Day 38: (20 miles)
mile 538.5 – 558.5 and into Mojave
We awoke rested and still protected from the wind even though the wind had shifted and so did the faces of the blades of the windmills. We found that we really weren’t bothered by the drone of the windmills. It was perfect “white noise”, like hearing the “hum” of a jet engine on cruise control. This morning was to be a big climb day, first to the next water source and then to Willow Springs road and a hitch into Mojave. We set out early as we knew it was supposed to heat up into the 90s.
The wind was mild, but not so for the climb. It kicked my butt and knees. And when I had reached my breaking point, we had a perfectly timed, surprise trail magic as I was in meltdown mode (physically and emotionally as the fun meter was bottoming out).
Water, chairs and a place to elevate my feet (while seated). We ate lunch and watered up. Once refreshed we moved on least we grow roots (as Eng says) and decide to stay…forever.
The trail took us through sadly another burn area. This burn area was different from others we have been through as the flowers were in full bloom and in some parts the aroma was sweet like that of gardenias. The beauty and contrast was like something out of a Salvador Dali inspired landscape. This half of the trail was well worth the “yuk” of the up.
As we crested the high point for the day we could see our destination but for awhile it never seemed to get any nearer. The PCT teases you that way. It takes what could/should be 3 miles as the crow flies (or road travels) and turns it into 8 miles. As Paul says, “miles are miles. If it says its gonna take 8, it will, even if it looks like it could be shorter”. As we passed the 3 miles to go, it was like we were horses in sight of the barn as we practically ran down the trail. Paul was out of food and I wanted a hot shower. When we made it to the bottom we found Eng catching up with several other hikers we had last seen at Casa de Luna. They were ahead of us and were just coming back from a zero in Tehachapi. Together with Eng we hitched to town. Unlike the others, we were headed to Mojave. As luck would have it, we were successful with our hitch attempt using our message on the Tyvex…”PCT hikers to town…please”.
We were happily surprised when a small sedan passed us in the opposite direction u-turned and took us into Mojave and our hotel. Bill, the driver was a civilian at Edwards A.F. base. He was not only gracious but full of great historic knowledge which we all later mentioned how interesting he was. After checking in to the “five star” Motel 6 we went across the street to eat at Primo Burger.
Now we were more than hungry and the woman who took our order was amazed when we completely finished our entire meals. Eng ate a large 7inch double cheese burger, large fries, coke, and a extra large family dinner salad. When he finished he said “l’m thinking of ordering more”, but he didn’t and went to the super market next door instead for a “late night” snack. Once back from gorging ourselves we began the task of laundry. When we went into the office to inquire as the costs and did we need quarters, the attendant asked us if we needed detergent as there was some left in the hiker box. Score! We used what we needed and returned it to the hiker box. I was designated to start the laundry, Paul would switch it to the dryer and Eng would get it out of the dryer. The woman who was switching her laundry to the dryer looked at me oddly. I guess its not everyday you see someone dressed in rain gear doing laundry. After laundry was completed we settled down to sleep. In between the gale force winds and the hourly freight train we dosed off.