Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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.