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Monday, May 21, 2018

PCT - Day 32: 5/20/2018 - Tylerhorse Canyon

Trail miles: 15.8 from 533.9 - 549.7
Miles hiked: 17.2

Wind Farm

Morning came much to quickly after a restless night of sleep in the gusty winds. I guess that’s to be expected when one sets up camp in a wind farm.

Wind Turbin
My legs were very heavy the first mile or so, but soon Ziploc and I found a rhythm. We walked right by the water source that was a mile from where we camped because we had enough to make it to Tylerhorse Canyon, where there was reported to be a trickle in a stream. A trickle of water that we would use as a life line.

The climb up to the canyon gained 2000 feet of elevation. We’d decided in advance that after the previous day’s 36 mile marathon that we’d shoot for a shorter day with a long midday siesta if there was good shade somewhere.

We both struggled but eventually strolled into Tylerhorse Canyon just before 11 am. After getting water, we made our way 100 yards downstream to a magnificent tree that provided all day shade. It was the only tree for miles, and we made it our lunch spot, which after eating we converted to our nap time location. A hummingbird floated in front of my face briefly while I was eating and a bird shit on me while I was napping. None of this bothered me. 
Shade Tree

Even the brave rodents didn’t bother me. I was happy in my siesta spot, breathing fresh desert air with the company of a good friend I met only three weeks ago.

Desert Rodent
I slept off and on as did Ziploc. We were joined by three other hikers who also enjoyed midday naps in the desert.

Around 2:45 pm, we finally extracted ourselves from this perfect siesta spot and started another 1800 foot climb up to almost 6300 feet in elevation where we planned to camp around mile 549. The climb on any other day would have been easy. Today it was arduous though. With little sleep and legs that were working on 50+ miles in the last 30 hours each step of the climb was an exercise in determination. It was sort of surreal to look across the Mojave desert at the mountains in the far distance and realize that I was there yesterday. 

The same feeling when looking down over the wind farm where wind turbines now look like tiny toys. This morning these same turbines towered over us and dominated our attention as the shadows from the spinning blades took nearly 60 seconds of walking to escape.
Circus Act
As we started to top out on our climb, we saw two canopies set up in the middle of the sand and scrub brush. My thought was simply “Are. You. Serious.?!”


This was exactly what Ziploc and I needed at the exact time we needed it. I drank a Kool-aid, ate five cookies, and an apple. Did I mention there was cookies & cream chocolate cake?

Let me rephrase that; I was lamenting my sore feet and the sand combined with red ants in my shoes, and then suddenly I was eating a fantastic piece of fucking CAKE!!!

I gladly signed the register and left a donation as a way of saying thank you to whoever sets this magic up for us dirty sweaty hikers. The trail magic at mile 549 made a good day into a great day.

Trail Register
We sailed on a sugar rush the final mile to our camp spot. We’d heard from Opera and Tapeworm who had already made it to Tehachapi. Chilly Bin and HoosierDaddy were starting their aqueduct night hike this afternoon so they were probably 25 miles behind us. Socks had skipped a zero day at Casa De Luna and also was already in Tehachapi where she’s zeroing for a couple days to spend time with her boyfriend. Our trail family is scattered right now, but I think we’ll realign after Tehachapi or maybe by Kennedy Meadows.

I can’t believe that tomorrow I will be in Tehachapi. It seemed so far away a month ago.

I’m looking forward to getting my bounce box so I can trim my beard. I’m planning on going to the hospital to get the painful lump in my wrist looked at. I’m also looking forward to getting my new shoes since my current ones are losing tread. I wanted to get them in Tehachapi to break in the new pair before entering the Sierra.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to showering, which I haven’t done since a cold outdoor handheld shower at Hiker Heaven about 100 miles back. I haven’t had a hot shower in over ten days since leaving Wrightwood. My dirt tan on my legs has now reached new alarming levels.

8.8 miles tomorrow and then my dreams of a hot shower will be answered. The trail really makes one appreciate the simple things like showers and running water that doesn’t need to be filtered, bleached, or boiled.

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