39. May 19: Mile 529.90 Campsite to Mile 549.03 Campsite
Mamma has returned! It’s like when Luke Skywalker’s original lightsaber shows up in The Force Awakens or when Harry comes back to life after hanging out with Dumbledore in wizard heaven or Michael Jordan after several failed retirement attempts or Jesus Christ on the third day. Okay, she’s not actually back hiking yet, but Cougar and Dr. McDirty did show up with the trail angels they were staying with for some trail magic at Cottonwood Creek. And it was so great seeing them again.
Glow Worm and I had hiked the five miles from our campsite, a nice flat walk along some dirt roads, to Cottonwood Creek. We knew that they were planning on being there around 11:00 so we waited and hour until they arrived in a truck with a grill, umbrella, burgers, hot dogs, chips, salsa, watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, and root beer floats. Lord have mercy I’m salivating just reflecting on it. Hold on. Give me a minute to let my heart rate go down.
Okay, I’m good. So anyway we feasted on this cornucopia of delectable foods and were able to catch up with our friends. It really is amazing how the trail provides. When Cougar was walking into the chiropractor this couple just happened to recognize them as thru hikers and just so happened to offer them a place to stay and just so happened to already be planning on doing some trail magic at Cottonwood Creek the day that Glow Worm and I were going to be hiking through. The unconditional kindness that I have received or others have received out here is unparalleled by anything else I have ever experienced before. Cougar and Dr. McDirty said that they are planning on spending a few days in Tehachapi and hopefully will hike out with us on Monday. Getting the band back together!
So the joys of the day were short lived, though. The temperature started to rise as did the terrain. About six miles past the trail magic we had to fill up with six liters of water to make it into town and immediately began a colossal climb, climbing some 1000 plus feet over a few miles. Totally brutal. When we got to camp there was a fully stalked water cache. It was almost a slap in the face while also being a huge relief. Turned out I didn’t have to carry 13 pounds of water after all, but there was no way of knowing that when I filled up. First thing I did though when I got to camp was spend about 15 minutes stretching. My legs and feet were so stiff and sore. Especially my Achilles’ tendon from spending much of the day hiking up hill. My feet are starting to hurt more consistently too which is a bit worrisome, but until I’m unable to walk, I’m going to keep stretching and pressing on. Only nine miles into town tomorrow. We originally thought it was 17 so I am pumped now that it’s going to be a true nearo into town.