PCT40 – 652 – Lake Isabella

The days are starting to blur a little. Its getting harder and harder to do these summaries without going back to my notes. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, I think we’re all a little beat down and suffering from a little Trail Depression. I have lost 16 lbs since I started, which is more than my base weight. I’m pretty tired. On the AT it’s called the Virginia Blues; I’ll have to think of the proper analog. Tired of being tired, I guess. But I’m excited to hit real mountains!

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This is a picture-heavy post, as I’m short on time before we hitch out. It will also be some time until the next one, given the high terrain and lack of coverage. The mountains are a big wildcard right now, as they just got more snow.

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Escape from Tehachapi

Because the Trail provides, and because Cherry Bomb is charming, we managed not only one, but two Trail angels and got out of Tehachapi at 1pm. This was after gorging ourselves at the bakery of course. Not everyone wanted to leave.

We had read a lot about how wild and remote this section was, and it lived up to its name. Hot desert, rugged hillsides, minimal light pollution, and extremely spotty cell coverage. We loved it.

We only did 11 that first day which seemed entirely uphill out of the highway pass (it wasn’t).

Great to see Painter painting again.

Mojave Green

Down off the ridge into the heat, where I saw what I think was a Mojave Green rattler. Highly venemous, with both hemo AND neurotoxins.

Back up high, we crossed into some private land. There were reports of cows molesting hikers, but we saw none. Just poop. After a cold, windy night, we got to do the morning climb in the fog. Much better than the heat, in fact, we’ve dodged a lot of heat. Walking along the high ridge in the clouds, it was utterly silent at times.

Hit 600 miles, hard to believe. Mexico seems so far away.

Working our way up, we crossed into some gorgeous pine forest. There, a USFS crew was doing road work. I heard thunder, and one of the crew looked up and said, “we’re going to get hit hard”. I immediately checked my pack, made sure that the raingear was outside, and everything was wrapped. 5 minutes later, the rain started, quickly turning to snow, then hail.

As with all things, it passed. But it was epic; blowing sideways, beating down on my umbrella. It also sort of washed my legs.

The High Desert

We kind of kept the brakes on this stretch, since it was only 86 miles. A good four and a half days, but not 4.

And here we are, crammed in at the RV park, where for ten bucks you can pitch your tent and take a shower. But watch out for the cockroaches – actual ones, not hikers.

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