3 May 2021
Tehachapi Willow Road to Golden Oaks Spring
PCT Mile 558.5 to 583.8
I was up late last night planning this next leg of the trip. My section hikes of the PCT ended up at Tehachapi Pass, so I will finally be getting to new trail. Yay!
I got a ride back to the PCT this morning with Cheryl, a trail angel who also hosts hikers in her home with her husband Ted. In the car with us was another hiker who had stayed with them, Sugarfoot.
There was lots of construction traffic on the way, but we finally got there about 7:30am.
The first 8 miles up to highway 58 were a smooth rolling climb and then quick descent through yet another wind farm. It went very quickly in the cool morning air, and the crazy winds from the past two days were gone.
On the descent I found a ravine near the switchbacks that was full of sand so I jump-skied that all the way down to the road, where I had to empty my shoes!
On the other side of the highway there was a water cache. I loaded up with 4 liters! This is a very dry stretch coming up, with no natural water until the end of my 25 mile day today.
And then I started the new part. Coincidentally, this is also the place where Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, started her hike of the PCT. I thought about her today, especially since she hiked so few miles per day in a place where water is so scarce. Her pack must have been crazy heavy with all the water she needed!
The trail follows the highway for a couple of miles and then begins a 2,000 foot ascent. I took a break halfway up where Sugarfoot passed me.
The climb was tough, but once at the top the views of this high desert were colorful and lovely, like some spots in southern Utah.
Towards the end of the day I caught up with Sugarfoot and we hiked together for a while. He’s a retired field biologist fin Humboldt County and now Portland who worked for the Department of the Interior. He actually got to take President Obama snorkeling when he visited the Midway Atol to turn it into a giant marine preserve. Neat!
At the top of our last climb we ran into Skyfox, Teresa, Andrew, and Monte, all lounging in the shade. We joined them in the shade and I decided to take a break while they went ahead.
I enjoyed the last stretch by myself, listening to Lightning Bug and marveling at the new terrain.
Everyone was congregated at the spring, including now Max, Amazon, and James (not me!). It was a slow but very clear trickle. I got to use my new Sawyer Squeeze and it worked great!
Amazon said they put grates on the sides of the troughs below the pipes at these springs so mice that have fallen in can climb out. I guess it’s better than having dead mice floating in it!
I had dinner with Teresa, Andrew, Monte, and Skyfox, and then hit the sack in my tent carefully wedged into the crook of an ancient oak where I could find a flat place to sleep.
I love seeing things
That are new for the first time
With wild childlike eyes