Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2nd Lake Isabella

Well, it's official. I'm 100% homesick and jonsing for home. It isn't just the heat, though this is effecting my mood. I just feel I am missing too much at home. And for what?

Angela just had one of the most important events in her life with the Tannery opening and I was was wandering around the desert, unable to call her to wish her well. Her Dad was in the hospital and I couldn't contact her to see how he was doing. I don't like this. On Monday I am looking at heading back into the desert for a few days before going back out again for the next three or four weeks where there is no cell service. I really don't know what to do but clearly I'm not comfortable with the original plan. We will see.

May 31st Robin Bird Spring

Mile 602.1
Today I passed my previous longest hiking day by one mile - 19. It was a tough day, mostly because the climbing portion of the day was after noon and blasted hot. I'd say it was 85 or 90 in the sun, where I was toiling away. I was affected by the heat, with nausea and some dizziness but regardless of how I felt I had to keep on as the only water was here. So here I came! It's safe to say I'm tired.

We are now in the Paiute Mountains and for once I got to walk in a mature forest for part of the day. So much of the trail has been burned that the sight of so many trees was a relief. It was such a relief that I surprised myself...I didn't know how much I missed big trees. The photo is of that area.

I have had no cell reception since yesterday morning so there's no telling when this missive will get sent out. Hopefully you all can see the spot messages so you know all is well. And it is!

May 30th Golden Oaks Spring

Mile 583
Seventeen miles to get here today. It took most of the day and I arrived here a bit after six. The first bit was a 2,500 foot climb and later there was another 700 foot climb. It was a nice day, though when out of the wind it was a bit toasty.

The original plan for today was to hike to this spring, water up and walk another mile or so to a saddle which looks to have camping spots. The reason for this extra mile is because from this spot, the next water is 19 miles away - dang! Since we didn't go on tonight, tomorrow will be a killer long day.

BTW, if I ever think its a good idea to take off four days in a row, someone slap me please. Or alternatively, you could just remind me how hard it is to get back into the flow of hiking, especially with a full pack and four plus liters of water. That many days off was a major mistake, one I will try not to repeat.

Tonight I cooked up one of my gnocchi meals only to find the dumplings have soured and were uneatable. It looks like all of my meals that had gnocchi as a base will have to have instant rice or ramen switched out. Bummer that. I thought for sure if I vacuum sealed the food it would keep as long as it said on the original package. Oh well, live and learn. It's going to be a long time till breakfast.

We are surrounded by big commercial wind generators. It's kind of spooky to walk in and among them as they tower over humans and the sound is odd and a bit disconcerting. I can certainly see why people would not like to live too near them as the noise is constant. I don't imagine the wildlife would like it either. Yet, the places where there is near constant wind (like here) and are not near human habitation would seem to be the logical place to put them.

I was so sluggish today I didn't take many photos but I do have one of the white beasts.

June 1st Tunnel Spring

Another hot day. We managed to hike nine miles by noon then took a two hour rest in the shade of some oakish trees and boulders, daring those devilish oak gnats to get us in the slight breeze. Mostly they won.

The first part of the day was climbing gently in the friendly forest of yesterday then we hit a big burn area where there were lots of trees, only they were all burned and afforded no shade for the heat challenged. However the ground was covered in mounds of lupine and the smell was intoxicating. Too bad they only made enough shade for rabbits.

When MG and I finally got moving it was like walking in an oven. Fortunately the trail was all downhill but even at that it was hard going. After an hour and a half I came around a corner and there was Soup, hunkered down in the shade of some big old boulders. Well, I couldn't hardly let him sit there by himself so I joined him. Apparently he took shelter when his thermometer hit 97 degrees. MG joined us in time and we stayed there discussing the next section and before you know it we had talked ourselves into bypassing the 12 miles of walking in sand over moguls made by illegal motorcycling.

Maybe it was the heat but the thought of doing that hike tomorrow in the extreme heat filled me with dread. At 4:30 it was still 89 degrees but we donned our packs and off we went to hike the remaining five miles to the Kelso Valley cache. Instead of crossing the road to walk the trail we turned left and made our way down the Kelso Valley Rd. Within 20 minutes we got a ride to Sageland, which is really nothing but a junction of two roads now but was once a thriving mining community.

As luck would have it this is also where Tunnel Spring is located and after some looking about Soup found it. Clear, cold, piped spring water. So we are camped amongst the sage and willows, just a short walk from the spring. I even got to rinse the dirt off of me before bed. Bliss.

I suppose I should feel guilty about my tendency to cut out parts of this trail that, for whatever reason, I decide not to hike. But really, I don't. Once I decided to stop thinking of it as a thru hike I've been liberated from having to hike areas where misery is dominant. Of course there will be discomforts but misery is over-rated in my book.

It has been hard for me today to be missing the grand opening of The Tannery Studios. It is a big thing and I so wish I could have been there. Again, I tried all day to get a cell signal so I could call Angela but no go. The hills in these parts are not sullied by cell towers. Dang!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29th Leaving town

Well, my food for the next five days is packed, the morning taxi ride ordered and my stuff in the general area of my backpack. That's close though for tonight. I am very ready to get back on the trail, if only to get through this area so I can get to the Sierras. Even though the guidebook calls this the beginning of the Sierra chain I don't believe it. As soon as I can carry one liter of water instead of three, I won't believe I'm in the Sierras. This carrying so much water is getting very old.

This image is from the gardens next to my motel, the no-tell motel.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28th Tehachapi Town

Nothing exciting here. Wandered around town, found the thrift stores and the Mexican food spot. I'm trying to figure out the next section, water sources and daily mileages. Only two water sources in the next 38 miles... that makes for some long days and lots of miles. It's good I've had a
chunk of time off. I'll have needed it.

Just a pretty desert sunset.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27th The Ranch Motel, Tehachapi

Well, thanks to Stacey I am ensconced in a 1950's like motor lodge, the kind from my youth. I'll be here a couple of days readying myself for the next two weeks of hiking. See for yourself!