Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Moving from Mojave to Tehachapi

June 4: Mojave and Tehachapi are about equal distance from the PCT, in opposite directions. Both are large enough to be considered towns with full-service facilities for hikers: hotels, restaurants, post office, and real grocery stores. So some hikers end up in Mojave and some end up in Tehachapi, depending on their preference. I've been to Mojave before, and most hikers seemed to choose Tehachapi, so I had a maildrop sent to Tehachapi.

Then yet, despite my best efforts, I still wound up in Mojave. I still needed to pick up that maildrop in Tehachapi, however, and had a plan. My mom was coming out to visit. I called her and told her to find me at the Motel 6 in Mojave.

She arrived, late due to construction delays on Highway 58. I killed some time by walking across the street to Stater Bros to resupply for the next section of trail, where I bumped into Brian again--the fellow who gave me a ride into Mojave. He had a shopping cart, pretty bare except for a large case of beer. I remembered something about hearing "Geek's Law" while at the Andersons: You can't drink all day unless you start in the morning. Indeed, so very true. =)

But my mom finally arrived, and I threw my heavy pack in her car and asked her to drive me out to the trailhead where I got off the evening before so I could slackpack the eight or so miles to Highway 58. Then she'd pick me up and take me into Tehachapi. So far as I know, I'm the only hiker that's actually spending a night in both trail towns, and I got a lot of strange looks when I told the hikers in Tehachapi that I spent the previous night in Mojave. Lots of fun. =)

Mom dropped me off at the trailhead on Tehachapi Willow Springs Road, where we spotted two hikers trying to hitch a ride into Tehachapi: Karma and Detective Bubbles. We said hi, and I thought this was great because my mom didn't know her way around Tehachapi. She could shuttle Karma and Detective Bubbles around and get the lay of the land and figure out where all of the hikers in town are staying.

Karma and Detective Bubbles were happy for the ride into town. Then I started hiking with a small day pack with some water and a few snacks.

I positively zipped along the trail. The wind was powerful--I was still walking through a wind farm, after all--but the wind chill factor actually made the temperatures quite comfortable during that section despite the late start I got.

I made it to Highway 58 a half hour earlier than I anticipated, but mom had already found the spot and brought pizza for lunch. Excellent! I passed no hikers during the short little hike, and mom drove me into Tehachapi.

The first stop was the post office to pick up my maildrop. Then we checked into a Best Western. I spent most of the rest of the afternoon and evening working on these blog entries. It takes a surprisingly long amount of time to type all this stuff you read, then to upload photos and stuff. It leaves little downtime for me to just relax. Stuck in a trail town without a computer is almost a blessing.

Tehachapi is definitely a lot more tourist-ready than Mojave. There are cute little murals all over the place. The buildings look a little nicer and cleaner. But the post office and supermarket are quite a far ways off from the central area of downtown where the lodging was located. Not as easy for hikers to get around as Mojave, but certainly a lot prettier of a town.

At one point, typing solidly, I saw a shape through my peripheral vision of a rugged fellow with a heavy pack go by my window. A hiker! I looked  up, but he was already out of view. Then I saw Charmin walking past. Charmin! I set the laptop down and jumped up to the door.

"Hey, Charmin!" I hadn't seen her since Agua Dulce.

She had just arrived into town and smelled something awful. It's amazing how bad thru-hikers can smell, and I encouraged her to go to her room and take a shower. She came back about a half hour later, smelling a heck of a lot better, and caught me up with her own adventures, or misadventures, as the case sometimes is, including a crazy story of one person she was hiking with who got bitten by a rattlesnake the previous day. I cringed when she said that in front of my mom--I really didn't want mom to worry about me unnecessarily, and the chances of me being bit by a rattlesnake are pretty low in the list of things to worry about. But Jake was the fourth person in a line of hikers who hiked past the rattler, and it got him.

At first he thought maybe he got off and it only got his socks or something. There wasn't any obvious puncture marks from fangs, so he went to sleep. During the night, though, I guess Jake started vomiting and by the next morning, all of his joints were in severe pain, and he finally had to admit that he needed medical attention. He got off the trail and last Charmin had heard, he was recuperating at a hospital.

Charmin already had a certain fear of snakes--that was one of the first conversations we had ever had was about her concern of snakes--and this incident apparently has not calmed her snake jitters any. =)

Then I went back to working on these blog entries, knocking out seven of them before finally calling it quits for the night and going to sleep.

In August, I'll be participating with Amanda in the Washington Trail Association's Hike-a-Thon. If you haven't already, please consider sponsoring us. (Especially me!) The folks do great work helping to fix up and maintain trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail and help make thru-hikes such as mine possible. If you enjoy reading this blog, consider giving something back to the trails that make it possible. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

PLEASE watch out for those snakes!

Lucy Locket

HR Squirrel said...

You have too much fun : )

Anonymous said...

AGREEing with both Lucy Locket and J -- and I've also signed-up to sponsor you.... I hope others do the same -- lots of them!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Rattlesnake bites on the PCT...it was only a matter of time.

Wow. That photo of the cow and the windmills has some awesome perspective and angles.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers