With the knowledge that the heat would be coming on strong today, we were up about 5:30 AM. That isnt the earliest..most people who are trying to beat the sun start earlier, but still very early for us, who love to sleep in as late as possible. As it turns out, it was a very hazy day much to our delight. This kept the temperature down maybe 10 or 15° lower than normal and we already knew we only had 12 miles this morning. This made us not feel nearly as pressed to make time and miles which becomes a much more enjoyable hike. The first target of the day was a 6200 ft ridge that hopefully contained a water cache maintained by a family who had a farm not too far away. It was fully stocked so we drank a liter, took a liter to add to the 2 we were already carrying and set off down the hill. For me, I have daydreams of Dali’s Don Quixote paintings when we head into windmills.
Hiking underneath huge churning windmill blades is a bit surreal. This farm’s were the biggest I’ve ever seen and even more impressive to be right underneath them. The Joshua Trees today along the trail in the wind farm were the largest and oldest we have seen. We saw our first Horny Lizard today too. So prehistoric looking. When we came to the road, we were met by 2 Trail Angels. Stogie had Gatorade for us and Surveyor Dave was ready to take us into town. He dropped us off at a BBQ place for a big fat lunch and then offered us a shower and quiet place to camp in his backyard. After coming back into the fray of many more hikers than we had experienced before, we decided to take him up on it. He and his wife Dale were so very welcoming, genuine and helpful to us the entire time we have been here. They are about to drop us back on the trail after a good nights sleep. So far, in 39 trail days, we have hiked up 103,000 and down 100,000 feet of elevation in 558 miles. In the coming days, we climb up and down 27,000 feet just getting to the Sierra Mountains. Time to tie the shoelaces tight.
The hike into Tehachapi was really nice this morning. I was shocked to see 2 people from town waiting at the trailhead to take hikers into town. We heard that this a very hiker friendly town and experienced it right from the start. We grabbed a ride from Dave (who we later learned has a trail name of Butterscotch) and instantly felt his good vibes and energy. Before dropping us off at the BBQ place for lunch he was kind enough to take a detour by his house and show us his shady backyard where we could rest this afternoon. So much shade! After we ate we were both exhausted and really wanted to lay down. Thankfully we had the good fortune of running into Dave earlier. We layed our sleeping bags down in the backyard and passed out almost immediately. He and his wife, Dale, offered us a shower, laundry, ride to the grocery store and to pitch our tent for the night. All of which we took them up on. We really enjoyed the time we got to spend getting to know them both. I had been feeling a little low from the changes we were seeing on trail and the time we spent with them really lifted my spirits. It turned me right back around. I am forever grateful 💜
Today was a different than any other we have has on the trail so far. We were up at 5:37 and hiking thirty minutes after. The sun was up, it was cool and we had already seen 4 other hikers from yesterday. Getting up that early and seeing that many other people were already a change. We had a goal of 13 miles in mind since that is where the next water source is with shade. We planned on spending the entire day there and night hiking again. We were hiking through a wind farm and the only shade you might occasionally get was from a windmill or itself or a large bush.
#6 is the best. We didn’t go to te office but many did
It was getting really warm by 8am!! By 9 we agreed there was no question this was the hottest day ever. I felt like I was dragging my caracass the last 2 miles. I was crawling and it was still relatively early in the morning! 😮 The water source was a small creek running between 2 mountains. There were already 8 people crashed in the shade when we arrived. The main thing that I have noticed with the larger hiking groups is that there seems to be less sense of intimacy among the group. When we were in much smaller groups before we left on break, 2 hikers would never pass each other and not stop to talk and say hi. In the lager groups people seem more to themselves and sometimes and less willing to converse. And of course, as in normal life outside the trail, the more people you have together, the more chance there is that personalities will clash…
Soaking my feet!
We chatted with Spring for a while who is from Arkansas and hiking through by herself, slept, ate, played cards with Mellow, Canary and Spring and eventually got back out on trail at 6:30. We could see another beautiful sunset around the mountain and really enjoyed feeling the temperature drop as we climbed a little under 2,000 feet.
Signing the hiker registry
Since we were on the edge of a mountain and not walking on wide flat going like last night, we used our headlamps and not just the moonlight to light the path. At 8:30 we were on top of a mountain and overlooking the lights of the small town of Folsom (where the prison is) next to the blinking red on the windmills. The stars were out, the moon was bright and there a a flat spot wide enough for our tent. We thought that we might hike further, but this was a beautiful spot and we reminded each other that we don’t need to rush. We can stop, eat our dinner of beef jerky and crackers under the stars and then get a full nights sleep. And that’s just what we did 😊
Daddie Gizmo: As we waited at Hikertown for the sun to fall lower in the sky, we counted 20+ hikers come in from the trail. Some would be staying the night and many others, like us, would be setting out to hike along the LA Aqueduct at night. We had never hiked at night like this before but it was a necessity due to the heat at this low elevation. We also reconnected with Mellow and Canary after not seeing them since we were all in Big Bear together. The 4 of us headed out at about 7:30 pm.
Beautiful sunset to start the night
The temperature had already come down 20 degrees or so from the heat of the day. We walked along the open area of the aqueduct for a mile before it changed to a buried iron pipe about 20-25 ft in diameter.
Heading out for the night
On the aqueduct
After climbing up on top we traversed the top area of the pipe that was exposed through the sand. It was about 5 ft wide, black with half-dollar sized rivits holding all of the steel sections together. It was dark now so we used our headlamps to travel along in single file. It was a small balancing act with manhole covers and odd little obstacles to navigate along the way. After the Pipe section, we turned onto the concrete road which was also the top cover of a newer portion of the aqueduct. It was long, flat and hard ground to hike on. Every so often there were junctions and raised areas made for workers to access the water below. It was here that you could hear the power of the water rushing just below your feet. For the whole stretch after the pipeline, we would walk without our headlamps. The moon was so bright that it lit up the white concrete and our path. After about 4 1/2 hours, we had past all of the people who had left before us and were camped out along the way. At one rest point we lay down on the concrete and faced up to the stars. Lacy and I both saw shooting stars which we took as a good sign that we were welcome back on the trail. Everyone found nice spots to set up for a short night. We stopped at 12:30 and were asleep by 1. Our alarms were set for just 4 1/2 hours later.
Figure 8: it felt WONDERFUL to put my gear back on tonight and get back into hiking mode. I missed my hiking skirt and felt like we had come back home as we set foot on the trail. Between the gorgeous sunset, bright moon and being with some of my favorite people, it was a wonderful night. ❤️