Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26th Down Day

Funny how the urge to rest goes away when I get the opportunity to do so. Well, not exactly but I just find myself at loose ends today. Nothing to do but look around the compound and pet the (many) dogs. I've cut my bangs, swept the floor of the truck camper and taken two showers. Now what? I'd go for a walk but the wind is still blowing strong and it's cold in the wind. There are hikers in "the lounge" but I'm not feeling very social right now. I'll be glad to move along tomorrow morning.

I still haven't learned about this place and all the "sheds" that double as sleeping spots but if I can corner the caretaker I'll try to get the dirt. It certainly is interesting...

More images.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th Hiker Town Mile 517.5

Last night I had a dream that I left the trail, went home and got my truck then went back to the trail, somehow combining truck travel and backpacking. You know how dreams are-anything is possible in dream time. Actually that doesn't sound half bad right about now.

We just had a scrumptious meal prepared by Debby who is somehow connected to this place. Corn on the
cob, BBQ pork sandwiches, beans and salad. Oh and watermelon. I couldn't eat my whole portion so I gave my second sandwich to 12%, who ate that and all the leftovers as well. I don't know where he put it. A great meal for ten bucks.

It has looked all day like it was going to rain but so far nothing has dropped from the sky. It is however, quite cold with buffeting winds and granite grey skies. I am sitting in the truck camper I am renting for the night and it is shaking and rocking in the wind.

MG is taking off tomorrow morning very early to get a jump on those 24 miles. I simply can't manage it so I won't be joining her on tomorrows hike. When I get in this place of wanting to bail on the adventure, so far taking time off has helped. I need the blister heal some before I get back on the trail. Once I got all the dura-dirt off my foot I could see the blister is three times the size I thought it was. No wonder it hurt like the dickens. Whatever the dickens is.

It looks like Angel Stacey is wanting to join in the fray again. The plan appears to be a Sunday pick up here and delivery to Tehachapi. Once again she is helping out in a way that is most magnificent.

Many photos tonight. Some of the trail, some of the sights at Hiker Town. Janet, the puppies are for you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24th Mile 508

I will not complain. I will not complain. I will not complain.

Today was a much better day, mostly because the winds died down in mid morning and only did the helpful wind thing- cooling me off in the afternoon. We did another 15 mile day but I have to admit I was hurting mightily from 10 miles on. I don't know why I'm not getting stronger, in the sense of being able to longer days with more comfort. Tomorrow is a short 10 mile day but the next day needs to be a 24 mile day, walking across the Antelope Valley in one go. Mostly due to there not being water for many, many miles. At this point I don't think I can hike 24 miles on my feet. What to do...?

On the upside I passed not one, not two, but three different signs (in different places) saying I had reached the 500 mile mark. Let me see, 500 three times, hum... that must make 1,500 miles! How do you like my math?

May 23rd Mile 494

What a day. Mother Goose has a GPS which tracks feet climbed as well as miles walked. Her magic device says we climbed 6,000 feet today, along with the 15 miles walked by trail. Water was scarce and mostly via water caches, though tonights water was, well you can decide by the photograph just what kind of water source it was. Let's just say I gave it the full five minute boil when cooking my dinner with it.

And the wind. One source told me there could be winds gusts of 75 miles per hour over the next couple of days. Already tonight, since setting up my tent, the end has blown in once. That was before I built Fort Knox at the base of my tent but I fully expect to have to get up tonight and put the tent back up. With this wind I don't believe I will sleep much tonight.

The blister. It's hard to walk on a blister strategically placed on the ball of ones foot, just behind the toes. After eight miles this morning I hobbled into the Red Carpet Cache at mile 486 and promptly put down my pack and off with the shoe and up with the feet. I laid there for a while and a guy named Half Step came over asking about my one shoe-ness. After much consultation it was decided to poke an opening in the blister in order to relieve the water pressure, thus keeping the blister from spreading. It's not a surface one but deep so there is danger in opening up the skin like this but I think it was the right choice because it hurt less afterwards. Which is not to say it doesn't hurt, just less than before. I've never had a blister in that spot; I don't recommend it.

Some might wonder if I'm having fun out here. Well, at the moment no. But I fully expect that sometime soon I will have fun. It just isn't today and I'm gonna guess, probably not tomorrow.

For you Girl Scouts out there this is the song I'll be singing to myself when I go to bed tonight "and if a tree don't fall on me I'll live till I die."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 22nd San Francisquito Ranger Station

Did my first ever night hike last night. I didn't mean to but we left Agua Dulce later than planned and getting to the sleeping spot required an hour of headlamp negotiation with the trail. BTW, it is harder than it seems when the trail is overgrown and ones light only hits the brush, not penetrating through to the ground. A bit dicy but I made it through easily enough. Still, it
was a bit scary when on a steep trail with an unknown drop off to one side. Yikes.

I'm spending a couple of hours at the Oasis Cache this afternoon in an attempt to wait out the heat of the day. This place is just before a dirt road going through Spunky Canyon and is maintained by Joe and Terri Anderson. In a hollowed out area in some low trees there are eight chairs, water, some sodas and beer and lots of doo-dads hanging around. The Anderson's also have a home that they open up for hikers in Green Valley. It's called Casa de Luna and it has a wild rep and appears to be a hoot and a half. Every night they host a taco salad dinner and sometimes there is a chocolate wrestling event. Not to be missed apparently but if it means I have to walk the extra two miles, I won't be going tonight. Sixteen miles
Is enough for one day.

Evening now. I struggled with the heat today, even with a three hour rest at the Oasis. By the time we dragged in here I had some classic heat related symptoms. Nausea, dizziness, tiredness, etc. Lets just say I wasn't in the mood for taco salad and a party. Too bad though as I was looking forward to seeing this famous (in certain circles) place and meeting Terri and Joe.

Today I also got my first for real blister. Too bad it is on the ball of my left foot. I get to stand on it every step I take tomorrow. Sound fun? Even with all that I had a good day and managed to hike 16 miles. Tomorrow the projected mileage is 15. The forecast is temps in the mid 80's which is way better than the 92 today. I'm such a weather wimp!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21st saying goodbye to Hiker Heaven

We will be walking out of this fine spot into the afternoon and hoping to make eight miles before dark. It is a good strategy for this kind of terrain and temps. The longest stretch without water in the next seven days is a 24 mile section. I'll be walking that chunk at night, under the new moon with headlamp shining. Not that I'm anxious about it or anything...

Pictures of Donna and Jeff (who recently started learning to paint with acrylics).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20 Hiker Heaven

This place is hard to fathom. Incredible organization, efficiency and preparedness. With amenities up the wazoo it is certainly one of the most remarkable places I've ever been. Donna Saufley and her husband Jeff open up their yard and guest trailer(s) for folks who are hiking the trail so they can R&R in style. Images to follow.

We hit the trail again tomorrow morning early. The forecast is for temps in the low 90's and sun, sun, sun. I'll be leaving here with six liters of water and four days of food. The old pack just might be a bit heavy.

My favorite shorts have been on the downward slope for the last few months and I've been looking in vain for replacement shorts for ever! Today I finally just admitted defeat and took another pair of pants apart and sewed the seat of the old pants to my even older shorts. They have a Singer sewing machine here that I made use of and I think I was successful. Big Wuss took a photo of my patch while I was wearing my shorts, how's it look?

Tonight there was a solar eclipse and one of the hikers here had a plate we could look through and not burn our retinas. Some of the images you see are of us hiker types looking at the sun. See also the animal images.