Back on Trail

So this stretch has been a bit of a rough one. I got back on trail where the PCT crosses highway 58 (between Tehachapi and Mojave). 

I was off trail for 10 days. I really think my body appreciated the rest. It took half a week before I wasn’t incredibly stiff and sore every time I stood up and started moving around. I got to spend the week with my boyfriend, and the bachelorette party/wedding were amazing. It was all over too quickly, and it was time for me to come back to the trail. 
Flew back to Los Angeles

I got back to Los Angeles late and stayed in a very sketchy hotel. I guess sometime you get what you pay for. I probably should have just spent the night in the airport again, but having a bed was certainly appreciated. I knew that I wouldn’t have another one for a while. 

While in LA, I ran several errands. First, I went to REI. I needed to swap out my sleeping mat (again), get new socks, and get measured for an ice ax for the upcoming Sierra mountain range. My mind was clearly still back home, after I came out of REI I realized that I’d bought a bunch of dehydrated meals even though I’d shipped my stove ahead to Kennedy Meadows and was going stoveless on the next section. Derp. 

Next I went to Trader Joe’s to do my resupply (now that I remembered I wasn’t cooking any food). That store is excellent! It was the first time I’d been. Very good selection for a hiker including individual packets of nuts and coconut oil, bacon jerky, etc. I also bought food for some resupply boxes that I was going to ship. 

Once that was done I went to the post office to put my resupply together. I had brought back some gear for the Sierra from home and shipped it ahead to Lone Pine. I sent forward my bear canister and sent out a couple of food boxes. 

Next I went to Union Station to start making my way back to the trail. Due to the mess that is LA traffic, I missed the train I wanted to catch and ended up hanging out in Union Station a while waiting for my next one. This is when I started to realize that I had forgotten some things at home. The battery pack for my phone. My rain coat. I sent a frantic message to my boyfriend when I realized the latter was missing, but I should have waited a day because I would have realized I’d forgotten more than just those things. Tent pegs (didn’t find that out til I first pitched my tent), my silk tank top, pants for the Sierra, a bug net. 

I finally got on a train to Lancaster. I got off at the end of the line and went into a Thai restaurant across the street to get dinner and charge my phone one last time. I tried to charge my eReader as well only to realize that somewhere in my travels the screen has been broken. Around 9p.m. I got on a bus who’s  a driver had a lead foot ((gas and brake) . The Thai food was of questionable quality and I really regretted eating it after an hour on the bus. I was dropped off right at the trailhead on highway 58 at 10 p.m.  I’m back. Queasy and homesick, but back on trail. 

I only hiked about two miles before setting up camp. The trail followed the highway for a while, which made me really grouchy. 

Camped around mile 568

This day was uneventful, I hiked about 14 miles. It was tough getting going this morning, there was a steep climb first thing and my knees were protesting being back on trail. I went slow, and ordered some gear online to ship ahead for the Sierra.

Camped around mile 582

I didn’t sleep great last night, but it was entirely my own fault. I pitched my tent on too much of a slant, which doesn’t make for good sleeping. 

It was really hot this day. A heat wave started that carried on for a week, so I haven’t don’t much hiking midday as a result. I passed by a beautiful siesta spot because I wanted to get a few more miles in before taking a break and ended up hiking during some of the hottest part of the day. I finally found a decent bush to hide under with a guy named Kevin who let me use his solar charger to charge my phone a bit. 

Moral of the story: don’t pass up a good siesta spot. 

Camped around mile 595

Today, I saw Vince, Cory, Josh, Emma and ICU for the first time in about 200 miles. It was nice to see some familiar faces after hiking alone for a couple of days. At mile 608, I came over a hill and saw a PT cruiser parked where the trail crossed a dirt road. All of the people who is siesta’d with at lunch were hanging out by the car. It was the trail angel Peyote Mama! She greeted me with a huge hug. Emma had been having knee problems so Peyote Mama took her to her house and was going to bring her down to Lake Isabella the next morning. She offered to put all of us up at her place, but I had planned to get another 5 miles in that night so I carried on. Little did I know what was in store for me. When I saw her the next day, she mentioned that I’d been looking green that night but I guess I hadn’t tuned into the fact that I was coming down sick. 

I got to the next water source, only .8 miles from where we’d met Peyote Mama, and there was a campground right beside it. The sun had set, and I was feeling pretty tired so I decided to just camp there. I woke up a few hours later and spent a while trying to will my stomach to stay put. I hadn’t eaten much that day, which probably should have been my first hint that something was off. Eventually I realized that I was fighting a losing battle and I darted out of my tent to puke my guts out. Afterwards, i was crouched down, waiting to see if I was done with dry heaving and in the quiet I heard someone else vomiting on the other side of the campground. Well, misery loves company. 

    Camped at mile 608.9

    The next morning I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I was still vomiting, feverish, had diarrhea, and overall just felt terrible. Turns out that Blunts was the other person sick, and we ended up lying pathetically in some shade by the campground outhouses trying to figure out what we should do. All we wanted was to get off that mountain. There were some weekend hikers in the campground and when we woke up we asked if they’d be willing to take us into a town, but apparently they were busy shooting things and riding ATVs. We knew that Peyote Mama was taking Emma to Lake Isabella, but we didn’t know how to get a hold of her. There was no service up there, though Hot Lips and Caveman let us call her with their satellite phone and leave a message. That wouldn’t do us much good if she didn’t receive it until she got back into town. Finally, Blunts revised that he would go looking for her house. We knew what road it was on and what direction it was, so he decided to go try and find her. I felt too sick to go anywhere, so he left his gear with me and went looking. 

    Serendipity was on our side that day. Blunts hiked the .8 miles back to the road and right as he got there, another trail angel who lived on the mountain was passing by on her dirt bike. Cinnabon saw that he was in rough shape, so he stopped and asked him if he needed any help. He explained our situation and gave him a ride on her dirt bike to Peyote Mama’s place. Turns out it was much further down that road than we’d thought, so it was a good thing she’d shown up. She then ripped back over to the campground to let me know that they were coming to get me, and Peyote Mama’s blue PT Cruiser showed up a few minutes later. We were saved. 

    She gave us a ride down into Lake Isabella with Emma and we checked into the Lake Isabella hotel. It was perfect. Shower, Gatorade, sleep. There was a massive heat wave coming too, so it was a good time to be inside an air conditioned hotel room. 

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