Shelter from the Storm
Beginning Elevation = 4,150
Peak Elevation = 4,750
Ending Elevation = 3,850
Weather: Windy, light rain, cloudy
There are two spots where the trail crosses roads with access to the town of Tehachapi, CA. I learned that all of the hikers I’ve been walking with took the first option, Willow Springs Road, and got into town last night. I hadn’t made any arrangements for where to stay, so I decided to camp just before the road last night and then hike the 8.5 miles further today and reach Highway 58, the second option. There’s a bus stop at this crossing that I could use to get a ride into town.
I awoke yet again to some light rain spattering. And just like yesterday, I took my time getting going. I checked the forecast and wasn’t encouraged. It seemed like there might be a short gap without rain, but pretty much off and on throughout the day. I knew I only had the relatively short 8.5 miles to go though, and then could get warm in town.
I skipped breakfast because my stomach had still been messing with me yesterday and overnight. Taking a temporary break from eating usually helps to let things settle down. Packed up without getting things all that wet and then started my power walk at 7:15am.
I was motivated to be quick this morning and knock this section out. To help keep my hands dry, I put Ziploc bags over my gloves! This seemed to really help actually, but was a bit annoying too. Gotta get a new waterproof pair!
Through the army of wind turbines I meandered. At one point, I looked back and saw a nice rainbow!
The area that these turbines cover is ridiculous. They just kept going and going. Here’s looking to the east/southeast (I think).
A highlight of the hike was coming up to this small herd of cattle. There were maybe 15-20 of them, but I’m pretty sure this big tannish colored guy was the squad leader.
I thought saying cattle sounded more mature than cows. For some reason I associate the word cows with the black and white dairy cows. These guys were solid colors. And they were very suspicious of me! Once they noticed me I got the stare down from every one of them. The moment was tense. It was as if they were waiting for me to get out my lasso and start chasing after them. And I could’ve too, pulled a City Slickers move and drove the cattle back to pasture as they say. Instead, I just took a photo and they lumbered up the hill and away at a surprisingly quick pace. Go cows go!
The last mile or so was downhill to the highway with super long and gradual switchbacks. I started seeing these flowers a lot.
And just before reaching Cameron Road (the last stretch was a road walk up to the major highway), I saw 5 jackrabbits all in just a small area. Most bolted across the hills a bit away, but I saw this guy just hanging out too. He’s kind of hidden since this photo isn’t zoomed, but you can see his ears sticking up in the middle of the shot.
This is the final stretch up to the bus stop…
I arrived around 10:15am, so it took me about 3 hours. I had called the bus system earlier in the morning and requested that the bus make this stop, since it’s not a routine stop, only by request. I was told it should come at noon. Since I had time and was feeling better, I got out my stove and made some coffee and a Dave H hot rice cereal creation.
During my cooking process, 4 hikers staggered up to me coming from the trail up ahead, where I would be going next after my town resupply stop. I found out they’d gone north a day or two ago and ended up turning around because of the weather conditions. They had snow and wind and rain, enough to break one guys tent pole, and weren’t enjoying the hike at all. Thus, they made the tough call to retreat and spend some time off trail until this weather system passes through. Having less patience then I, rather than wait for the bus at noon, one of the guys called a trail angel and figured out a ride. He nicely included me in the head count and so fifteen minutes later we were in the car with driver Tom, heat blowing out the vents, going into Tehachapi!
Tom was very nice and I was happy to give him some money for gas. Most drivers don’t accept in my experience so far, but I was happy he did seeming as he came out of his way to save us! What a guy that Tom. He dropped us off right in the center of town and as we pulled in to park, who do I see but Calzone, Cheer, and Kool-Aid! Couldn’t have worked out better.
They had shared a room near town and had just left a restaurant. They were now on there way back to check out. We chatted, then said we’d connect later on, and parted ways.
I went right into the first restaurant I saw, Kohnen’s Country Restaurant. I walked in and a smile spread wide across my face. What a cool looking place! The front counter was full of amazing looking desserts, back behind were fresh baked breads of various shapes and sizes, the side counter had steins and various local beer options, and a vaulted ceiling covered the large open seating area with hikers and locals alike.
I found a nice little corner to place my pack (keeping an eye on it all the time nowadays!) and then went to the counter to place my order. I got a reuben sandwich, coffee, and couldn’t pass on the petite little pies they showcased. I went for the boysenberry one!
While waiting for my food, I switched into a few drier clothing options. I ended up spending about an hour and a half hanging here. Snickers, Grit, and 3 Bean all stopped by as well as other hikers.
After lunch, I strapped on my pack again and walked about a mile to my hotel, which is right off the highway exit. Soon, I saw the wonderful site of the good ole Holiday Inn Express!
Hooray for his hotel! It was so nice to have a room to myself. I laid out all the stuff from inside my pack, took a hot shower, and did my laundry! And just relaxed and watched some TV. Look who was on! Captain Jean-Luc Picard. So this is the Star Trek series that is going to be continued that we saw the filming for back at Vasquez Rocks.
Later in the evening, I ventured off towards town. Calzone and Cheer had talked of seeing Avengers Endgame with me, but their plans changed, so I went solo to see it. I stopped at Primo Burger and got some food first, scarfed it down, and then walked over to Hitching Post Theaters. The movie kind of blew me away. I’m usually easily pleased with movies and leave feeling amazed at what folks can create and the stories they can come up with.
Afterwards, I walked back to the hotel in the dark, which was a strangely peaceful walk. The town of Tehachapi wasn’t exactly hopping still at 9:30pm, so nice and quiet. Tomorrow, I’m taking a full day to rest again, so looking forward to that!