Day 34 Mile 549.7 – 566.5
Elevation: ascent 1,651 ft, descent 4,113 ft
Last night we found a nice protected tent site over looking Rosamond and Lancaster. As we were falling asleep we could hear the wind whipping through the trees above and were super happy we had chosen this site as the tent was barely moving. When we got up at our usual 6:00 we found the temps to be cool and the air calm. We were packed up and ready to go in about 45 minutes, which is a bit faster than our usual. Maybe this was due to both of us being motivated to get on the trail in cooler temps and also to get to our pick up spot as we are heading home for our last bit of rest and relaxation.
Most of the morning was a gradual descent down towards the road which leads into Tehachapi. As we descended down the mountain we found ourselves entering another wind farm. This one seemed to be larger and went on as far as our eyes could see. We were also treated with an increasing number of wild flowers which definitely helped the landscape. Without the colors it would have been a relatively mundane hike as the hillsides lacked trees as there had been an apparent burn here in the past. We made it the first 8.5 miles in about 3 hours, when we ran into Rabbit again. He was camped with a friend of his who came to visit and was looking to take a Zero on the trail. We caught up with him and were even treated to freshly smoked Croatian sausage and bread, which his friend had brought and was cooking up over a smoke pit. So delicious!
This area is pretty dry with very few water sources to rely on. There was another water cache right at the Tehachapi/Willow Spring Road maintained by local trail angels, which helped us avoid carrying water for the whole day. I can’t imagine how much harder this trail was for those who completed it years ago, prior to the support we have seen. Today was pretty warm, not as bad as yesterday but still hot enough to increase our thirst levels.
After crossing the road we found ourselves walking through the middle of the wind farm and up and over rolling hills. The sky today was spectacular as the crisp blue skies were highlighted with high clouds stretching from one horizon to another. We also found that this is when we had the opportunity to walk through some the largest and most amazing meadows littered with wild flowers. We had mostly been seeing a lot of poppies and yellow flowers but then we turned the corner to find a large hillside covered in purple. The amount of Lupin and smaller purple flowers blooming was incredible. The only thing that made it even better was the smell. Our noses went into overdrive as the perfume smell being released made us forget how much we actually stink after sweating the majority of the day for a week straight. Lets face it no matter how any wipes we use it just doesn’t get the job done….LOL.
The time we stopped to chat with Rabbit and the amount of time we were stopping to take pictures cut into the ability for us to stop for lunch as we did have a time we hoped to meet our trail angels coming to pick us up from home. Once we crested our last hill we could see Hwy 58 below which was our pick up spot. We still had about 4 miles to go and only an hour until our ride was suppose to arrive. So we did what we seem to always do on days like this. We put our legs into overdrive. The highway didn’t seem far but the number of switch backs and the how long each one was made the descent seem like it was going to take forever.
We got down to where the trail joins a road and leads to the highway with only 20 minutes left and 1.3 miles to go. It is really funny how hitting pavement becomes so painful after our bodies have gotten use to travel on a dirt path. Our motivation over rode the pain in our feet as we arrived to the pick up location right on time. Maddie and Max (our two children) had come off the highway right as we were walking up. What impeccable timing!! It was so great to see them and they even brought some surprises. We were treated to some wet wash clothes, this was probably more for them than us for the two hour ride home…LOL. They even brought us fresh clothes to put on and COLD drinks. What a treat after only having warm/hot water to drink the past 3 days.
We are now home and plan to spend about a week here as we figure out the logistics for the rest of our hike. When we return we will have 134 more miles of what is considered the desert section and then we will be entering the Sierras. With the high snow pack we aren’t in a rush to get there just yet. Some hikers have entered already and reports are the Sierras are covered in snow which is making travel slow (10 miles a day tops). Our bodies are glad for a little rest as we refuel our bodies with food.
We will begin posting again once we return to the trail. Link