Miles today: 17.5

Trail miles: 566.5

Elevation: 3844

Spinning on the turntable: Pearl Jam: 20

I awoke with the alarm at 5AM. The darkness was just beginning to give way to daylight. I ate my overnight soaking oaks (thanks Donna!) and decided that I liked them. I’ll add them into my rotation.

The goal today was miles before the heat of the day set in. I was ready to rock and roll after breaking camp, but remembered that I had forgotten the poop kit in the van. After figuring out a workaround, that still allowed me to poop, I started hiking.

Every campsite that I walked by was already empty. The word around the water hole yesterday was that everyone was heading for a Chinese buffet in Tehachapi for lunch today.

So the goal was to hike from the campsite at the top of the screen to the town icon at the far right of the screen. It was warm

When I started hiking but there was a gentle breeze that was pleasant.

One area that I am working on while I hike is in taking pleasure from “this” moment and not being too future focused. Right now, with this gentle breeze, I am refreshed. All too often in my life I’ve ignored the momentary joys and been instead focused on the “next” potential joy.

Today was more wind turbines. They’re everywhere. I’m not great with always knowing North, South, East and West but my spacial recondition is excellent. It seemed like wind vanes were around every corner and I couldn’t keep track of any direction except “down”.

I passed two young ladies hiking “up” around 9AM. They looked beat and they had gigantic packs. I told them about the water cache at the top and wished them well. I felt really guilty that I didn’t try to convince them to abort and try again on a cooler day. They had at least six miles to go to get to the top. It’s challenging to not drop into a weird parental mode. They’re adults and I need to keep that in mind.

I did enjoy the wind farm signs. Flying debris hazard. Lord have mercy!

There was, thankfully, a water cache at the bottom of the hill. I knew that Noelle was close but I rested in the shade for a few minutes and drank a bit of fresh water that didn’t taste so dang funky. I was saddened to see that someone took a water bottle from the last cache and then discarded it here, as if the trail angel at this site were their personal garbage collection service.

I hung out with Noelle and devoured a breakfast burrito and drank a water and Snapple. I wanted to log more miles today so I opted to slack pack. I took my pack loaded with water, sun umbrella and emergency kit. Everything else I left in the van. This allowed me to pull in another eight miles today without too much physical punishment from a heavy pack.

It was way hotter than I expected!

I was soaked with sweat very quickly. Soaked like, well, soaked. The sweat was dripping off the sleeves of my shirt.

I like this 900km sign. There are days when almost everyone around me is European. I’d like to see more kilometer signs in conjunction with the miles signage.

I really liked this bridge, which sadly didn’t receive a big Guthook celebration. The bridge seemed solid to me, so here’s their contact information if you need a bridge built:

I was happy to look down and see Noelle waiting for me in the van. I was surprised to look at Guthook and see that she was still three trail miles away!

The trail wound it’s way, ever so slowly, in a serpentine pattern, down the mountain.

I watched one day hiker drop her pants and urinate on the trail. I was filled with righteous indignation until I hit the bottom of the trail and one of their hiking crew gave me a piece of watermelon. Pee on the trail all day long for all I care! The watermelon was delicious!

Speaking of the bottom of the trail, today marks the end of the Guthook section for Southern California!

I’m ready to move onto the Sierra section of the trail! Enough of this brain frying heat! I’m super excited to get to Kennedy meadows next week. KM is the 700 mile mark and the official entrance to the Sierra mountain ranges.

In the meantime, we’re taking a zero and looking for new shoes for me. I’m going to bump up to a size 15 and see if it helps my toes. The consensus from our PCT hiker FB

Group is that my toes are slamming the front of the toe box. I normally wear a size 12 shoe and started the trail with a size 13. Within 100 miles I upgraded to size 14. Now size 15 is singing a siren call.

I have two toenails that I believe are short for this world. We’ll see how much longer those little piggies want to stay and play with the team.