Miles: 16.78
Camping: PCT mile 583.28
Hikers seen on trail: 8

I woke up from a restful slumber to an alarm for the first time in 3 days. It wasn’t easy, but I’m beyond ready to get back to hiking. Rest has been good and essential, but I’m feeling a lot better and I’m super eager to hike again. We are so close to finishing the desert, and I’m very excited for the Sierra. It’s now just Johnny and I in the hotel, as everyone else has moved ahead.

Continental breakfast at Best Western outshone that of Holiday Inn, and I ate like it was my last town meal for 5 days; 2 waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, a banana and yogurt. I regretted the second waffle, but only temporarily.

Pockets had been staying with a trail angel who was willing to pick Johnny and I up on their way, which was pretty awesome. The trail angel worked for the city, and gave us a cool little micro tour on our way out of town. Tehachapi gets the majority of its revenue from the tens of thousands of windmills surrounding it, and it is apparently a highly lucrative business. They have the highest concentration of wind in the world, and the windmills never seem to end.

We were dropped off around 8:30 and began our journey by paralleling the highway for the first mile or so. Not very scenic, and kind of a drag as we were eager to escape civilization. Pockets announced she was still feeling under the weather, and she wanted to turn back. I hated to hear that, and I’m sure it was especially hard for her to make that decision. Speedy recovery lady! Get back to us soon! Johnny and I were feeling pretty good, so we said goodbye and began our 4 mile uphill climb. It was quite the reintroduction to the trail, and though I felt a bit weak and softened by town, I loved to be hiking again. My feet felt good, and my new shoes seem like they will work out well, if only temporarily. They don’t offer much support, so I will have to reevaluate before the mountains.

Halfway up the climb I was thrilled to run into Dozen and Peanut! I hadn’t seen them since McDonalds, as they had to take some time in Wrightwood because Peanut injured her IT band. Ninja and I have been missing them quite a bit, and though he’s now ahead, I feel happy to have my trail family coming back together. I have faith that we will all reconvene in Kennedy Meadows. In the meantime, Johnny and I make a good team. Since we are both coming off injury, we keep a steady pace with ample breaks. The day seemed perpetually leisurely as we made our way into the high desert and into more windmills. Everything is starting to feel right again. Being on the trail feels right.

We made it to the water source at 16.8 miles where a cut open aluminium can funnels spring water at a little less than 1liter per minute. We all sort of bottle necked at the spout trying to stock up for the 19 mile hike to water tomorrow, but also enjoyed some time hanging out and making dinner as a group. There are a handful of us camping here tonight, with the plan of hiking to the next water source tomorrow morning. I’m not in a big hurry, as I’m still healing, and I want to enjoy the last week of the desert. I may be the only one, but in some ways this is already going by too fast. It’s time to savor these moments for the great memories that have been created and are yet to come. It sure feels great to be back home on the trail.

Hopefully my feet continue to improve, and the days ahead can be rewarding again. Now I will fall asleep, cowboy camping, listening to the hum of windmills, and smiling to no one in particular. Goodnight.