Health: Other than the remaining blisters, I feel pretty swell.
Currently reading: The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy & James
We awoke to the sounds of a donkey and rooster. The rooster was walking through the sea of tents of would make everyone jump if he decided to call out just outside their tent. I FaceTimed my mum and niece and showed her the horses and chickens.
It was nice to have a lazy, slow morning. We called an Uber at 9:30 along with Radio and Eliza to go into LA and the REI. At REI I bought a new pair of shoes. I ended up getting a size 10 which is a whole size larger than my original pair and 1 1/2-2 sizes larger than my normal shoes size! My feet have grown so much! I also like to have insoles and wear two pairs of socks, so I need extra space. The shoes do feel huge, but as long as they aren’t rubbing on my blisters, I’m ok.
We both also got camelback type bladders because we hope it will encourage us to drink more water.
We’ve both been having backpack problems so we decided to look at what they had. Mother Hen found one that might work for her, but to my dismay, REI literally doesn’t have a bag that will fit me. Let me explain…My bag has always been as tight as it can possibly go on my waist. Now, I don’t have the tiniest waist by any means, but it’s on the smaller size I guess. But since being on trail and losing some weight the fact that I can’t tighten the waist strap anymore means that most to all of the weight of the bag goes on my shoulders. Hence the problem. The REI guy measured me and put me at an xsmall. He brought out all the xsmall bags they had (even those with customisable waist bands and KIDS backpacks) and they were all still to big! What the heck?! I mean, should I take that as a compliment or be bummed I can’t find a backpack? Anyway, no dice on a new pack.
We ate Subway for lunch and resupplied at a grocery store that would hopefully be less expensive than in Agua Dulce. We got an Uber back and started to pack up camp. We wanted to get out and not be tempted to stay for an extended time. Hiker Heaven was really nice. I bought more food this time because I had been hungry the last week, but unfortunately I got to much and it was really, really hard to fun into my bag. It was bursting at the seems. We said bye to our friends and went down for a final hot meal at the bar and grill. I got a caprese sandwich and strawberry lemonade.
We headed out and had a two mile road walk to start. Our bags were so heavy. Once we got off the road and back on trail my #1 priority was to find a place to pee. I had to go SO BADLY. We finally found a few bushes I could jump behind and seeing as it was 7:00pm and seemingly no one was around and I jumped back there to relieve myself. Just as I was in the middle of my business we look up on the ridge and apparently group, sunset horseback riding tours are a thing in these parts and they all got a great look at me in my vulnerable state. “If you look this way you’ll see the town of Auga Dulce in the distance, over to your right is the famous California state flower, and below is the rare PCT Thru-hiker answering nature’s greatest call.” Worse still, we had to then pass the group, I refused to make eye contact with any of them. I also peed on my new shoes and clean trousers when I attempted to pull them up as fast as humanly possible.
We only walked about four miles and then cowboy camped on the side of the trail. We kept hearing noises but didn’t let it bother us. We later heard about other hikers seeming coyotes in the area but thankfully that was not our experience.
Miles: 20 miles to Casa De Luna
Health: My feet hurt because of the miles but the shoes feel good.
Currently reading: The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy & The Last Black Unicorn & James
We set our alarms for 4:00am but stayed laying and looking at the stars for thirty minutes. We saw two great shooting stars. Once we got up we had twenty miles to do and it was a mix of up and down hill. The terrain was pretty typical alpine desert and I just ate so much food to avoid carrying it.
I’ve just decided to collect as many trail names as I can, at this pint I’m up to five: Oz, BunBun, Taco Bell, Air Mattress, and Sasquatch.
We arrived in Green Valley and immediately got a ride from a trail angel to Casa De Luna. Casa is another trail angel’s house who allows hikers to camp in their huge forested backyard. They also usually make dinner and breakfast for the hikers.
We arrived and set up camp, grabbed a mandatory Hawaiian shirt, and went to the cafe (Heart and Soul) in town. I always want coconut water and Mother Hen always wants milk. We’re simple beings.
Terri Anderson and her crew made taco salad for everyone and it was so good! After dinner she has a dance party where you have to dance for her to get your official PCT 2018 bandana. I went to bed soon after as I hadn’t slept super well the night before.
