Saturday, May 17, 2014

Day 36 - pct mile 549 to Tehachapi

Last night was very windy in the campsite. Shortly after I fell asleep I woke up when I heard both of my tent stakes being torn off the ground. It was still early as I got up to stake them back in, and Snail Trainer was just setting up his tent, next to Tim.
I put in the stakes in the ground, and moved some heavy logs over them, to keep them in place. My front stake still managed to get dislodged twice more during the night, until I finally secured it properly.
Apart from the wind, the night was rather warm.
In the morning we headed out to finish this little section and get into Tehachapi. It was only about 10 miles away, which were mostly downhill. Easy.
We only made one short pause on the way, and just after passing a water source (which we did not need) we started seeing the highway from above. This is the most frustrating bit - you see exactly where you need to go, and the trail keeps going in switchbacks, and along ridges, instead of just getting there!
My feet were hurting (not much more than usual, but still), and I just kept going on and on towards the road. Finally, we got there just as Snail Trainer did, and started to hitch towards town.
The third car passed us, and then came back. The driver, from across the road, asked us where we need to go, and whether we carry any weapons. He was quite insistent on making sure we don't carry anything, and even let it slide that in any case, he does. So we shouldn't do anything foolish... He seemed rather worried about giving two stinky hikers a ride for about 10 minutes.
Once we got in the car, his wife and him were very interested to learn about the trail, and how much we've walked so far. They were really nice, and got us right where we wanted to in town.
We were hoping to find a list of trail angels that allow hikers to sleep in their homes, but I assume that unless you run a huge operation like Hiker Heaven, or Casa de Luna, you can't handle the crowds anyway. So the trail angels of this town mainly offer rides around town, and to and from the trail. Fair enough.
We started checking out the local motels. The two Best Western are expensive ($90), so we headed down to the cheaper Santa Fe motel ($70), and crashed here.
After a shower, we got our laundry done, and wanted to head out to the supermarket, mostly to buy food for the day. Idan was just negotiating a ride there, when suddenly I saw Kay calling me from across the street.
Kay was our ride to the KO back from Idyllwild, and she lives in Tehachapi. She plans on hiking the pct next year, so she picks up hikers around town to build up her karma. I think her karma must be huge by now. We told her we were coming in today, but hadn't phoned her for a ride yet.
Well, now we gladly jumped in her car, which already contained Pedi, and she drove us to the Albertsons.
Idan was intent on eating at the McDonald's. So I had a small salad and fries. Yay. And we bought some stuff to keep us through the day (fresh guacamole and not-fresh hummus!), and then headed back into our tiny room (thanks again, Kay!)
We spent the rest of the day just sitting in his room. I took a 2 hour nap. And we tried to get our Sierra strategy working. Apparently we are getting way too early to Lake Isabella, so we'd have to meet up with Yair further north, in Kennedy Meadows. And even then - we might be getting into the Sierras too early. A report from the 16 said there is still plenty of snow over 10,000 feet, and the forecast is for some new snow coming this week. So we might get stuck there for a while. Together with all the other crazy hikers that pass us and run along north.