring on the way down. As we were filling up our water bottles a couple of mountain bikers came along. Mountain bikers are not allowed on the PCT so Mandie stopped them and said something. They replied by saying that this part of the PCT was also part of a secondary trail where mountain bikers are allowed. We are not sure about this and will have to do some investigation to be sure. We let the air our of their car tires just in case we are right. I'm totally kidding. 

Once we were down the mountain we came across a water cache placed there by the Anderson's, another big-time Trail Angel. We didn't need any water but we did need some shade as it was starting to heat up. We sat there for a while talking with other hikers including two young hikers named Daryl and Dana (I think) who were very nice. They had backpacks the size of school backpacks so we picked their brains for a while on how they wittled their gear down so much. They were fun to talk with. 

It was now time to leave the the shade and head out into the heat. We would be heading up our second mountain for the day, this one a little shorter in elevation and mileage than the first one. As we hiked on it got hotter and hotter and there was absolutely no shade, both sides of the trail was lined with not so tall Manzanita bushes and other shrubs. That and it was noon so the sun was directly over us, casting no shadows. 

We pushed on and on until Mandie couldn't take it any more. We sat down along the side of the trail in the smallest bit of shade. I poured some of my water over her head and also onto a bandana to put around her neck to help cool her down. As she sat there trying to compose herself, I went up the trail a little bit to see if I could find us some more shade. There was nothing. I checked our PCT phone app to see if anything was coming up and there happened to be a tent site in three tenths of a mile. There was nothing promising shade but it was worth a shot so we headed off to it. 

When we got to the tent site there was pretty much nothing there except for a flat spot, some Creasote bush, and this one large Manzanita bush. The Manzanita bush was large enough to be casting a shadow on the ground and large enough for us to crawl under it and lay partially in its shade, so that's what we did. To create a little more shade we took out our tent's ground cloth, a Tyvek sheet, and weaved it through the branches of the bush. It helped some but not as much as we would have liked. 

We laid under this tree for about an hour not doing much of anything. As we laid there the day just got hotter and hotter. It eventually got to a point where a little bit of panic or anxiety started to set in. I so wanted to be in a cool place and drink something something cold and there was absolutely no place I could do that. Usually there is some place I could go to cool down but not now. It was a little freaky and I just had to calm myself down and redirect my thoughts. 

A couple of hikers walked passed us as we laid there and it gave us the inspiration we needed to get up and get out of there. The sun was moving and we were losing our shade. We put our clothes back on and packed up and headed up the hill again. We lucked out and a breeze picked up and really helped cool us down as we hiked. It was our saving grace. 

Once at the top we of course went back down the other side. This side of the mountain had some different vegetation on it and we actually had some sections of shade provided by Oak Trees. It made the descent so much more enjoyable. Three and a half miles later we would come across another bit of Trail Magic, also supplied by the Andersons. It was the Hikers Oasis Cache. In this little grove of Scrub Oak they had set up lawn chairs, a cooler filled with beer and soda, many 5-gal jugs of water and other little decorations to spiff up the place. We immediately dropped our packs and grabbed a couple of cold sodas from the cooler and grabbed a seat. I don't think I have ever drank a soda so fast in my life. I was so thirsty and all I had on me was really warm water which wasn't refreshing at all. Other hikers showed up as we sat there and we all enjoyed the shade and much needed beverages. 

Before leaving to find a dry place to camp we filled up all of our water bottles and bladders. The next place it looked like we could camp was 3.5 miles away. What was between the cache and our camp, another mountain to climb. This one wasn't as had as the first two but we were already so exhausted and done being out in the sun. There was nothing we could do about it so we pushed on, slowly. 

We are now camped with about 4 other hikers, the most we have had to camp with thus far. The spot we picked happens to be the access point to the other tent sites so everybody walks through our site when they come and go. Next time we will have to be cognizant of that and pick a better site. 




Friday, May 16, 2014

Killing Me Saufley - Day 45 (5/16)

Day 45
Mile 444.3 to mile 458.7
14.4 miles

Well we did it. We were up at 3:30a and on the trail by 4:20a. It wasn't easy but it was necessary to beat the heat. 

While we were getting ready this morning we had several different encounters with animals. For starters, we saw several coyotes cruising through our lawn/camping area. Then we heard the sounds of lions making their noises, I call it chuffing. I'm not even sure if 'chuffing' is a word let alone the right word but it sounds good to me. I guess there is a zoo near the KOA. The third animal encounter, if you can call it that, was by the cats and dogs in the tent next to us. There was a husband and wife camped next to us with seven animals, five dogs and two cats, all crammed into a not so big tent. To make it even worse there were litter boxes and cat carriers in the tent too. Even now, thinking about those animals in that tent makes me cringe and I really wanted to call animal control on them. The couple said that they were waiting for their house to go through escrow, which should happen in a couple of weeks. In my opinion that is way to long for those animals to be couped up in a tent. 

