The moon shown bright and the weather was perfect. About halfway through our hike around 1am, One Track noticed eyes peering back at us from the darkness. He didn't think that it was a deer and thought it could be something more devious. I caught the eyes with my headlamp. The beast was about 75 yards away through a relatively flat meadow. I could not pick out the body in the night, but it's eyes reflected off my lamp a blueish, shiny aluminum color. They were half dollar sized and 2-3" apart. They looked to be about 3 feet off the ground. I maintained its' gaze with my headlamp and One Track gathered some rocks. The glowing eyes followed where the rocks landed, then stealthy looked back at us. We were in Mountain Lion country so I was scared. As we walked along the trail, the eyes walked parallel with us at a distance. We made lots of noise and continued to throw rocks. Every 100 yards or so we would stop and scan. I walked with rocks in my pockets all the way to camp! We found a site around 4am and planned a few hours of sleep. Our best option was just off trail.
It was a hot day with zero coverage. Both of us had not slept much, so when we came upon this Trail Magic, we took advantage!! I drank a delicious ice cold Dr. Shasta (way better than Dr. Pepper) and made lunch.
2 of the most popular Trail Angels live within 24 trail miles of each other. The Saufleys (Hiker Heaven) and the Andersons. The Saufleys have everything you need to prepare for the hike... The Andersons is where you go to socialize and relax. We had to walk a couple miles off trail to get to the Andersons. This was a very cool and eerie piece of art along the walk.
Practice Frolf course on the way to pick a camp spot
There was certainly weird art in this town. It was a mile or so walk back to the Andersons. The magnum 357 looks like a cannon of some sorts.. maybe for fireworks?
The sun was going down as we walked by this studio. Another piece of art read "Studio Open." The gate was only slightly ajar, but we went into have a look. We could hear people in the house, but no one came out to bother us.
We got back to the Andersons just in time for Taco Salad. It was delicious!
These are the grounds, so you can judge for yourself. I can imagine it being more uncomfortable with 50 hikers staying there. Since there were only 5 of us, dogs, puppies and chickens, it was all good.
We got an early start and headed out to Tehachapi.
Very classy detour sign
The sun was rising quick so we decided on some last chance shade, before it was gone completely.
When the sun was high in the sky, finding shade was a challenge. I spotted this Joshua Tree kingdom off trail and made lunch there.
This stretch had a lot of dirt road walking along an underground aqueduct to the left. These pictures feature my hiking buddy One Track.
SO HOT!!!!!!!!!!!! I must have lost my heat tolerance moving to Colorado!
We walked through a ton of windmills.
During these long cement sections, I really wanted something with wheels
The owner of Hikertown put a water cache 17 miles from his place. The plan was to get there by 1ish and rest in the shade during the unbearable part of the day. We napped and cooked under this bridge from 1-5. It felt great.
Then it was 6 miles too camp and a small stream for more water.
It was dusk when we got to camp. The water flow was good and tasted delicious. The best part was that it was cold!! I have been drinking hot or warm water for a few days now. I washed my socks and set up camp. At 2:30 am, I awoke to the sound of falling rocks and inconsistent loud grunts/exhales. They definitely were not roars. I found my headlamp and looked up the hill. We were surrounded my some pretty steep mountains, so I'm not sure what could have been up there. I located the eyes in my headlamp and had a flashback to the eyes in the night I had seen before. The animal was to clumsy and loud to be a Cat, so I had no idea what it could be. My friends were camped near me and I made noise, but no one woke up. I wanted a second opinion, but I didn't want to disrupt their slumber if their was no threat. I asked some locals in town and they said it was either a bear or wild pig. I saw the eyes near the rock my finger points at. The grunts and the sound of displaced rocks moved away up the hill. I thought about breaking camp and getting an early start. But didn't feel like facing the night creatures alone in known mountain lion territory. I eventually fell back asleep.
There are registers all along the trail. Sometimes they are directly on the trail, like this one. All the trail magic spots have one too. If there is not an official place in town, there is usually a register at the post office.
A beautiful California King snake sun bathing on the trail. Their not poisonous, but they eat Rattlesnakes.
Here is a quick video of the snake on the move. I love the colors!
Fresh green apples!!! NO WAY!!! It's always awesome to get fresh foods
Don't exactly know when or where it happened. But I have surpassed the 500 mile mark.. So this is my tribute.
These signs are all over. I was drawn to this one because of the 'No trike riding' sign. Who rides tri bikes anymore???
The last stretch was brutal... Hot wind blowing all over the place. Luckily, immediately after reaching the road, I got a hitch. Perry was my age and worked on the windmills. The post office was a mile or so outside of town. He waited for me to pick up my package then gave me a tour of the town, eventually dropping me off at Best Western. The kindness of people along this trail is unbelievable. One Track, Half Step and I were sharing a room. Last night we ordered take out and soaked in the Jacuzzi. I'm trying to take a long nap later and hike through the night. For the next 7 days we're hoping to tweak our sleep schedule and skip hiking during the hot days. I'll let you know how it works out!