I’ve been asked a few times about how I’m making my vlogs so I thought I’d just fill you all in. I shoot them on my iPhone 7 and just use the iMovie app. My music comes from audioblocks.com or royalty free music sites.
Miles: 15.5 to mile 493
Health: Feeling good!
Currently reading: The Last Black Unicorn & The Westing Game & James
We got up at six and left Casa De Luna by 7:30. We skipped the pancake breakfast because we both had so much food already.
We had to gain a fair amount of elevation today, which made for a very slow Grace. I always feel bad because I’m usually so far behind Mother Hen but then I remember that she’s got quite a few inches on me so she’s able to easily go faster. Pride restored. I’ve been eating so much more not only to try and keep my energy up but also to get my bag as light as possible. I’ve been drinking more since I got the Platypus bladder.
We took a long break half way through the day where we ran into Skunk, Talia, and Twilight.
We made camp at an abandoned campground half a mile off trail. Well, down from trail. That’s gonna suck tomorrow morning. No one else camped there which was cool but a bit creepy. The campground closed a year or two ago but Thru-hikers can still utilise the space. There are old, decrepit outhouses, rubbish bins grown over with plants, and picnic tables falling apart. The little stream for us to collect water was overrun with poison oak but we knew to watch out for it this time. We stayed up until 8:00pm talking and laughing about our experiences. We may have even danced a bit, you’ll have to watch the vlog! We fell asleep to the sound of an owl and an obnoxious laughing bird.
Health: Tired but pretty good
Currently reading: The Westing Game & Something Wicked This Way Comes & James
Today started out so, so great! We left camp at about 7:30 and the trail was just so lovely. I always start out my mornings listening to some Jesus music because I find it puts me in a good place and God’s glory is magnified on trail in the mornings. It’s just so beautiful.
About five miles from camp we had to stop and get water from the Sawmill camp ground. Little did we know that we would basically have to summit Everest to get water. The campsite was a good half mile up hill and then the water was on top of another hill. Once we got to the cistern, which was hidden and super hard to find, we had to figure out how to reach the water. It was a challenge. I felt like I needed a whole other liter of water by the time we finally got the water.
We hiked on and had another cistern in which we had to get water but this time we had to grapple with both bees and using a makeshift scoop made out of an old Smartwater bottle and duct tape.
We then passed the 500 mile marker! Woohoo! This one felt so good to pass! Only 2,150 more miles to go!
The rest of the day went downhill both literally and figuratively. My feet started to hurt bad and the trail just went on and on and on. We ended up cowboy camping in a little grove of bushes and slept under the stars. We stayed up talking until 10pm and saw the best shooting star either of us has ever seen.
Health: Will I ever not write that my feet hurt?
Currently reading: Something Wicked This Way Comes & Life, the Universe and Everything & James
We broke camp as quickly as possible, but not before watching the clouds for a good thirty minutes. The desert never has clouds so it was a treat to see them floating quickly across the sky.
We had almost seven miles to do this morning and although the seven miles never seemed to end, they were quite nice as the incline and decline seemed about equal. I made a friend out of a lonely goat at a farm we passed by.
We got to Hiker Town just about 10am. Our plan was to chill at Hiker Town all day, maybe nap, and then hike the Los Angeles aqueduct over night. The LA aqueduct is a notorious section of the PCT. It is 20 miles long, no water, boring as your niece’s dance recital, and also hot as hell. Most people do it overnight or in the wee morning hours.
Hiker Town is a bizarre place and we had heard mixed reviews so we didn’t really know what to think. It’s run by old Hollywood producers and you’re allowed to camp anywhere or you can pay $10-15 and stay in one of the “houses” or buildings designed to look like and old western town. We actually had a great time and didn’t really see where the negativity was coming from.
We got the shuttle to the cafe down the road and ate lunch, ice cream, and charged up our electronics. We also booked a hotel room in Tehachapi and ordered new backpacks. We both ended up with the Gregory Maven but in different sizes and colors. I talked to my Mum and sis in law on the phone briefly.
