Tehachapi to Lone Pine 5/23 -5/31

We left Tehachapi and hiked the first few days through what seemed like a never ending wind farm and the last part of the desert.

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How I felt after that climb

It was super hot and pretty difficult at times having to ration my water. Throughout  the southern California section constantly had to play the water rationing game of how much water do I want to carry and then how much water can I drink now and still have enough to make it to the next source. For us it was no more than 20 miles which was tough but not as hard as those with out caches who had to go 42 miles. I felt bad for them and shared what extra we had but also very impressed with thoes who did it.

The water caches we made plus some trail magic from Chief (a 2013 thru-hiker) and his wife were a godsend and really turn a difficult section into something special.

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Chief's trail magic offering sodas, beer and fresh fruit.

As we climbed higher and slowly out of the desert the views and scenery became more enjoyable with pine trees replacing windmills and soft green grass replacing sage brush and the best part….rivers. Not a little stream or creek or tiny little spring but rivers with flowing water. It was so nice to see and so hard to leave.

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We also passed the 600 and 700 mile markers.

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The 700 being the most memorable. At mile marker 702 is the Kennedy Meadows general store and since the late 60’s it has been a tradition for everyone there to clap and cheer each hikers arrival. It totally took me by surprise to here everyone clapping and shouting my name. This happens every 10-15 minutes as hikers come in throughout the day and then the celibration continues into the evening as everyone celibrates accomplishing 700 miles and getting the heck out of the desert.

The two best parts was when the Ravens (a family of 4 with a 13 year old boy and a 9 year old girl) showed up. Everyone was anticipating thier arrival and when the did the place when off the hook. With everyone cheering and clapping for what seamed like forever. Little Bear made thier arrival extra special by walking ice cold sodas out to them as the came up the drive way.

The other great part was being there on a Friday and finding out that they do a happy hour special of half off all drinks and a chilly dog dinner.

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We spent two more days on the trail after leaving Kennedy Meadows arriving to a campground near Lone Pine and getting a hitch into town from a guy who looked like he could have stared in Lonesome Dove. He had just dropped of a horse trailer full of stock mules at the pass and was heading back to his ranch.

Even though we had been hiking up hill for the past week I hadn’t  realists how high we were untill we stated down to Lone Pine in the Valley.

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Looking up at mountains from the campgrounds where we got our hitch.

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On the way down.

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Looking up at the peaks from the hotel room.

Lone Pine lies down in a valley 6000 feet lower and about 30 degrees hotter than we were hiking at. Elevation makes such a difference, it’s nice down here with all the amenities of a town but I can’t wait to get back in the mountains. We are spending a few days here to resupply and and rest up before we hitch back to the trail and attempt to summit Mt. Whitney. WOOP WOOP!

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Tehachapi and quad running May 21st and 22nd

We made it to Tehachapi around noon on the 21st and hitched a ride into town with a trail angle named Jett Blue. She dropped us off at the post office where we picked up our packages containing new shoes and a few snacks.

Like in all trail towns this time of year you all ways run into hikers you know. We took some time to catch up with Ego, Scotland and Ninja who we did a few days of hiking with and shared a hotel room with back in Wrightwood.

After the post office we got a room at the Holiday Inn and called up Enterprise and rented a car for the day….

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or…. in our eye a bad ass supped up 4×4.

North of Tehachapi is the driest stretch of the PCT making it one of the most difficult sections. The longest stretch with out water for most hikers is 42 miles or two days. I say “most hikers” because we decided to make it easy on ourselves and stash water every 10 miles or so, which worked out to 5 different water caches.

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Sharing the goods...

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The makings of a desert luau.

The road was gated and locked shut at our second planned cache and before we made it to the 4th cache site the road became impassable even for this monster  4×4.

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How do you prevent being high centered?....You move remove the rock.

Little Bear handled the driving, I navigated and our two european friends Cat and Headquarters handled the documentation. Check out Cat’s blog and post here.

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We and the car made it back in one piece and we resupplied at a local grocery store where a few more shenanigans were had….

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And then after taking our “quad” through an automatic car wash I returned it in tip top shape and had the attendant drop me off at the AT&T store where I picked up a new phone. I settled for a Galixy Note 4 with a 18 day standby battery life. Far far better than the I Phone.

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Action to Tehachapi, Siri goes CRAZY 5/16 – 5/20

I had to get a new phone in Tehachapi and lost all the posts I had saved on my I phone. Wahhh Wahhh wah.  Iphones are notorious for short battery life and out in the middle of the woods the issue becomes even more apparent. On top of the battery problem Siri decided to go crazy on me and the phone as a whole more or less stopped working so it was off to the store for me and back to the factory for Siri.  I guess it was for the best as I was having a had time finding enough time and focus to write a post every day and I think i will go back to writing a post every week or so.

Between Acton and Tehachapi there was a lot of walking through the desert, at one point the only water source for miles was the LA aqueduct. A giant system of pipes and man made rivers feeding water into Los Angeles.

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The trail also winds through wind farms where giant wind turbines, some installed in the 1990’s, send thousands of kilowatts per day to Los Angeles.

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Some people don’t like the wind farms because they harm the land and destroy the scenery giving the mountains a very industrial look. And even though I work in the oil industry I’d much rather see these than oil derricks pumping out our natural resources.

Roughly three days after leaving the Acton KOA campground I passed the 500 mile mark. Woop woop! Another milestone in the books.

>font color=”#000000″>Little Bear, myself and most of the other hikers made a stop at the Anderson’s and a place called Hiker Town for some R&B.

