Post Tehachapi PCT’n
Beginning Elevation = 3,850
Peak Elevation = 6,200
Ending Elevation = 5,300
Weather: Little wind! Low 60’s, mix of sun and clouds
The second morning at the hotel in Tehachapi was just as nice and relaxed. Neither Kool-Aid or myself felt any need to rush at getting back to the trail. I didn’t make it very clear in my last post, but he shared the room with me. We went down to breakfast a little before 7:00am. It was another scrumptious feast and the pancake robot was no longer serving portion sizes for ants! I may have grabbed a few items (pb and jelly packets and a bagel) to supplement my trail food supply as well!
We wrapped up all our hotel activities around 10:00am-ish. Well at least that’s when I checked out and walked across the road to get a classic black forest ham sub from Subway. Upon returning, Kool-Aid had finished his last task, ordering a down jacket for las montanas section ahead. We then walked to the Tehachapi park-and-ride bus stop.
At 10:45am, the scheduled time for the bus to stop, we observed a greyhound style bus pull up along the opposite side of the road. Thinking I’d messed up my directions, we bolted across only to find that it was not actually the one we wanted. Soon after our return to the south side of the road, ours came, we got on, paid $3, and then had a lovely ride and got off at the first stop, right at the trail where I’d left about 48 hours prior. It was 11:15am-ish at this point.
I told Kool aid that I was going to eat my sub so as not to have to carry it. He kindly stayed and had some snacks too. About 20 minutes later (I devoured that thing quickly), we commenced to hiking the PCT again. The trail went parallel to the highway for about a mile and was pretty level. It was a nice warm up with our heavy full packs before what came next.
Turning away from the highway, the trail climbed, winding and switchbacking its way up about 2,400 feet in elevation over a 5 mile span. Kool-Aid pulled ahead for a stretch of this and I utilized the power of music to motivate me. The musical highlight of this shuffle playlist round was the Israeli band that Songbird had recommended (back at Hiker Heaven I’d gotten suggestions from her, Kool-Aid, Calzone, and a guy named David to add some variety), Balken Beat Box. Two of there jams came on and had me hiking to the beat (yep that’s a thing).
Here’s some views from the way up, leaving the highway. The second one is looking out east (ish) as the highway descends out to the Mojave Desert.
Got to see some more Josh trees (a bit stunted when up this high in elevation) and flowers.
The higher we climbed, the more beautiful the scene became with mountainous views looking out and a pine covered gentle slope where the trail passed through.
Some of the trees had an orange lichen growing on it. The most healthy-looking trees seemed clear of it and the more dead looking ones seemed to be covered the most, so we theorized that it was essentially “killing” the tree, maybe some sort of blight?
We also saw some colorful rocks from far…
After walking 10.7 ish miles, we came across this sign…
You can’t hold me back sign! Someday I may just hike 15+ mph! As young Anakin Skywalker liked to say, “You underestimate my power!” We ended up camping just beyond this. There was a nice little meadow with some flat, existing spots. We debated on going further, taking advantage of the good weather, but both of us were pretty tired already.
After setting up our tents, I brought my cooking supplies over to Kool-Aids spot (we were spaced maybe 40 yards apart or so) for tea and crumpets. We set up next to a red ant home/hole, but they didn’t seem to bother us and we didn’t bother them. Coexist people!
I started cooking my dinner right away (Knorr Mexican Rice Side, with bacon bits, sharp cheddar cheese, and bean dip), but Kool-Aid got out his paper maps to continue his research into the Sierra section. Everyone seems to be feeling some level of anxiety about the upcoming mountains and the mass quantity of snow that has fallen this season. Not so much with Kool-Aid though, he seems confident, but also is making moves and planning so as to be ready for the extreme.
Me…I’m still worried, but also feeling that I’ll be prepared enough to give going into it a try. We can always back out and I located a few “bail-out” trails in case too. The first step is getting to Kennedy Meadows. Then, the Master Trailsman and I will make our plan together!
While hanging out and dining, a solo hiker showed up and set up a little ways away. Then, a group of 6 or 7 youngins (early twenties?) joined the area too. Once finished with our eating activities, we grabbed our butt pads and walked over for a better view of the sunset. On the way, we stopped to talk to solo hiker guy, Gumby. He and Kool-Aid got on the subject of climbing and after a while I continued and found a lovely spot to watch the sunset. Pretty magical.
Afterwards, the three of us went over to say hi to the youngins group. I only stayed for a short while, and then hit the tent. It was so nice having nice weather today, what a difference that makes! Hoping it continues!