Day Thirty Eight

Miles today: 8
Total miles: 566

Yesterday we debated whether or not we wanted to take a zero in Tehachapi, or hike out this morning. We still hadn't decided when suddenly Katie got a phone call from her boyfriend Bryan, who said he missed her and was going to spontaneously drive 14 hours from Portland, OR to Tehachapi, CA in order to see her for a few days. As such, we decided today would be a zero day.

We slept in today, got a continental breakfast, and spent the morning watching movies in bed. Bryan made good time (having left yesterday) and arrived this afternoon just in time to drive us all to lunch at a local Vietnamese place. There was much excitement when he got here, and though I was happy to see him, too, I was sad that Tanner wasn't able to join him.

With a car suddenly at our disposal, we were able to get rides all over town to get our errands done. Bryan had also brought a lot of things with him for our use: laundry detergent, sunglass cleaner, extra gear, repair supplies, new shoes for Focus, foods and drinks, and other helpful supplies. As we discussed our plans for the next few days, we debated hiking out tomorrow knowing that Katie was going to stay in Tehachapi to be with Bryan. We came up with a clever plan:
There were two main highways that ran into Tehachapi, and they were eight miles apart by PCT. Bryan offered to slack pack Sansei, Rotisserie, Focus and I the eight miles today so that we could get them out of the way and then spend another night in Tehachapi. ("Slack packing" is when you carry minimal gear, like extra clothes, snacks and water, over a distance of trail while someone else shuttles your stuff ahead for you.)

Tomorrow, the four of us (minus Katie) could start hiking forward from the second highway and cover 42 miles over the next three days to a campsite that had road access. There Bryan and Katie would drive to meet back up with us and Bryan would go home and Katie would keep hiking North.

An added bonus of meeting back up with Bryan and Katie was that they could bring our food to us then, and we would only have to carry three days worth of food out of town instead of seven. It seemed like a pretty good plan, overall.

Honey Bunny and Bryan

We relaxed all afternoon and then Sansei, Rotisserie, Focus and I changed into our hiking gear to go slack packing. We emptied our packs of everything except two liters of water, some snacks, a headlamp and a warm layer of clothing. Katie was staying behind to be with Bryan, but she came along to drop us off at the trailhead. On the way, Bryan joked aloud,
"So what's the going rate for trail angel rides these days? How much should I be charging?"
Focus said, "how about this for payment: someone in this car will give you sexual favors." He paused a moment and then quipped just as quickly, "Sansei? You mind?"
We laughed as Sansei wailed, "aw, man, why does it always have to be me?"
Right on cue, the car suddenly made a binging noise and a notice flashed up on the screen: "Provide Service."
We couldn't stop laughing.

When we got to the highway, we encountered a mini hiker reunion. Bryan got to meet a bunch of our favorite people we've been hiking with this month: Hitch, Coincidence, Games, Reason (whom he called "Games" and "Thrones"), and others. It was fun to see everyone in one place and so excited to see each other.

The four of us took off slack packing, marveling in the feeling of carrying a lightweight pack. We were fairly buoyant as we bounded along the trail. We covered the eight miles in a shocking 2.5 hours and then got picked up again by Bryan and Katie. It was 10:00 pm by then and we were very tired, so we crashed shortly afterward.