When we got back to Hiker Town we actually got to meet the guy who owns Hiker Town (old Hollywood producer) and a couple of his friends who we’re fairly sure own Shell. These fabulously wealthy old men thought we hikers were the most fascinating people on the planet. One of them couldn’t get over what KP and I were making for our stove-less dinner.
We left at about 6pm and walked until about midnight. The terrain was flat which was amazing but my feet were killing me. At about 9pm we passed by a shooting range out in the middle of nowhere and they started to set off fireworks. That was a treat I bet not a lot of hikers get.
We took a wrong turn at one point and ended up on a side road. We found another road that would take us back to the PCT but as we were walking back we came upon the world’s creepiest playground out in the true middle of friggin nowhere and decided we needed to pick up the pace. It felt like the beginning of a horror movie.
We finally found a place to cowboy camp and prayed that none of the kangaroo mice we saw would bother us. They didn’t.
Health: Tired but pretty good
Currently reading: Life, the Universe and Everything & James
I’m not going to sugar coat this, I hated the trail today. This was the physically hardest day yet for me and the trail did some truly idiotic things. I’m glad tomorrow should be a good day because I was almost in tears at points today.
Well, it started by the fact that I didn’t sleep well. We got to walk through a wind farm which was actually really cool. The wind turbines are huge! But then we started to go uphill. And then more. And then more, but steeper. We spent the entire day going uphill, I think we went up something like 4500ft in elevation. It was also hot and sunny, but there was a bit of a breeze. I almost ran out of water at one point, but thankfully nothing bad happened. I’m still losing energy due to the fact that I’m just not eating enough.
The trail needlessly went up and down a massive valley today and I almost couldn’t take it. I was on the verge of tears but thankfully that’s when I saw a bunny rabbit and animals always put me in a good mood.
At the top of the Everest sized mountain we climbed we were met with trail magic. I ate an orange and a piece of cake.
Our tents are set up in a windy spot surrounded by the biggest pine cones I’ve ever seen.
Miles: 16.7 into Tehachapi
Health: Much better than yesterday
Currently reading: Life, the Universe, and Everything & James
Today was such a wonderful day! Truly, never quit on a bad day because the best is just around the corner.
We left camp about 7am and we were the last to leave. We had almost 17 miles to get into Tehachapi, where we would be taking a double zero, and it was mostly downhill. The morning was cool and had a great breeze, there was also nice cloud cover. Ideal hiking conditions. The terrain was smooth and the first half was such a gradual downhill that we blitzed through eight miles in a little over two hours.
We walked through a wind farm which meant we had to deal with windy conditions, but the views were really lovely. Rolling hills, sunlight, and giant wind turbines. Even the second eight miles which were to be much more uphill were just a pleasure. We saw a gorgeous ombre red, yellow, and black snake as well. He was to quick for me to snap a photo.
When we made it to the highway we thought we’d have to wait a long time to get a trail angel to come pick us up but we were luck that two of our hiker friends who had just been ahead of us got a ride as we walked up. We were able to jump in too! We got dropped off at our hotel for a glorious three night stay! We did laundry, showered, and ate at a Bakery down the street.
Miles: Taking a zero
Health: Resting up before hitting the Sierras soon
Currently reading: No reading today
We slept in glorious beds and ate half the free breakfast both mornings. Our first day we ran a lot of errands like resupply and to the post office
We got our new backpacks in! Mine came in a reasonably sized box while Mother Hen’s box was the size of Manhattan. We got the same pack just one size different and yet they can in such differently sized boxes. When we went back to mail them thankfully the post office had an extra box for her or it would have been $60 to ship her bag home!
We ate wonderful Taco Bell for lunch. This’ll be the last one for a while, so I appreciated every bite. We also took a bunch of sauce to spice up our meals out on trail.
We resupplied at the Dollar Store and Albertsons. Grocery stores are so great after having to resupply at convenience stores. We are planning to go straight to Kennedy Meadows so we need to resupply for seven days.
We also went to Kmart, a fabric store, a Christian store so I could get a new necklace, and out to eat. We pampered ourselves with face masks and a foot soak. We caught up with our families and rested as much as we could. Apparently the Sierras is still very snowy, so it’s good that we’re not there yet.