Hiking, PCT 2015, Travels

Day 28: Perplexed in Palmdale

Today we intended to make it to Agua Dulce in time for breakfast, resupply in the store and then camp on the far side of town.

Rosy boa

Our plans were altered by the need for new insoles, new trekking pole tips and for me a new hiking skirt. Mine is now far too large, even with a safety pin for support.

We were helped by a sign on the trail register with some phone numbers and en route to Agua Dulce we called Mary, who answered the phone despite being in the middle of having her horse put down. She asked us to call back in an hour, and when we did she was so accommodating. She came to pick us up almost as soon as we got to Vasquez Rocks picnic area, drove us to Palmdale, and came to pick us up and drop us back at Vasquez Rocks later in the afternoon.

Mary dropped us at around 1pm at a shopping centre with a Sports Chalet and a place we could resupply, saying she was planning to be back twice during the afternoon; once at 2:30 and once at 3:30, but she would call us when she arrived. Our shopping took longer than we expected though. The sports shop was fruitless for my skirt search, although I got sunglasses and Chug got new trekking poles. Ross (the equivalent of TK Maxx) provided cheap exercise shorts which alleviate the problems of chafe caused by trousers that are now too big, but don’t offer the same trail-toilet benefits as a skirt. I will have a look for a new skirt in Tehachapi or order one for delivery further up the trail.

The store assistant were flummoxed by my hiking trip though. They couldn’t wrap their heads round the fact I had hiked 450 miles to get to the store. One woman was asking what I did when I got hungry or tired (answers: eat and sleep) and I explained that hunger and tiredness are fairly constant states on trail. She asked if I was hungry right then, and started looking at me with a bewildered expression. I thanked her for her help and wandered off to find the things I’d asked her for before she got speechless.

We took time out after the sports and clothes stores to eat lunch and figure out what food resupply we needed. We picked an Asian buffet, and ate as much as we liked for $8.50. They aren’t expecting hiker hunger, being so far away from the trail in town, but it was perfect for our enormous appetites. It also meant we didn’t buy too much at the grocery store, useful as a lot of the products were sold in bulk.

Being in town was overwhelming for me after so long in the hills. I felt physically sick for most of the afternoon, only feeling better after we had returned to Vasquez Rocks picnic area, unpackaged, decanted and repacked our food, and set up our tents. The amount of concrete is disconcerting, it’s noisy, and the people all smell of laundry detergent and deodorant.

We wandered over from our tents to the main car park at the picnic area to watch the sun set over the rocks. We didn’t need to talk a lot after the hubbub of town; we just sat quietly looking at the sky. Hiker company is good, and I like our group of 3 especially.

Miles: 8.6
Camping: mile 452.9 Vazquez Rocks

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