Yesterday, I heard a staff member from the Tehachapi airport ask if 10 am would be an ok time to water the lawn where the hikers sleep, and to please pass the word on.
Well, at 3 am, the sprinklers all popped up and fired off, and it was a bit traumatic for about 30 of us. Six-2 and I were cowboy camping at the time. Fast asleep, I was suddenly hit with water, staring up at the clear night sky, not understanding what had happened. On the sprinkler’s second revolution, Six-2 fell upon it like it was a grenade and held it off to one direction while I tried to get my bearings and get some of our gear clear. Foolishly, we moved to the most distant part of the same lawn before connecting the dots that the sprinklers were divided into segments of grass and they functioned for a set period of time, before the next segment turned on. So again, an hour later, we realized it was time to move off of the grass all together and we slept in a concrete alley on the side of a hangar.
The runway was strewn with gear today drying out.
The day is already warming up and we are all tired, but we know the big miles ahead of us.
The place where we will be getting on trail today is where Cheryl of “Wild” fame began her hike back in the 90’s. Our understanding is that it isn’t a good place to start, as it’s a dry section with a lot of climbing. We have to go 85 miles in the next 72 hours. There is a very narrow window of time that I need to be at Walker Pass (10am-11am on Saturday morning), otherwise I’ll miss a concert in LA….so the pressure is tangible to really go hard the next 3 days.
Here we see the signs of Stage 4 dehydration. The Smiths:
This was my first late night-hike of the trail, with Six-2 rockin’ tunes on his phone the whole time. It was a surreal, kinda eerie experience to see windmills flashing on and off in the distance, while Snoop Dogg played in the dark. Six-2 also felt the lights reminded him of a Japanese horror film, so he’d occasionally voice things like ‘come to the light’ in his best Japanese accent.
EXTRA: Joe Brewer has an excellent video showing this stretch of trail from Mojave (Mile 558) To Walker Pass (Mile 652). I highly recommend subscribing to his channel: