Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Sparrow’

We reached Kennedy Meadows right as the sun had begun to set, painting the sky in pink and orange.  We found all kinds of people who had gotten ahead of us: Navi, Natty, Bolt, Hollywood, Mellow Yellow, and Beef Nugget.  We had gone straight to “the internet cafe” AKA Tom’s Place which was a collection of vintage trailers, hammocks, an outdoor movie theater and packed with hiker trash.

image

Trip had gotten lots of extra beer since he had made the general store hours for all of the people he knew were behind.  Natty handed us some beer as well after having quite a few drinks at happy hour.  Virgo also handed me a nice cold beer in exchange for his hat that I found 7 miles back on the trail.

We all hung out, ate dinner, then Hop-a-long and I watched the old western movie Tom had put on while Dead Animal and Gadget went with Natty to a bar a few miles down the road.  Hop and I chose to sleep on the platform under the movie screen when it was done which seemed more comfortable at the beginning of the night than in the morning.

The next day, we zero’ed to get everything done.  We had to hang out until the general store opened at 9am because we could only sleep in until about 6:30am.  We got food as soon as it opened, signed up for laundry, and waited for the showers to have enough water in the tanks.

After the alloted 5 minute outdoor shower, we set up on their large porch, opening bear canisters, dealing with food, and enjoying the loaner clothes Tom had provided.  Inspector Gadget was fully enjoying a mu-mu large floral dress with a zipper down the front.  At first he attempted the no underwear approach, but that didn’t work too well.

That night, the four of us shared a trailer which completely distracted us from an early morning start.  We meant to get up and leave before the store opened, but before we knew it, we found ourselves sitting there eating breakfast with everyone. Sparrow and Barracuda joined us in waiting forever for food.  When breakfast finished, it was already 10:30am.

Our next challenge was fitting the damn bear canister into our packs.  It upset the order of everything and added almost an extra 2 pounds.  The stupid thing made all of our packs look huge as we weighed them all on luggage scales hanging from a tree.

After that ordeal, we decided lunch was in order, so back to the general store we went where we chatted with Trip, Virgo, and the Canadians, one of which would leave before closing his tab.  Whoops.  Yogi’s guidebook even made a note to close your tab.

All of a sudden, Inspector Gadget came up with a plan.  He had convinced someone to give us a ride up to the Kennedy Meadows Campground, three trail miles ahead, and we would slackpack back to Tom’s place for Taco dinner.  In no time, we left with nothing but a map and a liter of water each, all in loner skirts for the hell of it.

The three miles was sandy and nothing remarkable happened besides finishing quickly and eating delicious tacos.  For us veggies Tom even made soy chorizo fake meat stuff which tasted delicious.

Finally, when we made it back to the trail, we decided to stealth camp in the campground.  It was a fee spot, so we just went into the trees and cowboy camped, figuring we’d be awake and gone by the time anyone checked.

The long climb began after that and the zero and nero had zapped some motivation from us.  We had to get over 10,400 feet about 20 miles in from the campground.  The first 2,000 feet up was fairly pleasant.

Eventually, we decided nap time was in order at a bridge after 12 miles.  Then, as we walked up, we see none other than Tom!  He had driven around and walked in 1.5 miles with Griffon Noir, Kushy, Crash, Dip, and one or two other hikers just bouncing between trail angels.  Tom had loaded them all up with beer, food, and margaritas which they had chilling in the stream when we arrived.  What great unexpected trail magic!

We ate and drank delicious margaritas, napped, and played in the stream for a few hours before escaping the vortex for a second time.  The going was slow and the last 2,000 feet up got steeper and steeper.  Between the higher altitude and our newly heavy packs (damn you bear can), we went super slow.

Buffet, Mr. C, June, Taka, and Flatlander made it to a nice spot with a trickling water source.  We took our chances that the last water before the top was running a little over a mile further and kept going.  Lucky for us, it was flowing better than their trickle and we had a pretty good campsite.  Dead Animal saw a small bear about halfway between their campsite and ours, running away.

In the morning, we finished climbing in the cold wind for a time.  I took some vitamin I for the headache that had grown as I climbed.  Since we have really only gone above 8,000 feet two or three times on the trail so far, my body was not used to it, combined with rapid weather changes and lugging that bear canister (the evil thing).

Once one goes up, one must go down, then of course, up some more.  We decided 10:30am was lunch time and cooked by the stream at the bottom, a mere 7 miles from where we camped.  That entire day, it seemed like we took a massive amount of breaks, and we weren’t the only ones.  Everyone felt sluggish.

We crossed Death Canyon Creek which was nasty stagnant water caked in mosquitos.  Good thing a spring was .2 off right near it!  The climb after that seemed to take forever in the heat which was uncomfortable, but not unbearable.  If we had not been at 9,000 feet at the beginning of the climb, we would have been posted up under a tree, sleeping in the shade.

