Day 39 & 40 – A double nero in Tehachapi
Thursday 6 June 2019
Location: Mile 558.5 to Mile 559
Distance travelled: 0.5 miles / 1km
I had planned to wake up early this morning, hike 8 miles to Highway 58 and then get a bus into Tehachapi for a zero or two. Unfortunately the morning buses didn’t line up for me and because I’d booked a hotel room in town for the night I didn’t want to wait around for the afternoon bus. I wanted to check in early and make the most of the hotel room. So I waked just under a mile to the Willow Springs trailhead where I hitched into town.
A lovely gentleman named Wayne gave me a ride into town. He was on his way to the city to file a case about receiving a medal for his service in the airforce. He had initially driven past but when he noticed I was on my own doubled back to give me a ride. He is a local in the area, with a plot of land where he lives off the grid. He was already aware of the trail and has picked up several hikers in his time.
The trip into town was about 15 minutes. After stopping for petrol Wayne dropped me off at the hotel and bid me farewell. I promised I’d send him a photo from the finishing monument.
It was still very early, way too early to check into the hotel but I went in anyway so I could leave my bag with reception while I went to the local bakery to get something to eat. The hotel had a huge hikerbox which was overflowing with quality pickings. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t rifling through someone’s resupply box so I asked the receptionist if that was the hiker box. She looked at it with exhaustion ‘oh there is more stuff’. It was a mess, overflowing onto the floor. ‘Yeah, looks like it could do with consolidating’, I said. She asked me If I would mind sorting through it for her. ‘I would LOVE to’ I replied. Not only do I love sorting, organising and getting rid of rubbish but it would also let me thoroughly look through everything in the boxes. I threw out 3 bags full of rubbish, collected an arm full of good stuff for myself and organised the boxes into 3, gear, food and hygiene. I felt so satisfied.
The lovely receptionist, for ‘helping her’ then gave me an upgrade and let me check into my room early. It was as if all of my Christmases had come at once.
I spent the day doing the usual town things of eating, washing and resupplying. I checked out the local bakery for a sandwich and cinnamon bun and had my first Dunkin’ Donut.
I satisfyingly sorted through my pack to strip out all of the cold climate gear I could send through to Kennedy Meadows to cut down my pack weight for a little while including my microspikes and some extra food I was carrying. I made the most of my hotel room, spent the night eating and watching movies in bed. It was pure bliss!
Friday 7 June 2019
Location: Mile 559 to Mile 562.5
Distance travelled: 3.5 miles / 6 km
It felt like I was sleeping on a cloud last night in the comfy hotel bed with pillows that were incredibly the right level of soft and firm. The only thing getting me out of the bed was the complimentary breakfast with eggs, English muffins, muffins, bagels, waffles, cereal, yoghurt and most importantly coffee. I did my best at trying some of everything before conceding defeat and heading back to the room to digest, pack and catch up on blog writing while fitting in one last movie. Check out wasn’t until 12 so I took my time.
Once I’d checked out I headed to the post office to send forward my warm clothes, microspikes and a little extra food I’d overbought. Along the way I stopped in at one of Tehachapi’s delightful little antique stores where I found the perfect birthday gift for my mum. It’s not easy to find birthday gifts on trail so I felt like this was meant to be.
After sending off my parcels I headed back to the bakery for a sandwich and cake where I saw my old trail buddy Graham. I started the trail with Graham but hadn’t seen him since leaving Big Bear 2 weeks ago. I’d heard the counter lady call out an order for a Graham and I thought, I bet that’s him. Sure enough, it was!
We caught up on each others adventures over the last 2 weeks. It turned out that my other friends, Sarah and Jeff were only a few hours behind him on the trail. I had already decided to head back out on trail and arranged a ride with a local trail angel so I wouldn’t get to catch up with them that night but assured Graham I would see them on the trail the following day.
Adam isn’t due to arrive in Lone Pine until the 24th June. Lone Pine is really only just over a week of walking away for me but given the current level of snow in the Sierras and North of the Sierras it makes sense for me to slow down and wait for Adam on the 24th rather than flipping forward for a few days of walking to head south which we had originally thought to do. We had always planned to walk the Sierras together.
Given I’m slowing down and planning to take some extra zeros I expect the others will overtake me shortly.
I headed back to the hotel where I’d left my pack. It turned out that the trail angel, Fran who was giving me a lift out to the trailhead had also agreed to give another couple a lift out and they were also at the hotel. They were ready to leave early after Fran had taken them on a round trip to the post office so we ended up heading out to the trailhead at around 4.30pm.
Fran’s dog, Little Guy also came with us for the ride. He was the friendliest little Chihuahua I’ve ever met! He spent most of the 15 minute car ride on my lap. It had been a while since any doggo cuddles so it was good to get my fix until the next town 😆.
I had a short but incredibly windy 3.5 mile walk through the windfarm. I’d seen a note on guthooks about a ‘partially’ sheltered campsite behind a juniper bush beside the trail. The description was right. I found the site. It is semi sheltered but the winds are still strong so I slept without the fly. I guess strong winds should be expected when trying to camp in a windfarm.
It was nice to be set up and in the tent early. I enjoyed the changing colours of the sunset from my bed until the glowing lights of the city began to appear on the horizon. Although a hotel bed would have been comfy and a little less gusty, you can’t beat views like this.