Day 47 Miles 643.75 – 652 Arrival at Lake Isabella May 11, 2017

IMG_5884.JPGIt’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.
– Mae Jemison

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Figure 8:

I woke up at 6:40 ready to take on the day. I told Rob I was going to the stream to get us water for the 8.5 mile hike to Hwy 178 and then we could pack up.  It was already sunny and warm when we got on trail at 7:30.  The hike this morning was one of my favorite so far. 6176639088_IMG_0604IMG_5891.JPG 6174654656_IMG_0607.JPGBig open views of the mountains, some new flowers, patches and patches of yellow flowers and pine trees.  I had a very strong feeling as I was hiking that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing at that moment.  I was overwhelmed by the postcard beauty I was walking through while listening to The Xx and then Stevie Nicks.

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I love all the colors of lichen we have seen in the past two months

6176639088_IMG_06056176639088_IMG_0608IMG_5892  Daddie Gizmo was also having a great morning and the miles to the highway went fast.  We arrived at Walker Pass campground where we planned to hitch a ride, signed the trail register and saw that there was a cooler there with cold sodas and a sign indicating food and rides to town below.

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Trail magic at the trail register

6174654656_IMG_0610.JPGInstant smiles and even more pep in our step!  We hustled down below to find Carly, an amazing trail angel, waiting with donuts, sandwich fixings, cold beer, whiskey, sodas, Oreos, bagels and more.  This was heaven.  Also there was the lady we met on the horse as well as a couple other hikers.  We all sat around and chatted, laughed, ate and drank at 10:30 in the morning.  Carly and her friend Hannah (who was also helping but was picking up more donuts when we arrived) had done two weeks on the trail this year and decided it wasn’t for them.  They love the trail though and wanted to still be involved so they decided to do the other side – trail angeling.  They were both great.

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Us, Carly, Rex and Tatters

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Me & Carly

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Giz gets in on the action

We really enjoyed hanging out with everyone until about noon before cramming ourselves and 5 other hikers into their SUV to get to Lake Isabella. We all smell pretty bad so we couldn’t actually smell how bad the car smelled with us all in it, but I am guessing Carly could!  She dropped the others off at a hotel where they were sharing a room and then took Rob and I  to the grocery store where she also had to pick up a few items.  We grabbed steaks and baked potatoes to make for dinner and sausages for breakfast.  Carly then dropped us off at Haven RV park where we planned to camp for the night.  We still needed to get to the post office to pick up packages and fortunately just as we layed our bags down in the camping area Jene, the property manager, came by and asked if we needed to go into town.  Amazing! She took us by the post office and brought us back with our 3 packages – bounce box, wonderful box of goodies from a friend and another from my father in law.

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Thanks friend!

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Thanks Papa!

It was so much fun to go through them and see what goodies we had.  Haven turned out to be a fantastic spot for us for the evening.  Jene and her daughter, Grace, are both very sweet and kind.  We both took our first showers in a week and feeling fresh and clean hung out with Grace (who is 8) who sang and played guitar for us and then made a delicious dinner.

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Me & Grace

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Grace adorned me with a rose 🌹

We smothered the potatoes in cheese and sour cream and butter.  I ate every last bite.

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No plates. Hiker trash using newspaper instead 😉

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That’s a happy guy eating his steak potato!

They have a shared media/Rec room by the grills and since we were the only people camping here we had the place to ourselves, we pulled out the TV trays and ate and watched tv like it was our own house.  A very nice treat.  We stayed up till almost midnight and then slept the hard sleep of someone who has walked 94 miles in the last 5 days and finally got a hot shower and good meal.

Day 46 Miles 623.5 – 643.75 May 10, 2017

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This morning we were on trail by 7 which was good cause today was just as hot as yesterday, but with far less clouds. We started going straight up the mountain immediately and it was beautiful.6174654656_IMG_0591.JPG 6174654656_IMG_0590IMG_5871 Both yesterday and today we have had wide views of the Mojave. This part of the trail has a lot of loose sand that makes every step take more effort. It reminds me of when we hiked the Lost Coast trail in Shelter Cove, CA.

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Throwback photo – The Lost Coast Trail

That trail goes all along the ocean and you are navigating your steps on a black sand beach, much of which is loose sand. Those are some of the best 3 days of my life spent listening to the constant pounding of the ocean and the scenery was unbelievable. Our goal this morning was a water cache we were sincerely hoping was in 7 miles and our prayers came true! What we came upon was a sight that makes our little hiker hearts happy. There was tons of water and snacks! IMG_5873.JPGIMG_5872Oh, the snacks. I got there first and when I saw Daddie Gizmo come around I yelled, “There is food!.” He was thrilled. This meant we could eat a good snack before lunch and not be rationing our food before getting to town. Phew!!! The cache had charging packs for phones, duct tape, pop tarts, Nutella, granola bars, peanut butter, aspirin and more. We ate, refilled H2O, charged our phones and left $5 in the donation box. What a treat!! Feeling refreshed and refueled we headed out for another big climb – 1800ft up over 3.5 miles and then came down the mountain another 2.5 miles before having our siesta. IMG_58786174654656_IMG_0592