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The Anderson’s is a pretty awesome place. At first i wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. Places like this have a way of sucking you in and some hikers have been know to stay for weeks. But after arriving and getting settled in I was glad I was there. The Anderson’s have been hosting hikers at their house for 12 years offering them showers, laundry and the best taco salad dinner ever. And to top it all off they make coffee and pancakes every morning before shuttling hiker back to the trailhead.

Its a lot of work hosting hikers, especially the number off hikers on the trail this year, the prediction is around 2000. We are a wild bunch of people from all types and when enough of us get together some pretty hilarious shenanigans can happen but Mrs. Anderson always gets the last laugh. Before she start shuttling hikers she gathers everyone together for a group picture and then just as the picture is taken she moons the while crowd. I guess we deserved it.

Hiker Town is a pretty cool place too. The fella there has set up his two car garage as a lounge complete with a kitchen, bathroom and plenty of soft couches and recliners for us to relax in. Throughout years he has slowly added various different sheds arranging and decorating them into his own little village that hikers can rent out for the night. Check it out and see more pictures at www.Hikertown.com

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Trail Angles Day 23-26 5/6-5/9

Over the next four days we varyed our mileage depending on the terrain, pack weight and water sources  but in the end we really didn’t feel any differently by the time we made it to Wrightwood. 

We did however feel pretty good about creating out own trail magic.

Little Bear hiked in a bunch of cookies and decorated a tree with them for the hikers behind us.

 

And I hiked in a entire bag of mandarins to hand out to hikers along the way. You wouldn’t believe how excited people get about fresh fruit out here.

   

We also found the official PCT Mcdonalds….or at least there was an official sign for it. The French fries were even better than they usually are.

 
A few days before we made it to Wrightwood we ran into a bit of rain but just a bit as most of the precipitation was dumped in the mountains above us as snow. We camped at a lake and watched it snow in the mountains.

   
 

We made it to Wrightwood about 6:30 on the 9th and got a ride into town from some really nice folks Peter and Evette who postponed their evening hike to give us a ride. It amazes me and I am extremely thankful for all of the trail angels.

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Day 22 (5/5)

I wish every trail town had a hotel like this. I know going on and on about it but boy was it nice. 

  

It was also very hard to leave and between stuffing our faces with the best complimentary breakfast ever, waiting on a cab ride and then waiting again for little bear to hitch back to town to retrieve the treking poles he left at the hotel…..oh boy….we got a late start and didn’t bit the trail until after noon.

  
Our legs were well rested and I had come up with a slightly different hiking strategy which I hoped would be or at least feel easier so leaving late wasn’t that big of a deal.

In the past we had been hiking 20 miles a day regardless of pack weight or elevation gain….made for some long days….. This time we would try reducing our daily mileage in the beginning when our packs are the heaviest and the increase the mileage when our packs are lighter or the terrain flat. All in all we would still get to Wrightwood on the same day and over the next few days our mileage would vary from 15 to 25 and hopefully help us not to feel so beaten down along the way.

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Day 20 – 21 (5/3 – 5/4)

Yesterday on the 3rd we hitch into Big Bear City around 9:30 am and got a room at the local Best Western.  It is by far the nicest Best Western I have ever stayed in and probably ever will. The offical name is the Best Western Big Bear Chateau and its super fancy. Way too fancy for a bunch of hiker trash. We all felt very out of place and wondered if we would even be given a room. Turns out people are super nice around here and the manager even let us check in to our room at 9:30 so we could shower and clean up a bit before we did our shoping. So greatfull for that as we hadn’t showerd in 5 days.

 

FANCY!

 
The weather report showed an 80% chance of thunderstorms today and our legs were still pretty sore so we decided to stay an extra day in town and another night of soaking in the hot tub.

 

Feels oh so good!

 
Funny thing is that the thunder storm never came and infact as I write this it is a beautiful sunny but cool day, a great day to be hiking but I guess the universe knows best and used the threat of thunder and lightning to keep us here resting up for the next 5 day 100 mile push to Wrightwood.

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Day 17 – 19 (4/30 – 5/2)

Last night we were so tired we didn’t even set up tents we and a hand full of other people just cowboy camped and quickly fell to sleep as we were intending to hike another 20 miles today.  We left camp at 7:00 am and by the time we made it to the house of trail angles Ziggy and Bear at 9:30 it was already blazing hot and we were pouring sweat. Ohhh this day was not going to be fun.

Ziggy and Bear are a retired couple in their late 70’s who bought a house right next to the PCT with the sole purpose of hosting hikers. And on this day they were a godsend. After washing up and signing their register they give you a ice cold Gateraide and tell you to sit back, relax and stay as long as you need to. The also have showers, restroom, and will organize and pick up pizza orders for everyone. They do most of this on a donation bases and for the sole enjoyment of helping someone out.


Almost everyone ordered a pizza and Little Bear and I paid $12 for two pizzas each. One to eat know and one to eat on the trail. And let me tell you 12 hour old pizza stuffed into a backpack is just as good as when it came out of the oven….if not better.



The time at Ziggy and Bear’s allowed us to rethink our hiking strategy for getting threw the next 60 miles of desert and the three of us decided to it would be best to night hike the rest of the way to Big Bear City.


It was much cooler and we only needed to carry about a third of the water we would have needed during the day which greatly lighted our packs and we made good time arriving at the Interstate 18 trailhead at about 2:00 am on the 2nd. We pitched camp and slept until the morning when we could hitch a ride into town.

Hiking at night was good in that our packs were lighter and we avoided the scorching heat but it greatly lacks in scenery as the only thing you can see is the few feet that your head light illuminates which makes for a very monotonous hike.

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