Pct miles: 558 to 570.8
I wake up and manage to eat some continental breakfast and while everyone is still in bed I do our laundry. We slowly get our packs together for checkout, and then I drop mine off at Rachel and Mousetrap’s room and head back to the grocery store. I get the rest of what I need and then ask the grocery clerk where to get a good salad and she points me across the street to a place called Henry’s, which doesn’t disappoint. I leave and go to stick my thumb out when a mother and son who were also eating at the restaurant ask, “Do you need a ride?” and take me back to the Best Western. Tehachapi has been amazingly hiker friendly.
Back at the hotel I organize myself and then take an Uber to the Post Office and mail myself food to Kennedy Meadows. I’ll likely have to get some more things from their store, but at least it’s the bulk of what I’ll need. It’s crazy that Kennedy Meadows is less than two hundred miles away.
At the post office I stick my thumb out and a man in a truck with his tiny dog pick me up and take me back to the hotel. I hang out in Rachel/Justin/Mousetrap’s room and take a nap until Camp is ready to go – he and I are going back to where we got off the trail so we don’t miss miles, while everyone else we hiked in with are skipping ahead by 8 miles.
He and I stick our thumbs out and walk toward town and it doesn’t take long before none other than Legend picks us up. Legend has to go by the airport first so he takes us there and we talk with some other hikers. He tells us that a lot of people are “slackpacking” this section of the trail – doing it without their full pack – because he offers to drive their packs to them by 9 pm. It doesn’t take Campo and I long before we decide this is an awesome idea.
We get to the trailhead and Coppertone is there, too and we sit around chatting. My stomach starts to churn and I have to run down the trail – I have a bout of diarrhea. But, I tell myself, I bet this is the end of it, my body getting rid of the last of whatever’s pissed it off.
We stick around for Legend’s spaghetti dinner and then head out with just a water bottle and a trekking pole. It’s actually one of the most pleasant hiking experiences on the trail so far. Campo and I have great conversation and even though he could be going faster he chooses to stick with me. We get to the highway where Legend will drop off our packs just before dark. Another hiker who’d been on trail with us slackpacking is going back to town – he’d been in town for two weeks nursing a sprained ankle, but it was still giving him trouble. He’d been hopeful it was better but his body had other plans.
Legend dropped off our packs and we get walking. For a couple of miles we’re just above the highway on mostly flat ground. It’s dark, and again, though Campo could easily walk faster, he’s sticking with me because I’d shared that I’m not a big fan of nighthiking. I’m grateful, because I’m trying to make something like 57 miles in three days, including this day, when it’s already dark. The farther I can get tonight the fewer miles I’ll have to do to meet Mark for my birthday.
But the wind is insane. I’m sometimes taking one step just to take three steps to the left and right to try to regain my balance. We end up making it only a few miles up the climb before I spot some tents and trees and decide to set up camp for the night. Campo continues on.
The trees don’t help much and I’m grateful, though honestly surprised, that my tent poles don’t snap in the wind. I don’t get much sleep.