Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 46: Mile 526.6 - Mile 547.2

I woke around 5 to a beautiful sunrise and calm, cool morning. Josh woke shortly after and we broke camp early. We continued to walk on the aqueduct for several miles and soon caught up to Backup and Horizon and walked with them for a while.

 Eventually we left the aqueduct and meandered through a wind farm where we resupplied water from a large cache. There we met with Detour, Lap Dog and Homegirl who were taking a break. It was surprisingly calm until we left the cache and then it was wind of epic proportions. I was starting to drag and took several short breaks to eat in hopes of staving off the bonk (low blood sugar) but fighting the wind was taking it's toll. I gritted my teeth and pushed thru but still admired the miles of Joshua trees that were in the shape of Dr. Seuss characters and a variety animal bones scattered about.

The trail started to climb out of the wind farm and into the Tehachapi mountains but that did nothing for the wind. All day we had watched the clouds grow and hang over the mountains and now we were almost in them. We wound our way thru miles of canyons with loose sandy soil and spider webbing dirt bike paths. The wind threatened to toss us off the mountain and we used our trekking poles to keep us up. We stopped to empty the sand from our shoes, which is a feudal endeavor, and saw we had only a short stretch to go to make it to our camp site at 18 miles. I was so happy it was early, only 2pm, and we were nearly done! I mustered all my strength and pushed thru the bonk, sand and wind to get there and be done for the day.

The trail dropped us into a large canyon that opened to the desert floor and had a large wash running thru it. It was dry and looked as if it hadn't had any water in it for sometime. The wind was whipping down the canyon so hard it took my breath away and this was supposed to be our camp site for the night. Seriously. We searched for a place more sheltered from the wind but the only place we found was INSIDE the flood channel. We sat and looked at the clouds around us threatening rain and knew we couldn't camp there. We pretended that we could for about 45 minutes and ate while trying to convince ourselves we would be ok but alas, we packed up and pushed on.

The trail gained about 2,000 feet in something like four miles out of the wash but I'm adding extra difficulty points for the wind. I hate the fucking wind. We climbed and climbed and climbed and found one potential tent site that was on top of the ridge and quasi-sheltered by a dead tree but opted to keep going hoping for a better spot. Climbing, wind, climbing, wind and then rain. Josh found a flat spot on top of another ridge that had several big rocks around it to hold down the tent stakes. It was still super exposed and windy but we didn't think it was going to get any better if we kept going in the wind and now, rain. We pitched quickly and pulled every guy line on the tent taught and into storm mode and dove inside. We did our usual evening ritual of baby wipes on our feet and getting cleaned up but tonight I put on socks and bundled up fast in my sleeping bag. It wasn't particularly cold but I just felt like I needed to be swaddled and cozy. We made a dinner of tuna and pb&j (one after the other, not together, that would be disgusting.)

Right now it's 7:45 and I hate the goddamn wind, so much. You can't even fathom how over the desert I am at this moment. Done. Over it. Fin. No mas.
The tent is smacking us both in the head and everything is covered in a layer of sand. I cannot wait to start my zero tomorrow. Did you know we haven't zeroed since big bear? I am, however, super happy we did 20 actual trail miles today and I don't feel super tore up. It's only 11 miles to the road tomorrow and some much needed R&R. I just have to make it thru this night.

Until tomorrow, unless I blow off the mountain in my tent, goodnight.


  1. Hi Mandie, sounds as though it's taking a toll on you. I'll say an extra special prayer for you..Take care!

  2. Mandie I am so proud of your hike! I will never get to tell you in person how much I enjoy both yours and J's posts. I've read them all for several years, I've gotten to know many with big names, but I've never rooted for two hikers more that you guys! I to will pray the lol "goddamn fuckin" wind stops soon!
    Btw, 20 miles? That's my girl!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! You really made both Josh's and my day! :-D

  3. I'll second Brett's comment. I've been following PCT blogs for two years now. Every morning my husband asks me, "Where are your hikers now?" Is it weird to get so addicted to the daily adventures of complete strangers? As long as it encourages me to get out and up my weekly miles, I say it's a good thing. Thanks to you and everyone else making the commitment to documenting your thru-hikes in such honest and interesting ways.