Tylerhorse Canyon to Tehachapi Willow Springs Road (541.5 to 558.5)
Daily miles: 16.9
I’ve lost track of what “enough” means. Full enough? Rested enough? Cold/hot enough? I wake up shivering, covered in sweat. I sleep under the stars, sand in my face, sleeping bag tossed open so that the desert creatures can come and lay next to me. Sit in the dirt during the day and chase the shade tree across the ground as the sun plays it’s games with us. Is this enough water? Do I have enough food? Is there time enough to do this thing? To whom shall I compare myself?
Hike out at 6 in the evening so that I can get to the road that takes me to a town where I can get more food and more water. This is also the first time on the PCT I’ve felt I desperately need a hotel room. If I hike fast I’ll make the road by 1 in the morning, and get a hitch early the following day.
The mountains above Tehachapi are loose sand, and sometimes my whole foot sinks in. There’s some big elevation gain this evening and it makes the going slow. But the views are spectacular and I’m hitting the ridges and saddles at the perfect time. The lights low, and the shadows are deep into the folds of the mountains.
As night falls I begin my descent and the windfarm surrounds me again. They make their strange machine-animal noises and I pull out my phone and play music into the night. Sometimes I can see headlights bobbing in the distance, coming towards me or moving away. The joshua trees are here again, and I finish my days allotment of food moments before camp. Chug water, unroll camp pad, enter sleeping bag, listen to the critters play in the underbrush and think about a cool bed in a room with air conditioning.