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Kristin "Mouse" Schoonveld
Begins: May 26, 2016
Date: Thu, Jun 2nd, 2016
Start: Sawmill Camp, mile 498
End: Highway 138, mile 518
Trip Distance: 34.0
Entry Visits: 744
Journal Visits: 20,040
Guestbook Views: 1,374
Guestbook Entrys: 53
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Hot. So very, very hot. And it's going to be even hotter. It's one thing to walk across the Mojave in early June with a 30 lb pack. But there is a heat wave hovering over the desert this week and temps are a good 10-15 degrees hotter than normal. What luck! But I'm not going to worry about it right this minute and spoil the nice clean white sheets and delicious air conditioning in the Bakersfield motel room in which I am currently languishing. Bakersfield? Yup. I'll explain.
I walked out of the Sawmill Campground yesterday morning at 4:30am. Stumbled around in the dark with my headlamp for 10 minutes trying to find the connector trail back down to the PCT. Probably woke up a lot of sleeping hikers with the erratic flashing of my headlamp beam. I think I mostly kept the cursing under my breath.
The one nice thing about hiking in the desert is that it forces you to restrict your movements to the edges of the day; early morning and late evening. And these just happen to be, in my opinion, the most beautiful hours of the day. THe other wonderful thing about the desert is the fragrance. The sage is especially refreshing but there are all kinds of flowers blooming right now and some fill the air with and almost tropical, sweet scent. It's a much appreciated distraction from the heat and the dryness. Whew.
I hiked for a few relatively cool hours and reached the Horse Camp before 9 am, about 10 miles from where I started. I stopped for about half an hour and ate my lunch, or second breakfast: tuna, cheese, cucumbers, corn chips, peanut m&m's. All scrumptious and washed down with a precious half liter of water. I left Sawmill with just under 4 liters and topped up at the Guzzler at 505. (Highly recommend getting water here rather than at the spring at 508, which is running but is hardwork getting down to and back up from.)
Hit the trail again at 9:30 and pushed all the way to the highway with one short break 4 miles from camp. Hot. Twisty. Very twisty with many seemingly pointless zigzags in the last 5 miles that were a ittle exasperating. I tried hard not to get too frustrated. Hiking in this heat is too hot and tiring to be frustrated. It's essential to maintain a calmness and passivity. I looked around while I walked looking for interesting details. ANd then I noticed the strange music surrounding me: a quirky syncopation of footsteps, trekking pole taps, and backpack squeaks that was fascinating! It made me wonder what other music there is in the world that I've been unconscious of.
Arrived in a state of numb exhaustion with Doug waiting. We hopped into the van and headed for town. We ended up in Bakersfield which was unexpected. Also unexpected was the dinner we enjoyed at The Noriega Hotel, a famous, historic restaurant that provides traditional boarding house style communal Basque meals. There used to be a lot of Basque sheepherders in Bakersfield and I'd always known it was a great place to try Basque cooking. It was fantastic, both in terms of quality and quantity. Plate after plate of food arrived, wine flowed, and we met two local gentleman who have been eating here for decades. Wow.
I'm going to continue lounging in coolness for as long as I can...until checkout time at 11 this morning. Need to get my food prepped for the next leg to Tehachapi which I will start tonight when it's cooler. It will never be cool.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org