We took a zero in Tehachapi. I have come to understand the importance and the absolute joy of a zero. Only 3 short weeks ago I was questioning why we needed to take a day off from hiking. It was what I came out here to do. We showered. The luxury of hot water pounding on our weary backs is heavenly. Our clothes were washed and cleaned . We ate real food . The first meal out we went to a hole in the wall Greek restaurant . I had a Greek salad with grilled lamb. It was fabulous . We went to Vietnamese for lunch and had warming soups . Our next dinner we indulged in another hole in the wall barbecue restaurant. I hadn’t eaten ribs since Shroomers party and before that years ago. I must say. My body is not used to so much food. We drank fabulous refreshing beers. The Colonel shared some of his favorites with us and we indulged . We laughed .
We also needed to shop for resupply.This was a challenge for me as I typically shop in the perimeters of a store. For my resupply I needed to shop in the middle aisles . It was like a foreign country . Foods were purchased I would never buy at home . Some of the foods inhabiting space in my pack, newtons fig bars, Reese’s peanut butter cups, idahoan potatoes, carnation instant breakfast and other divine foods.
A zero is not a rest day. Sure one has time to ice a knee, while sipping a beer, as clothes are washing, blogs are bring written , planning the upcoming trail while evaluating water reports, weather and possible camp spots. We are also researching possible places to eat, and ways to get to post office, pharmacy and grocery stores. Walking even two blocks is a difficult task on a zero day!
We hitched a ride to the trailhead . A woman picked us up and was competently flabbergasted as to why we were walking to Canada. She then expressed how impressed and amazed she was. It was a great ride.
We started the trail late.It was an extremely windy start. It was windier than Patagonia. My poles felt useless , when I was able to use them the intensity with which I held them created major stress to my traps and rhomboid muscles of my shoulder blades. Many times I felt as if I could be blown right off the mountain . It was frightening and exhausting. We would duck into the shelter of wind blown trees as we could . Even a minutes rest was invaluable .
The second half of the day wasn’t as tough, but it was a very long 18 miles . The water source was okay. It was a cow trough and looked less than desirable . We located a cistern up the bend and scooped water from that. It looked a little cleaner .
It was a challenging day. We are nestled like sardines in a tiny campsite we found lying right below the wind farm. It’s blades creating a ringing kind of a noise . I am told that studies have been done on people who live near these farms and typically the waves of energy emitted make it hard for people to sleep. We shall see !
It’s really cold and I didn’t feel like eating. I just snacked. I really just want to sleep . I ate a Reese’s peanut butter cup , nuts, and cornuts.
The trail today was a meandering path. Nothing too steep. I enjoyed it. At times challenging , at other times not. We made the transition between high desert and sierras today. It felt awesome to be walking on pine needle covered trails . I thought a bit about my post where I spoke about false summits. I realized that even if the top isn’t exactly the top and even if it isn’t what you expected , there are still some sweet surprises . Like the wind upon your face. Like a short moment where the trail flattens out and gives some respite .
We are in a forest now. We have our water supply set . We need to carry larger amounts of water than we have in the past as the upcoming water sources are bleak.
It’s funny how the mind wanders .Even here on the trail. One would think you could leave behind silly insecurities , fears and needs . But , those things are still there. I still struggle with little insignificant things wandering about my awareness. I think the thing I most want to accomplish is the ability to let go of silly nothings.
We awoke to 24 degrees and frozen water bottles. I was very cold. I struggled getting up. It’s hard when the temperature is that low and my breakfast is cold carnation instant breakfast. I got myself up and running and took off.
The trail wandered through an old fire area . It must have been really old as the trees were bleached by the sun. As unfortunate as a fire is, it was quite beautiful as the sun was rising and shining through. The trail descended for 7 miles towards a water cache. I had almost 10 pounds of water in my pack because water was uncertain in this section. The cache was empty. I met Barrel on the trail and he said the cache 20 miles ahead was full.
The descent took me back into the high desert. The trail ascended for miles. The sand was deep. The sun was hot. I walked solo. It was a really contemplative walk. There were prints on the trail that I assumed were a cat of some sort . It sure put me in the present moment.