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A little rest in the shade after the 3.5 miles up

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Climbing this mountain and loving it 💞

We found some shade and made velveeta shells and cheese for lunch. After last nights terrible dinner this was so good. We both agreed we will be bringing this on trail again. It’s really easy to make and anything cheesy is always good on trail :). I took a nap for over an hour after that while Daddie Gizmo rested but never actually fell asleep. We also saw our first thru hiker on a horse! I was so excited. This woman said her husband meets her some nights and she camps others. Just a woman and her horse enjoying the great outdoors. After a 4+ hour siesta we got back on trail feeling incredibely refreshed. No surprise that we were heading to the next water source in 7 miles. This put us at another 20 mile day. Not too shabby. Since we left after 6, the weather was perfect. We saw a really gorgeous sunset and watched the rise of the full moon. Fortunately we had the peanut butter and Nutella from the cache earlier so we didn’t have to cook dinner that late. Instead we had the dips with pretzels we already had and BOOM, a meal. Throw in some beef jerky and a fruit bar and you have a feast!  It’s 10pm and Daddie Gizmo just told me he likes nights before we go into town because we stay up later and we use all the battery on our phones and juicepacks. It’s the little things. I’m at a really good spot in my book so that is my next move tonight 😉

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Pictures do this sunset no justice

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Getting water at the stream before camping. Someone left a note in twigs

Day 45 Miles 602.23 – 623.5 May 9, 2017

Elevation today: +3728/-2785
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As has happened before, we had intentions of getting up early to a 5:30 alarm and knocking out some miles in the very early and cool morning…but we hit snooze and slept in :).

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Good morning from the 4SR

As we were packing up, Daddie Gizmo said that if we had more food he would have loved to stay and enjoy the camp spot for another lazy day.  Similar to the zero we took in Jackson Flat with the fire going all day too. Truth was, we layed all our food out yesterday and realized we have just enough food to make it to Lake Isabella with very little snacking. Hikers need to snack!! Unfortunately, we didn’t bring enough food to comfortably eat all day long as we burn through massive calories. Either way, we set off on what turned out to be an excellent day with lots of microflowers that we love. Gorgeous scenery. We got out of camp at 8:52 and knew we had 5 miles to go to Landers Creek to refill water. We ran into Canary while crossing a stream and while I was distracted talking both my feet slipped down the mud into the water. Oops – wet feet to start the day. Luckily, my shoes are goretex and dry fast. Shortly after that we took a wrong turn when the trail split. We realized we were off trail and were trying to cut across the desert when I saw Daddie Gizmo do a crazy side step jump that I had never seen. I could tell he was panicked and he quickly relayed that there was a huge rattlesnake there and to go around wide. 6174635056_IMG_0564This was our first rattlesnake encounter (except the one in the cage at Vazquez Rocks) and it was HUGE!!!!!!! We made it safely around and to the creek where Rubberball, Mellow, Hunter, Tatters, Rex and Akunah were all sitting and having some food in the shade. You will always find hikers in the shade of the desert. As Tatters said later that day, “it’s a rare resource out here.” There is about ten hikers – those guys I mentioned and couple others – who are all camping together every night, usually at a water source. We enjoy seeing them during the day but like to camp by ourselves. Out of the creek we continued through the pine trees and big boulders.

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This scenery is hard to beat

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Microflower!

IMG_46466174635056_IMG_0565IMG_5870It was a beautiful morning and easy miles in the shade. But those first 7 shaded miles soon opened up to the desert sun. As we were walking we ran into a new face, Guate. I chatted with him while we hiked for a while. He said he hasn’t seen anyone in 3 days, is from Guatemala and is a mountaineering guide. He takes people on big mountaineering trips in Pakistan and Guatemala. He is MUCH FASTER than us, doing 26-28 miles a day, so we won’t be seeing much of him. In the mid-afternoon, after hiking in the direct sun, we were so glad to arrive at a water cache near Kelso Road where it crossed the trail. Last years hikers put 50+ gallons of water there which was much needed because that stretch was really dry. A bunch of us relaxed a bit with lunch (we finished the last of our cheese and bread with some salami) and refilling before heading out. The large group was planning on going another 5 miles, but we wanted to wait out the sun and hike late in the day around sunset to get a few more miles in. As we left the cache we saw trail magic! Someone had set a cooler in the shade with sodas, beer and oranges! We split a Busch beer, grabbed an orange for later and signed the trail register. We grabbed a bit more shade to wait out the day and then hiked our little hearts out till about 8:30. 6174635056_IMG_05696174635056_IMG_05756174635056_IMG_0581The sunset was beautiful, the moon was nearly full and we were hungry! We had officially done our first 20 mile + day. We hadn’t necessarily planned on it, but it happened and felt good. 21 1/2 miles!!! We set up camp under the moon and a Joshua Tree and quickly made a very bad dinner. We bought stuffing to try to make with the summer sausage but it was more like wet bread crumbs. It was probably our second worst meal. The orange though was FANTASTIC!

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Beautiful moon that this photo is doing no justice to

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