June 3, 2015 (7th Re-Ration – Tehachapi)
Tentsite past wind farm (540.3) to Willow Springs Road-Tehachapi (558.5)
18.2 PCT miles today
571.5 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,329 ft, – 3,500 ft
Another incredibly windy day. I have to be honest, Pickles and I are not thrilled with this section of the trail. If we hadn’t had Mama Bear to look forward to while we hiked through the Mojave, I’m not sure we would make it through. Also, knowing that Kennedy Meadows is less than a week away gives us just enough hope to keep our feet moving.
We slept in this morning after last night’s exhausting and late night-hike and didn’t get on trail until after 9am. We were pleasantly surprised to run into some new, and very friendly, hikers today along with a friend of ours from what feels like forever ago (but couldn’t have been more than a few weeks), Border Patrol (aka BoPo). The hiking was hard. I know I keep saying that, but I want to be honest and there’s no use sugar coating our experience. The first half of the day we just climbed through the desert, weaving up and around multiple different mountains until we had finally climbed to the very top. There was a great little water cache at the peak so we sat in chairs and enjoyed our lunch in the company of some new friends, including Pink Panther, Key Lime, Erin, Matt, and Felix. Eventually we had to move on, but at least the rest of the day was downhill; we dropped all the way back to the valley floor, this time on the north side of the mountain range. The wind kicked back up in the afternoon, especially as we neared another wind farm and hundreds of noisy, imposing windmills.
We had heard word that trail angel Coppertone was waiting at Willow Springs Road (the first exit from the trail for Tehachapi) with root beer floats, so we found ourselves slipping into a sort of trot/jog for much of the way down the trail. We finally got in around 5pm, enjoyed Coppertone’s kindness once again (we had run into him at the Acton KOA as well), and then hopped in Mama Bear’s car and headed for town.
Tonight we’re camped at Tehachapi’s airport, which is actually quite convenient for hikers. After a half-shower and some dinner, Pickles and I are feeling ready to attempt 6 24-mile days from here to Kennedy Meadows. They may not be pretty, and we’re quite sure we aren’t helping our bodies to heal right now, but we have to get out of the desert, so we’ll face whatever lies ahead in order to make that happen.