31 May Wild Wind and Storied Tehachapi
We hiked up into the hills. Closer and closer we crept to fields and ridges full of wind turbines. Up close it looks like some alien harvesting installations…harvesting our breath.
Closer and closer we hiked and the wind got stronger and stronger. Which really isn’t surprising at all. But I think all of us were a bit surprised at the force of it. As we climbed right next to and beneath turbines, I held my hat tight and made up songs. Singing them at the top of my lungs knowing that the words were lost immediately in the wind. When it got even stronger, I’d shadow box up the trail channeling my inner Kimbo Slice or Bruce Lee (yes they are both in there).
A full day of climbing in the wind finally ended with us tucking away in a quiet and surprisingly windless valley. At dusk the Swedes, Lalabi, Ice Queen, Sailor Moon, and Leftovers were in attendance. Lalabi and I did some scorpion hunting although it was a bit cold for them. No luck, but plenty of fun.
The next day, Saturday, we descended (through more wind farms) to Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road. We caught a quick hitch from a guy on his way to Church. Three of us, T-Love, Birdman, and I, ducked down in the back of his Christian truck bed. He dropped us in town and we were off on errands. In the interest of time here is the town rundown:
– Tehachapi is a bit strip mallish.
– There is a train running right through it. As far as I can tell it never stops just blares the horn.
– We had breakfast. Corned beef and hash for me. Eggs over easy obviously.
– We went shopping. 8 days of food weighs about 20 pounds. That sucks.
– We walked to a Best Western.
– We went out for BBQ. Ribs and Chicken. Should have gotten the Pulled Pork. What was I thinking?
– Walked back to hotel shoeless. Guy stopped us on the way to offer a ride to trail the next day. Score.
– Jacuzzi. Sharks Game 6. End of Happy Gilmore.
– Sleeping on floor. Fade to black.
Next day we were on the trail early. We bought American flags for our packs as it was Memorial day. It was a good day to decide to fly a flag. Boy was it WINDY.
Windier than any day in my life. Most likely windiest hiking I’ll ever do. Again we charged straight into the heart of the beast, into the wind farms. 8 miles of hills ridges and constant wind to highway 58. Crossed the road and 8 more steep uphill miles of wind. The wind would blow me off the trail constantly. It was blowing so hard I would walk with my feet on the steep mountain face leaning at what felt like 45° to my left. At times, it blew so hard it was all I could do to keep from stumbling backwards. I’d just be locked up flexing trying not to give it an inch like a stalemate in a trucker arm wrestling contest. Cheeks flapping, flags fluttering violently, knees bent, head down, and shoulders into it, hooting, hollering, and yeehawing all the way, Birdman and I pressed on until we found a little shelter. In all, it was probably the most fun day of hiking yet.
Getting close to mile 600…