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June 9, 2022 — Skipping the Desert

June 9, 2022 — Skipping the Desert

Strider Jun 10th, 2022
Strider's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

I made a difficult decision today: I decided to hitch ahead.

PROs:

  • it’s going to be 100+ degrees the next 2–3 days. That’s stupid hot. That’s you-shouldn’t-be-outside-let-alone-hiking hot. That’s calling-SAR-for-heat-stroke hot. All my SAR hackles are up.
  • With how susceptible I am to heat, I don’t trust my body in that kind of heat. I don’t think I would hike well. I think I would injure myself from delirium if I didn’t succumb to heat stroke first.
  • Do I get a true desert experience if I’m night hiking through this stretch?
  • you’re more susceptible to tripping injuries while night hiking.
  • sleep deprivation is heavy in this section of trail by hiking into the evening, waking up early, and unable to sleep during the heat of the day. The extra exertion and sleep privation would contribute to the likelihood of injury and the deterioization of my mental health. I’m already sleep deprived from my leaking air mattress.
  • I’m not having fun with this heat. Why not come back and hike the desert in the cool autumn when it would be more agreeable?
  • I wouldn’t mind getting two weeks ahead for the long term time table. Two weeks ahead of wildfires. Two weeks ahead of North Cascade snow. Works much better for the timetable.
  • The Sierra passes are much more passable this year than prior years. They are in prime hiking conditions.
  • Is pushin myself through the heat just a trapping of ego? A want to be seen as a “true” hiker and not a fake, a cop out?
  • I am sick of the desert heat. If the fear of that heat. Of the water carries.
  • I will be happier to escape this heat.

CONs:

  • Am I just psyching myself out? Am I letting my mother’s fear mongering go to my head?
  • the desert: it’s heat, night hiking, suckiness etc are part of the experience.
  • I wouldn’t be hiking in the heat of the day anyways. We siesta during the heat of the day.
  • I will lose my trail family.
  • I’m not doing a continuous footpath. I don’t care too much about that. But skipping a large section (like 200–300 miles), that feels disingenuous. Like it’s not a thru at that point. IDK what I even define as a thru anymore.
  • I will have to come back to finish in the fall.
  • What if everything is on fire when I come back in the fall? What will the water sources be like?
  • I will lose a degree of purity for my thru: I did not do a continuous foot path.
  • I am afraid of the scrutiny from other hikers about skipping ahead.
  • part of the lesson of the desert is to push through the mental block. The seeming endlessness of the desert.
  • When I touch that northern terminus, I will not be truely done.

It boils down to: I WILL BE HAPPIER TO ESCAPE THIS HEAT.

9:30 pm wandering through dark alleys next to the park in Tehachapi, trying to find Hippie Hiker Heaven. I’m stupid for thinking I could just walk up on this place after dark. The only directions are an alley off the east end of this park with a pride flag hanging up. But all the alleys are dark now. I’m not scared. It’s more like desperation to find a place to sleep.

I found the place. I wandered down the right alley, heard the voices. The hosts had almost gone to bed. I got there in time to be given the tour and then was one of the last ones to set up my cowboy camping. Nearly everyone else has a camping cot. There’s probably 10–15 of us here. Most are trying to sleep but the moon is so bright in the sky.

I realized tonight that I needed to return to being feral. I had gotten a little too much taste of being indoors. Patches & Shortcut are here too. They skipped ahead as well. They say a bunch of people are hitching to Kennedy Meadows.

We will see in the morning.

Earlier this morning I packed up my bag at Cindy’s and helped with the morning chores by stripping my bed, doing the dishes, filling the water troughs for all the animals, and filling up the water barrels for the water cache. Last thing I did was mold and roll my goat cheese log in rosemary. It made a delicious snack at siesta.

First we drove up to Cottonwood Bridge water cache. We saw Teenage Dream there and watered him.

Then to Weeville market where I picked up my food box (too much food now!) and we found Paul and Jess! We picked them up to go to…

The 511 water cache. I saw Camel, Beeline, and a few others who I can’t remember the names of. We refilled the liter bottles (with a syphon, bucket, and funnel).

Last stop Hikertown. I thanked Cindy for all she had done. I found my tramily. Shuffles called me over into the garage, but she was the only one. We exchanged summaries of our last few days. Everyone looked a little sunwary. It’s a big bubble we’re in.

Hikertown is a trip. One main house with garage and garden surrounded by a village of sheds trussed up to look like a hokey Old West town.

We drifted from different semi-shaded spots, together and apart. I went to call Casey and Mom. Mom told me she doesn’t want me to hike the next few days. She suggested again that I hitch up to Kennedy Meadows.

^^^ See the deliberation above.^^^

I skipped ahead. I got in the truck that was making a run to the market from Hikertown. The proprietor of Hikertown insisted on driving me to the bus station in Lancaster where I would catch a county transit bus to Tehachapi. The place was sketch. I was glad for my street smarts there.

I nervously waited out the bus with my pack on for two ish hours. One hiker got off the bus. She was flying out of LAX for a wedding. Then on a bus with a gorgeous sunset and ending in the shuttered town of Tehachapi.

I found a group of hikers but none of them were staying at my final destination: Hippie Hiker Heaven which I had found in Far Out and the Facebook groups. I left in the dark to find it.

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