Eventually, we reached the top, then down a wee bit to the water source.  We saw Dazzle’s pack by a tree, so we sat down to eat first and see what Dazzle said about the water .3 miles off.  When he didn’t come back for 40 minutes, Dead Animal and I went to investigate while Hop-a-long made quesadillas.

We found Dazzle coming back and he said it was stagnant pools at the top and to get flowing water, you had to go about .6 down.  We decided to look at the stagnant pools.  Due to tired laziness, we grabbed water there which came out surprisingly clear, but with floaties.  I somehow managed a pine needle in one bottle.  We definitely treated it since we saw some bird poop right above the deepest pool (which was about 4 inches deep) at mile 736.

Yogi’s guidebook had suddenly become infinitely more important now that AsABat’s water report for SoCal ended at Kennedy Meadows.  It was certainly a mind shift actually looking through it.

We stayed there that night because we could and we had plenty of food.  Buffet, Mr. C, Dazzle, Taka, June, and Flatlander all stayed as well.  The mosquitos were out, but not in super full force.

A mere 8 miles from a pass to town, we breezed through the first six since they primarily went downhill.  Yogi warned that the saddles were confusing and it was hard to tell which spring was in which saddle.  She was right, but other hikers had written “H2O” with an arrow in sticks and that helped a lot.  When we got to the Diaz Creek one, we found a note that said if you can make it, go 1.3 to a spring further on.  Hop-a-long, Dead Animal, and I did just that.  We hadn’t seen Inspector since he put his dress on at camp though.

We only had 400 ft of climbing to get to 10,500 where we got to drop 600 feet to Horseshoe Campground, when we ran into a guy with a dog heading south.  At once all of us knew it was Lee, Sparrow’s husband meeting up to hike with her and Barracuda.

Shortly there after, we plunged down the pass on a side trail to the road for town.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Surprisingly, we had easy hitches at dusk and right after dark.  All four of us got rides into Tehachapi for pizza.  After food, we took up residence at the cheaper Best Western (there were two) and ran into many hikers there at the morning continental breakfast.  GypcGirl was there and told us she had been there for five days, had tried to leave but got blown off the trail into a ravine, had to spend the night there, and bushwhack out back to Tehachapi.  Drop Zone appeared saying his hairline fracture in his ankle was still bothering him so he and GypcGirl decided to skip the rest of the desert and hitch to Kennedy Meadows.

We spent the day attempting to get everything done in the spread out town, and of course watching the season finale of Game of Thrones.  It was an impromptu zero day, but we got everything done, even hot tub time.  We met Dubs and The Wizard, found Voodoo and Twinkle Toes, and watched a lot of meaningless television.

The next day, we got moving.  We had a large climb out from the road, going past wind turbine after wind turbine.  For the most part, I was annoyed at the 25 dry miles and the amazing amount of water and food I was carrying.  The wind was strong for the first few miles, but I could mostly walk straight.

Then, as the climb ascended the ridge, shit got ridiculous.  First, I just felt like I was ataxic (drunk walk), yet I was completely sober.  Second, I realized I would lose my hat if I left it on my head, so I stopped to put it away and tie a bandana around my hair to keep it from hitting me in the face.  Third, I had to secure all the adjustment straps on the pack, and my braids, because they began whipping me in the face.

Dead Animal and Inspector Gadget got ahead of us a ways when Hop-a-long and I stopped to talk to Sparrow, Barracuda, and Magellan.  I started first, and got a little ahead of them until I rounded a switch back straight into the wind.  It came full force at me as I leaned directly into it and dug in with my legs.  My sunglasses flew straight off my face and soared over 40 feet away.  The wind had pushed me off of the trail, just below it and to stop myself from going further, I gave out onto my stomach to crawl up on my hands and knees once I realized it was not a gust and would not let up.  I attempted a small bushwhack to find my sunglasses, but I was unsuccessful.

After we all managed to get around that curve, we had a few switchbacks of ataxic walking until a larger challenge.  We had hit a small high point on one part of the ridge and the trail formed a small knife’s edge.  The stretch was about 15 feet with a gully on either side.  As we came up to it, we could see the dust and dirt flying horizontally from one side to the other.  I attempted to go only to get whipped straight off the trail.  I laid down on my stomach and crawled back to where Sparrow, Barracuda, Magellan, and Hop-a-long had huddled together.  We waited there in a pile for a few moments, realizing the wind would not let up.  I ventured out first on my hands and knees.  I made it across and set my pack down to go help Sparrow and Barracuda.  Hop-a-long and Magellan also made it behind me crawling.

We got to some Joshua and juniper trees not far from there and we all found spots dug out under the trees to camp for the night.  Right as we were going to bed, Bolt, Navi, and Natty showed up. They found trees as well and we all made a large group to climb the rest of the ridge in the morning since the wind was still bad and supposedly would get worse.

