LauTrav got into Tehachapi on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. They hitched in from the Willow Creek after doing 23.5 mile day hike cutting out 8 miles (who wants to do another 8 miles after 23.5 miles?).
They have checked in at the Best Western there to sleep in real beds with clean sheets.
Oh, I forgot to mention water: hot shower, swimming pool, hot tub, and running water whenever you desire to it. I found this very nice picture of the LA Aqueduct:
Still at the Best Western where they are catching up on laundry and getting ready for the next run. They are taking a couple of days of rest. Travis’ ankles are really giving him a bit of run of his money. They are hoping the few days break will allow his ankles to recover.
Lauren shared this regarding their trek from the Mojave: “Travis and I lucked out with the weather and ended up crossing most of the Mojave Desert with minimal heat and a nice breeze. 3 different times I came really close to stepping on one of these horned lizards. Very neat little creatures, they look like mini dragons, change colors based on their environment and don’t seem to be bothered by people.
After a big day in the desert (23.5 miles) and doing more miles than we planned on Travis and I hit one of the cross roads for Tehachapi. As it was sunset and 8pm we weren’t sure if we would get a hitch but fortune smiled on us again and a couple stopped for us. They not only gave us a lift to town but shuttled us to a place to eat, waited in the truck while we got food and then dropped us off at the Best Western. Time and time again we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers and thier willingness to help PCT hikers.
Not wanting to get our room dirty the first thing we did was drop our packs at the door and proceed to taking our shoes and socks off in the tub. This was about the 4th or 5th time we had emptied the sand out of our shoes that day. We have also figured out that we have to pre-wash our socks and gaiters before putting them in with the rest of the clothes or else everything comes out covered in dirt. No joke, it takes about 20-30 minutes of washing before our socks run clean.”
They went back to to hike 8 mile section they bypassed when coming in. From Lauren: “Today (May 26) we got the rare opportunity to ditch the packs and trail run 8 miles of the PCT. Totally wish we could do more of this, we felt like we were flying without the weight of the backpacks. There are 2 roads headed into Tehachapi which cross the PCT, we had a trail angel drop us at the more southern of the two (where we picked up the hitch into town 2 day ago) and ran the 8 miles north to the next crossing. Along the way we met up with some of our trail friends who were doing the 8 miles in reverse order. First we ran into Pizza Taxis (Alisa) and Party Log (Edward) then Morning Glory (not pictured) and finally Matt and a new girl. Not sure where Matt got the dress but he was certainly rocking it. Tehachapi has a wonderful public transit system which will pick up hikers at the off ramp on highway 58 and for $1 provide a ride back into town.”
Once completed , they came back to Tehachapi for the night. They did this “slackpacking” the 8 miles. By slackpacking (hiking without a pack) allowed them to make great time. This completed the 566.5 miles to Tehachapi!
Slackpacking is a new term to me. I took the opportunity to look it up. It does simply mean hiking a section of the trail without a backpack. It’s “the fine art of intending to go backpacking (carrying all equipment in a large backpack to your camping location in the woods) but instead walking out of the woods for the finer things in life: beer, entertainment, and food. ” (Urban Dictionary) A lot of the references I found when Googling the term are from the Appalachian Trail (AT). Although when the term is put in correctly, you’ll find lots of information about slackpacking for any area you want to backpack. Apparently, there are resources/trail angels who will help backpackers slackpack various parts of any trail. You carry only what you need for the length of trail you are hiking – food, water, etc. What I found interesting is the controversy around the concept. There are some camps believe slackpacking miles should not count. Sort of a purist version of backpacking. Anyway, if you are interested and have time, you can Google the term and find a lot of information about it.
They will leave Tehachapi tomorrow and there will be about 5 days before the next their next stop in Lake Isabella (information via their trip planning). They will have some more sections without access to water. One section is Willow Springs to Joshua Tree Springs, a mere 43.7 miles!
You can send care packages to Lake Isabella. However, please be conscientious of adding any weight to backpacks. From LauTrav: “Mostly what is needed right now is letters, pictures and words of encouragement. As the newness of the trail has worn off and we have worked through a lot of the physical challenges we are now faced with the mental challenges and reminders of why we are out here would be great.” In lieu of favorites, may I suggest a gift card (generic/Visa) which they can use for postage and odds/ends when they restock would be gold.
If you do send something, please let them know by posting on Lauren’s FB Page. They don’t want to miss any love!
Until next time,
(all pictures are either courtesy of Google Images or Lauren DeLand)