Anyway, by 4:20a the three of us, Far Out included, were on the trail huffing it up the hill by headlamp. Even at that hour it still felt muggy and hot out but not nearly as hot as it was going to be. Soon enough the sun had risen enough for us to turn off the headlamps and enjoy the trail using the soft glow of the morning sun. It was a beautiful time to hike. Everything was waking up, birds started singing, flowers opening up, etc...

By the seventh mile Mandie and I needed a break, Far Out was already long gone. So we stopped for a short break on the side of the trail to take care of some morning duties and have a bite to eat. The Snickers bar we ate before hitting the trail had been burned up long ago. 

A mile or so later we entered the Vasquez Rocks National Area. This area is home to huge rock formations that are all at like a 45 degree angle. It is a really neat area and I think they used to film episodes of Star Trek out there but I'm not 100% sure about that. The trail through Vasquez Rocks was a nature trail with lots of signs naming different shrubs and trees in the area. We enjoyed that part of the trail the most. 

When we got to the Vasquez Rocks trailhead, I guess we went through the area from back to front, Far Out was waiting there for us. He has been having some stomach related issues and needed to rest for a bit. The three of us would then walked the final 1.5 miles into Agua Dulce. 

When we arrived in Agua Dulce, Mandie and I made a b-line to the local cafe for coffee and food while Far Out continued on to the Saufley's for more rest. We had an amazing breakfast which included a fruit plate and banana bread French toast before heading over to the grocery store to buy supplies for our next section. 

With heavy bags on our backs we made the mile road walk over to the Saufley's. Upon entering the Saufley's property we were immediately greeted by a gorgeous horse in its coral. We said hello and gave it a pet before moving on to the main area. The main area is a nice sized piece of land that is home to several motorhomes, a trailer home, several huge netted tents filled with cots, and of course the Saufley's home. In their garage there are metal racks filled with USPS hiker boxes, washer and driers, and huge informational boards. There are showers, phone charging stations, and computers for hikers to use. It is a very impressive place and they run it very smoothly. They really would prefer that hikers take a full Zero there and were a little upset that we weren't going to do that. It was a tough decision not to stay but we really needed to get back on the trail and continue making miles. 

Mandie and I spent the afternoon backing up pictures off of our phones and mailing those DVDs home, checking email, talking with other hikers, playing with all of the Saufley's dogs, and just staying out of the sun. 

I would like to mention that I got a wonderful email from my dad today. He went on and on about how happy he is for me that I am doing this and how it has inspired him to go after some of his dreams. That it is never too late to get out there and try. It was really wonderful to read those words of support from him. Thanks dad. I love you. 

Around 5p we got a ride back into town from one of the Saufley's volunteers. We had some dinner with Far Out and a couple other hikers and got back on the trail. Far Out went back to the Saufley's to continue resting his bottom. :)

We are now camped in the middle of nowhere getting freaked out by all the animal noises that we are hearing. We think most of the noises are coyotes but there could be larger things out there. I'm sure our minds are building up these noises. We will be fine, I hope. 

Just a little side note here. The subject matter of a lot of conversation that we have been having with other hikers is pretty funny and gross. Most of those conversations revolve around what goes into our bodies, what comes out of our bodies, or what is happening to our bodies. I think that we are all going through the same thing which makes it is easier to talk about those problems. Also, I think we all have to rely on each other for help and support since there is nobody else out here. I think it is pretty neat to be that open with people I have just met.




Kicking It At The KOA - Day 44 (5/15)

Day 44
Mile 440.3 to mile 444.3
4 miles

Today was a glorious short day on the trail today. A much needed short mileage day that was planned, not caused by an injury or anything like that. 

We started out as early as we could because we knew it was going to be a hot day. Even at 7a the sun was already blistering hot but as I mentioned we only had 4 miles to put up with it. 

The trail started to climb right out of camp but only ascended for a short time before we started to drop again. It would go up and down a couple more times before we would make our final decent to Soledad Canyon Road. Just before reaching the road we came across some Trail Magic. Coppertone was waiting in the trailhead parking lot with cookies and bananas. He usually has Root Beer Floats but we were too early for those. Maybe next time. 

Around 930a we entered the KOA and had to wait for them to open before we could register for a camp spot and get some food. While we waited we took the opportunity to dunk our heads in their sprinklers. They finally opened, we registered and picked up some snacks and drinks. Soon after, we hit the showers and did some laundry. 

As we laid about on the grass Far Out finally showed up and joined us. He basically repeated our process of snacks, laundry, and showers. We the ordered some food from a local pizza place that delivered to the KOA. Somebody would be bringing us food, how lucky are we!

Throughout the afternoon the KOA would fill up with hikers. All of us setting up to get to the Saufley's tomorrow. The Saufley's are a major Trail Angel, who can accommodate something like 50 hikers at a time. Our plan is to swing by there tomorrow to pick up a couple of boxes, resupply in Agua Dulce, and then get out of town and back on the trail. 

The sun is setting now, the temperature is dropping and the bugs have come out. We are planning on leaving here around 4a to beat the heat during our 10 miles to Agua Dulce. We will see if that happens.