Days 31 & 32: Tehachapi

After our night at the surprise water cache, we got up early and started hiking by 5. The past few days of heat and odd hours caught up with us, and we were not getting along well most of the morning. It was another warm one, walking through a huge wind farm as we made our way toward Tehachapi. At least today the wind was blowing! There are two roads into town that cross the trail, eight miles apart. Although it’s easier to get a ride from the first road, we opted for the second highway as there is a long dry stretch out of town and we want to minimize the extra water weight. As we came down to a trailhead a mile before the highway, we were offered a ride from some day hikers headed home. We were glad to get a ride but hesitant because we didn’t want to skip the final mile to the road crossing (even though it was a road walk, we are purists about having a continuous footpath). They drove down to the road crossing and waited for us to walk there! Trail angels are so great. They are a great reminder of how many kind and generous people there are from all walks of life. We were in town by noon, having hiked 17 miles, and planned to stay 2 nights and have a full zero day. We got laundry, shopping and other chores finished to fully enjoy a lazy day off.

Our zero day did involve a couple extra errands, but walking around trail towns is a great way to socialize with other hikers, catch up with people you haven’t seen in a few days and also meet a few new people. Because hikers are used to being outside all the time and we have no home to go to, loitering is a big part of town life. Hikers can be found outside the grocery store, on restaurant patios, at the gas station or local outfitter, or any other business that welcomes hikers. We’re dirty and smelly and to the untrained eye we look like homeless people. In trail lingo, we are hiker trash!

We had our errands finished early and spent most of the day watching television (mostly cartoons). We even ordered pizza delivery so we wouldn’t have to walk! Taking advantage of the internet, we downloaded music and podcasts to listen to for the next stretch. So far we have not listened to the headphones, but the next few days will be hot and dry so we decided to have some extra motivation ready. It’s hard to believe we will be in the snow in just a couple weeks. In about 150 miles we leave the desert and enter the Sierra.