Mile 559 to 580.5.
We woke up at 4:30. It was hard to get out of bed, especially after a nero and two zero days in Mojave and Tehachapi. I don’t normally write about town days because I am aware that being back in civilization isn’t as exciting for you, the reader, as it is for me, but I’ll give you a recap.

My mom flew out to California and drove out on May 29th to meet up with me and my trail crew. She arrived at 11:00 with snacks, watermelon, and beer! Hikers love cold beer. We hungout at the Best Western, where my friends were staying, and she got to chat with Burnout, Valdy, Bedazzled, Fun Dip, and Vipr. 

Once we could check into our place, we did so and then went to Tehachapi for Thai food.

The next day, we fit 7 of us in my mom’s rental car and headed to Tehachapi to get packages at the post office. I got new shoes, insoles, and a hipbelt. Finally, my feet will get the padding they deserve. Bedazzled shocked us all when you went to an out of the way corner of the post office and changed out of her little town getup, since she wanted to mail it forward. She wasn’t wearing anything underneath and appearently didn’t realize the whole front of the post office was windows. She says the guy sitting in his truck in the parking lot must have gotten a good show.

Next we went to Albertsons, a full size grocery, and resupplied for the upcoming 140+ miles to Kennedy Meadows. 

Afterwards we grabbed lunch at a German Bakery, which had good sandwiches and sweets. Bedazzled with her discerning eye declared it not to be authentic, but it was still good.

With our chores done, we headed back to Mojave for some rest and relaxation. We thoroughly enjoyed the hot tub, running back and forth between it and the pool. When we were bored, we played a game of chicken. I had Fun Dip on my shoulders,  Burnout had Valdy, and Bedazzled had Vipr. Fun Dip and I came in second, but I suffered a strained neck and a shot to the nose from my own teammate!

When we were done, we ate dinner, drank some beer, and watched a Star Wars marathon on TV. Life was good.

Back to today, we all met at the donut store for a quick breakfast and then my mom drove us to the trailhead in two loads. Bedazzled forgot her trekking poles in the car again, but I reminded her before it was too late. God help this girl.

We all said a sad goodbye to my mom and then reluctantly started walking. We were beginning a 24 mile waterless stretch with 5 liters and seven days of food. That is 25 pounds of consumables alone. I am sure my pack weight was 40 pounds, the heaviest it has been yet.

Earlier in the parking lot of the motel, my 2 liter Sawyer Squeeze bladder, I had strapped to the top of my pack, slid off and exploded. I went back into the room and filled my back up. 30 minutes into todays’s hike, disaster struck again. My backup Sawyer Squeeze fell from my pack again and developed a small hole! Luckily, Valdy was close by and gave me her spare bladder. I was able to transfer most of the water. In under an hour, my water carrying capacity would have gone from 7 liters to 3 if it weren’t for Valdy. I am lucky to have friends on the trail!

I was bummed over my bladder failures, tired from staying up too late, and suffering under my heavy pack so I didn’t take many photos today. Another reason was because we had heavy winds in the first-half of the day, which always seemed to be head or side winds, but rarely tail winds. Truth be told, I was ready to go to bed at noon when we stopped for our lunch break. After eating some food and resting my feet, I was feeling a little better. We all decided to walk about 8 more miles and see how we felt.

Vipr and I walked together for part of the afternoon. It was cool to hear more about some of the climbing and mountaineering trips she has done and some of the things she is planning to do/learn in the future, like down hill skiing. I am looking into doing a mountaineering course after the trail. If I end up living in Washington, it would be a great activity to take up.

We arrived at the 8 mile campsite in separate groups and decided to setup camp for the night. Bedazzled scared us all when she told us she lost all her tent stakes. Luckily, she found them in her pack…she would have had to cowboy camp all the way to Kennedy Meadows.
After some extended stretching and muscle rolling, we ate and promptly went off to bed.

P.S. Thanks mom for being an awesome mom and trail angel. It was great to see you!

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