Day 38 | mile 651.3 - 672.8

Alex’s alarm went off at 5. I didn’t sleep that well, but it wasn’t as bad as the night before leaving for the terminus. I was about to snooze a little more when my mom knocked on the door.

Alex let her in and I got dressed. My mom was already on the kitchen floor fixing my backpack pocket. True to her spirit, she brought me breakfast.

I said my tearful goodbyes and last hugs and kisses with Alex and the cats. (The cats were excited about getting fed early. Alex usually feeds them after the alarm.) We finally left at 5:20. Mom drove me to the airport.

I rented a car at San Jose airport to drive to Bakersfield. The same trip I did a week ago, only in reverse. It kind of made me sick as I was getting closer. I remember feeling so excited about coming home. Hurt, dirty, smelly, nervous about whether I could finish the trail. But so excited about coming home, running water, seeing Alex and the cats, driving, and McDonald’s breakfast.

And now I was driving back. Going south. No, no, no, no. The sun was rising on the wrong side of me! It’s not that I’m not happy about getting back on the trail. It’s just scary and unknown. But just because it’s hard, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, right?

Got to Meadow Fields airport at 9:30 and dropped off the car. The same two people were working the rental car counters. It made me a little teary. Everything is the same, but opposite.

Lyft and Uber are not available out here, so I called in a taxi. $25.50 to get from the airport to Bakersfield Amtrak. A $3 bus for the long drive from Bakersfield to Lake Isabella left at 10:25.

It was just me and Linda (the bus driver) from Amtrak to the Greyhound station. Then the usual suspects from the dirty dog station got on. Complete with men with face tattoos accompanied by two young women with bad teeth. I wanted to pull them aside and ask if they’re ok, but it’s not like I could help. I don’t even have a car.

It was really hot by the time we got to Lake Isabella. I went to Taco Bell to get a reading on the situation. I figured a lot of hikers would be hanging out there. Maybe somebody would want to hitchhike to Walker Pass with me. I found two, but they weren’t going out today.

I hitched by myself. There was a woman screaming (not yelling) "CAR WASH" and holding up a car wash sign across the street from me. I can still hear it. I was a little nervous about the hitch because it’s about an hour drive. That a long time to he stuck with a stranger. I waited maybe 15-20 minutes. Got a ride from Harry.

So hot hiking. Plan was to do 17 miles to Spanish Needle creek. Ended up hiking longer to get closer to Kennedy Meadows.

I was relying on a seasonal stream for water and it was dry at the crossing. It was dark by then and I just had my headlamp. I could feel my heartbeat quickening as I started freaking out about not having water. Calmed myself down and listened for water. It was flowing just off the trail. Phew.

Walked until I was pretty much sleep walking. Listened to MBMBAM to stay awake. Brain is tired.


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