The night had been cold and windy, so it was natural that we all awoke early. Hornbuckle got the quickest start, but we were all on the road by around 7am and hiking fast to get warm. As we came down the hill, we turned the corner and were greeted by raging winds. My pack was light as I had used most of my water at camp and eaten a good chunk of food. With under 20lbs on my back I was struggling with the winds more than yesterday, and got knocked over three times. Luckily we were walking to the north and west of the wind farm on the hill, so the crosswinds were largely blowing me into the hill rather than off the trail ledge down the mountain. It wasn’t a long walk either in terms of miles (only 9) or hours but it felt slow and hard. I had to stop and scream at the wind in frustration once, but I was already on the ground so it didn’t slow me down any extra.
We soon reached Willow Springs Road where we found a list of trail angel phone numbers pinned to a post. It meant we were in the Tehachapi Post Office just 10 minutes after it opened at 10am, a huge relief given the necessity to wait until Tuesday if we’d messed up.
I took spare shoes out of my bounce box, as well as some spare food and supplies, and packaged it right back up there and then to send to Mammoth Lakes. I left the Post Office hoping that I hadn’t forgotten anything crucial, when I remembered that the new shoes would need spare Velcro for attaching my gaiters, and the spare Velcro was sitting in the bounce box. Thankfully Dolittle had some spare to donate to me!
In town, there is one main drag with a few hotels and motels, as well as gas stations and a few restaurants. There are a fair few churches, but no bar that we can see. A very different vibe to Big Bear! We got told about a supermarket a mile away though, so it is possible that there are other parts of town more spread out that we haven’t seen yet.
After checking into the Best Western, we hit the Mexican restaurant for lunch. Whilst not as hiker friendly as some towns, Tehachapi certainly sees its fair share of hikertrash; I think 3 out of the 4 full tables were occupied by stinky, bearded and oddly tanned people. I’m having trouble eating town food now though. I graze so much on trail that a huge meal makes me feel slightly odd. I needed to walk around to regain some normality, which is a bit of a shame when you’re in town and supposed to be resting!
We called by the Tehachapi museum, where the lady on the desk, Mary, told us all about Tehachapi, the weather, the wildlife, and history. She lives on a ranch nearby and has elk and California Condors in her backyard. She also showed us pictures of a black bear in her yard, making me think we should start hanging out food in trees from this point towards the Sierra.
The afternoon was given over to Mad Max. Even for $5, I hadn’t been convinced I wanted to see it, but was told about some positive reviews and I hadn’t anything better to do. I think Hornbuckle and Dolittle quite liked it but I was bored and Chug slept through most of it. The guys ate barbecue at the Red House to cheer themselves up, but I was still full from lunch and couldn’t join them much as I love barbecue. I hope we come back tomorrow, it has the best vibe I’ve experienced in town so far.
Camping: mile 558 Tehachapi (not camping)