Day 26 | mile 535.0 - 566.5

The wind calmed down at night and I woke up to a beautiful starry sky at 11:30. I actually thought it might’ve been time to wake up. I looked at my watch and snoozed for another 6 hours. Woke up with a start at 5:30 thinking it was super late.

It was warm, so I didn’t have much trouble getting out of my bag. Oatmeal with perfect bar for breakfast.

I didn’t see Radar, so I just started walking. InReach not tracking again. Agh.

It was hot and windy in this section. Walked through the wind farm the first 6 miles.

I have this terrible habit of not taking a break to take my wind gear off. I was sweating like a pig, but just refusing to stop until the small stream at 7 miles (where I’d have to stop anyway). Why? I’ll never know. I was completely soaked when I got there.

There were a ton of people hanging out by the stream. Everyone was chatting. I sat in the shade next to an older guy who smelled like my grandma. We didn’t say a word to each other, but it was nice.

The water was filthy. It just looked like thin mud, honestly. I usually carry dirty water and filter as I drink. Not this time. I just had to filter before I started walking because otherwise I’d be carrying a bunch of mud in addition to water. I tried to pre-filter it with my shirt, but it didn’t work. Just ended up clogging my filter and having to back flush it. Back flushing it was satisfying!

I was the last person to leave the stream, but ended up catching up and passing people on the uphill switchbacks. Listened to 99% invisible about doctors giving patients bad news. Very interesting!

Saw Radar coming down the switchbacks to the steam when I was almost at the top. I guess he got a late start.

There was a water cache and sun umbrellas at the top of the climb. Lots of people resting there. I filled up one water bottle and continued. Everyone is in their groups and I feel super awkward at these group gatherings.

Listened to The Habitat on the way down to pass the time. It’s a podcast about an experiment where they locked 6 people up in a small dome in Hawaii for a year to simulate a mission to Mars. It’s pretty funny!

Made it to Tehachapi willow springs road at 3. I was super hungry and was looking forward to making some ramen with leftover salmon. A older guy was at the picnic table and he was doing his best ignoring me despite my attempts to make conversation. Flies, on the other hand, were very interested in me as soon as I opened my day old salmon package. Fun times!

Made 2 packages of hot chocolate as Radar rolled in. The guy got super chatty and talked with radar at length about his gear. Man, I thought it was just the short shorts guy.

7 more miles to hwy 58. I walked slowly because the outside of my right heel was hurting. It was super windy again. More wind farms. I was listening to This American Life to distract me. Was stepping over one of the many gates and bumped my knee hard into a metal bracket. I was right on the edge and this just pushed me over into crying and standing there for a good 15 minutes feeling sorry for myself. I also had a headache from not drinking enough or the sun or the relentless wind or the InReach not working or my hat breaking or the MSG I’m consuming in ramen or all of the above.

Chatted with Alex which made me feel better.

Another guy caught up with us and talked exclusively with Radar. It’s like I don’t exist.

Picked up by trail angel at hwy 58. Got the shittiest motel room for $64. Splitting with Radar. Shower, cab to grocery store, drive-thru McDonald’s for a McDouble with mayo.

Sleep at 11.