I am currently in the town of Lake Isabella, 35 miles away from the trail. I couldn’t decide whether or not to send a resupply box here or not because I heard that hitching here (and getting a ride back to the trail) was incredibly difficult! But this town supposedly has the best milkshakes on the trail!
It was decided for me, however, when my sleeping pad blew away from underneath me while I was camped on a sloped ridge on an extremely windy night with four miles to hike to get to a road to hitch into the town of Mojave.
That was my worst night on the trail!
The winds have been unbelievable! Extremely high and constant. There are windmills everywhere in this section!
(And that was, by far, my toughest hitch yet! I stood out in the wind and cold for over an hour and no one picked me up until the only trail angel in town came by to deliver another hiker to the trail).
Anyway, luckily my sleeping pad was the only thing the wind stole. I had been using my down jacket as a pillow and when I lifted my head up to see why my hip was hurting so much, it flew away as well! I quickly struck out my arm to grab it! And I saw that not only did I roll off my pad, but there was no pad there at all! I switched on my headlamp to try to see if it was anywhere nearby, but you can only see, at best, a foot around you.
So, with freezing cold hands, I texted the people who are sending my resupply boxes to ask them to send one of my replacement pads to Lake Isabella- 94 miles away. The winds never died down!
I decided to take a zero day here after hiking 27.5 miles yesterday (and an additional mile and a half to get from the diner to my motel room afterwards!). I hiked the 94 miles in 4 days.
Tomorrow, I will get a late start, but a guaranteed ride back to the trail with Salty’s Dad. Then, I have 51 miles until I reach Kennedy Meadows- the gateway to the Sierras! A whole different hiking experience to get prepared for! I personally can’t wait to be reunited with my regular hiking outfit. This desert get-up is not working for me! The skirt is altogether too big and the button down, stained brown shirt is not doing anything for me. And my hat is way too floppy!
Muk Muk and UB are days behind. I will hang out in Kennedy Meadows on the 1st so I can see Dr. Sole (he will arrive that afternoon). And then we will see who else is there and whether I can wait for Muk Muk and UB or not!
I’ve been hiking consistently and like to stay ahead of the “herd” so I can occasionally have my own space. That is when I feel happiest- just me and the mountains. But sometimes, it’s nice to hike with people who are funny or have good stories.
I have a couple of stories from each section, but they take so long to type out, and it is past my bedtime already!
I did start having some painful problems this last section- chafing and painful callouses on 2 of my toes. And one night, I did not get any sleep at all because of the high winds, which made the next day quite miserable. Wind is my least favorite element. There is nothing you can do to escape it.
Some days are challenging out here, but other times, I feel incredibly happy and filled with gratitude for being able to be here. I am so happy I made the decision to do this.
I’ve hiked 652 official trail miles and still have well over 2,000 more to hike before I get to Canada! Sometimes, it boggles my mind!
Some of the men out here are amazed at me because the weight of my pack is twice the weight of theirs, and yet I continue to hike strong and consistently. One guy said, “I’m doing all I can with a pack that weighs 20 pounds. Yours weighs twice as much and yet you hike faster and farther. I don’t know how you are doing it!”
I met a nice man, originally from Romania, who was hiking southbound for the Memorial Day weekend. He said to me, “You’re a strong girl!”.
Thank you, sir. That I am.
A lot of people have been saying that they are “finished with the desert” for quite some time now, but I am happy that I have been content to be where I am and not wanting to be anywhere else.
I have no idea what the conditions are like in the Sierras now- how much snow and ice, what equipment is needed, or how dangerous the creek crossings are going to be.
I’ll just take it as it comes and see when I get there!
(We have entered more remote areas with no cell reception and this will continue throughout the sierras, so I am not sure when I will be able to update this again…)
Thanks for reading and thank you for your patience!