Date: May 21 & 22, 2017
Miles: 556 – 573.3
I loved opening my eyes this morning to a sunrise between windmills at the foot of my bed. I loved less the realization that I had woken up with a sore throat and plugged sinuses. ARG.
I had some medicine left over from the cold that I had during my first couple weeks of hiking, so I took it and reluctantly dragged myself out of my quilt so I could get ready for the day. It was a quick two miles to highway 158, where we could hitch a ride in to Tehachapi and get cleaned up and resupplied.
It didn’t take long to flag down a car, but when we grabbed our packs and turned to run down the road after it, I saw another hiker slide in and the car drove off. I got hitch blocked! You’re welcome, man, jeesh.
It took another ten minutes, but we did get a ride in to town and got a room at the Best Western Mountain Inn, which was full of other hikers.
The first order of business was to eat as much of the hotel breakfast as we could, and then to find the barbecue restaurant that our driver told us about. They had fried okra!
The rest of the day was taken up with laundry, the hot tub, and a gathering in my room for late night pizza and Talladega Nights.
The next morning, Katie, Connor, John, Allen, a new friend Ginny and I met for breakfast to hash out our Sierra resupply strategy, and then we spent the rest of the day hitching to and from the grocery store, the UPS store, and the post office. Everything in Tehachapi is spread out, at least from a walker’s perspective, but people there are so friendly that they would often offer us rides before we even threw our thumbs out. A lot of people also stopped when they saw us just to chat about the trail. Some would ask questions, or tell us about a relative’s hike, or ask if we knew that the massive amounts of snow in the sierras meant certain death to all of us if we continued on. One gentleman offered us a ride from the post office to the hotel, but then stood outside the door and talked to me about Abraham Lincoln and log cabins for twenty minutes while everyone else was mailing their packages. People can be such characters.
Katie, Connor and I decided to head out of town for the trail after sundown since the area was experiencing a heat wave. Two railroad workers from out of town took pity on us trying to hitchhike in the dark and agreed to drive us to the trailhead. We climbed up a hill for about seven miles, and I coughed, wheezed and blew my nose all over that hill until I was exhausted and couldn’t breathe. I was a pathetic, sick mess by the time we made camp. At one point, I had stopped to go to the bathroom and ended up accidentally blowing my nose on my left shoe, and, due to a sudden change in wind direction, peeing all over my right shoe. I’m glad that I had the company of Katie and Connor, who were patient enough to wait for me and make sure I was doing ok, otherwise I might have wheezed my way back down the hill and found the first flight home.