I met up with Poco , WhyNot?! And Spirit for lunch. We decided to get to the next cache and then climb a few miles up to find our campsite.
An amazing walk down into Lake Isabella. The trails were lined with beautiful shades of purples, magenta, and yellows. Many lessons from the trail today. I was thinking about all the excuses , the petty things we come up with on a day to day basis so that we don’t have to do this or that . Those little aches and pains that arise and we use them as reasons for not completing or even starting a project. Out here, on the trail , there are no excuses. You either keep walking, or you get off the trail. I find myself giving less power to those things that I would let stop me before. My body does hurt. I have daily pain. New hindrances pop up daily. But, I walk on. I must. What is important has changed.
The other thing that came up for me as I was rounding a corner thinking, this looked just like the last bend in the mountain, that it really wasn’t the same . This portion of the trail was lined with purple flowers of varying shades, the last with oak trees. I heard birds singing on this portion and the last I was thinking of mountain lions. My point, those of us that get up daily thinking we are living a ho hum life and that it is all the same, day in and day out, it isn’t the same. Open your eyes . Listen deeper. Your life us made up of little treasures , put together, they make up the beautiful tapestry that is our life …
Lastly for this section. I wanted to tell you what a thru hiker diet looks like. The foods I ate today were : carnation instant breakfast, non fat dry milk, via coffee, almonds and coconut, cornuts, chips, cheese , sausage , kashi bar, probar bolts, root beer float, salad, fries, patty melt and a beer .. So far!! It is 5:30 in the evening .
I walk on
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Today we left Agua Dulce, home of the most loved trail angel Donna Saufley. To my dismay however, she was not here. Her son was getting married in Carmel. I was bummed, however the spirit and energy of this woman permeated the essence of her open home.
We spent a zero here . I tried to get some rest . I have not been able to sleep well because of knee pain .I spent the day preparing my food for the next five days, updating my blog and pictures, and resting my body .
I found it hard. I wanted to be on the trail . But honestly , truly I needed the day off .
While kicking back on the patio , drinking a beer and chatting with other hikers , I heard someone down by the tents yelling frantically at someone , or some thing. I walked down to my tent and Spirit was laughing trying to share a story with me…she said one of the horses which was in the coral right next to our
tent, had reached under the tent and grabbed my backpack and was preparing to take it away. I think the horse wanted to use my pack as a salt lick… It was full of salt from the sweat off my body the day before !!!
We left at6 am . We were prepared for an early 2000 foot climb. It was to be spread over 8 miles so it was no big deal . It was an easy climb. I was struck by many things as we were climbing . As we rounded each switchback in the trail I thought to myself .. Have we not hit the top yet ? It must be around the next bend . We have been climbing for so long. It must be the top.
I thought of how many times in life we are dealing with situations where the end is never in sight . Where the climb just keeps getting tougher with no respite . I thought of situations in life where the bad just seemed to keep piling up . Right when I thought it was going to get easier yet another switchback ,or another roadblock or another unresolved issue placed right in front of me .
What I realized today is that there is always a top to the mountain. Always an end to the roadblocks, always a light at the end of the tunnel . If we can only remember this. If we can only accept that there are and will be false summits . If we can only accept that it will get easier, evening in the bleakest of circumstances .
We hiked 24 miles today to the infamous. Casa de Luna. It’s a crazy kind of place . I don’t think I like it all that much , yet the camping is quite sweet . There were probably 25 of us . Terri Anderson made her famous taco salad. We drank beer, ate and laughed. I went to bed early as I was so freezing. I was actually shaking. Once I snuggled deep inside my bag
the shaking dissipated.
We got a late start as Terri made pancakes for breakfast. Because of the Powerhouse fire we had a detour. A twenty mile road walk . It was a very long, cold road walk. The body , especially the knees and feet are whipped. We arrived at Hiker Town tired , sore and hungry.
There are 10 of us here for the night. Preparing for the LA Aquaduct walk and the Mojave desert.
Life is full of challenges. Remembering that life is about change, is what is important. Weathering the storms, believing it will abate and it will get easier is what we must do . Embracing the difficult will make the easy,the light , so much brighter.
I walk on