Once we got to the top of the ridge, we found Dead Animal and Inspector Gadget still in bed (they didn’t have us to wake them up).  They had found a nice protected spot in some trees and we all took a break there.  They had also seen a bear not far from them.

The whole day we battled some wind, but most of it we could walk straight in after the top of the ridge.  When we all made it to the water source, we found Astro and Sea Hag.  The “spring” was a large trough full of leaves and gunk and a broken pipe.  Luckily, we found a white pipe that had a decent flow, but definitely had some floaties.

Loaded up with water once again, we set off another ten miles.  We camped near a dirt road, thinking no one would come by since they usually don’t come that far out at dusk.  After scouting out the best spot under a tree, we set up and ate dinner.

“A Lexus!” Dead Animal said surprised.

“A Hummer?!” Inspector Gadget said.

“Lots of cars?” Hop-a-long said.

We watched a train of really expensive cars drive up and make a circle in the campsite we almost chose.  They moved them around and around so they could use all their headlights and fog lights to set up their large Walmart tents and pull out all their coolers.  If we weren’t so beat from the wind or the 23 mile day, we would have tried to yogi some beer.

Dead Animal and I got up and walked over.  They clearly spoke another language that I knew nothing of.  We guessed they were either Middle Eastern or Russian.

“Hi,” I started, “we just want to let you know you’re right by the PCT and we’re sleeping right over there.”

“Just in case you guys are shooting guns or something,” Dead Animal added.

“Ohhh ok!” One named Sam came up and introduced himself.  “We do target practice in the morning, but we shoot that way” he said pointing in the opposite direction.

In the morning, we yogi’ed some sodas from them and promptly left when they started shooting things.  We didn’t see any targets, but we left before we could investigate.

image

We passed mile 600 that morning, but didn’t celebrate too long since we still had 2 miles to water and we were all a little low.  Robin Bird spring seemed ok, but the surrounding area was covered in cow shit.  Definitely aquamira’ed the crap out of that, despite it coming clear from a pipe.

That day, we had the luxury of two water sources.  Whoa.  We had to carry extra anyway because we couldn’t rely on the Kelso Valley Road cache.  The water report was unclear on how much it could possibly have, so we loaded up.

We got to the road at dusk, and lucky for us, the cache had plenty of water and we settled down for the night.  Natty, Navi, Bolt, Magellan, and Astro joined us in the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, we knew the following day was supposed to reach 95 degrees and we entered an exposed high desert at the cache.  Basically: we had 15 miles to the Bird Spring cache, with a decent amount of climbing all exposed.

We woke up at 4am and left by 5.  A breeze prevented us from moving a little earlier.  None of us were ready to go.  I even skipped breakfast for an hour and a half while I tried to catch the cool weather.

Shade followed us for quite a while due to the position of the trail climbing up the ridge.  That was perfect.  Once the shade disappeared though, all bets were off as the sun oven turned on to bake us.  On top of that, the trail was so sandy, it was like walking on a beach.  At a small breeze point, I stopped to savor the wind and looked down.  Someone had written “Fuck Sand” in the sand.  Amen!

By 11am, I started to get a little delirious, so I threw on tunes to keep my mind distracted while I finished up.  Inspector Gadget and I made it to the cache just before noon, and Hop-a-long got in about 20 minutes after.  Dead Animal had stopped at the one shady tree about 2 miles back and took a nap.

By about 2pm, everything was silent except for snoring.  Everyone was sleeping through the heat: Dubs, The Wizard, Cheesecake, Snowflake, Ornie, Waffles, Astro, Natty, Navi, Bolt, Inspector Gadget, Hop-a-long, and myself all perched under various trees playing the game of finding shade or comfort.  When the shade leaves, the sun wakes us back up and inevitably, we move to a less comfortable spot to stay in the shade.

At 4pm, Dubs, The Wizard, and Snowflake charged on up the next 2000 ft super exposed sandy climb.  We timed them up the first switch back as they went.  At 5:15, a large group charged on: Navi, Natty, Bolt, Astro, Magellan, and Hop-a-long went.  At 5:40, Dead Animal, Inspector Gadget and I charged up it, sweating immediately.

The climb was long and hot, but gave decent views from the top.  We had a nice-ish bumpy ridge walk after that.  We found Hop-a-long staking out a flat spot for us and we crashed pretty quick.

In the morning, we set out along the ridge walk ignoring Yellow Jacket Spring which was .7 mile off the trail and the description on the water report was “dig a hole in the mud, wait for it to fill up, then filter it.”  Gross.  We had all opted for the 20 mile water carry over that and the next one, McIvers Spring, that had a description that included “surrounded by cow shit.”

image

Read Full Post »