Day 29 (Tape)

And it looked like we were gonna go straight in the mountains for awhile, and we went up and up and up. Got a good view of the desert. Then we started goin along the foothills, and up and in and out and over and up and down ’em. And it got really frustrating. It started lookin like if it went on too long we would never even get close to the next water that day. And we hadn’t taken too much water with us, and we only had one more day of food left. And I started getting depressed. Thinking we were never going to make it. Thinking we were gonna have to starve for half a day. But we finally went WAY down into a canyon… actually there was swtichbacks goin down it, but we were so angry at the trail for making us do all this extra work that we just started cuttin em. And finally we found some loose dirt and sand to slide down in and we just did a kick-ass rock glacade, shot right down to the bottom of the canyon.

Pete: And I fell on my ass.

An Pete fell right on his butt halfway down (laugh) when he hit kind of a quick spot. And ah,that was kinda fun, lifted our spirits a little bit. We started up the other side, and climbed and climbed and climbed. We started wondering if we were gonna start contouring or dip down again, but we kept climbin and climbin and climbing, and thankfully climbed right up into the mountains. And got up on top of the hill and the trail started going the right way, picked up our spirits. And ah, we stopped and had our lunch. Which was, for the last day, a mighty fine lunch. Packed us full, we had extra nuts and, and ah, good chunk of Fig Newton brick and all this good stuff. And ah, packed ourselves fulla lunch, took it kinda short cause we wanted to see if we could get to the road in time to hitchhike. We were still on mystery trail so we had no idea if it would really happen but we wanted to see if we could get into Mojave by nightfall. And so we finished up our lunch, and got up, slowly started moving again. It was much harder to move, after our siestas. Hard gettin back into it, just eat and get right back up and walk. But we slowly started chuggin along again, and walking along this ridge through these hills. The trail was all dug up by motorcycles and ATVs. And it kept goin and goin and goin and followin the hills. And ah, we really probably walked like, almost 10 miles like that. And it turned out that it followed the hills allllll the way until they just disappeared into the valley. And then went by another wind farm. We got to hear those creepy noises again. MM, and ah, took the opportunity to do some extra contouring and make us walk a few extra miles. And finally plopped us down at water, which was nice. And ah, we got it in our heads – it was late in the day now – that we were gonna eat dinner and take a bath here. And we both managed to get a bath, but it was too windy for the stove, and we never ate dinner. But we had some cheese and crackers, and our two brownies apiece for dessert. And ah, packed the dinner back up. Packed the stove back up. And ah, decided to make one last stint for the trail. We figured we’d walked about 20 miles already, and we were both tired, but washing up had kind of invigorated us, and ah, we walked across the road and saw the sign that said:

HIGHWAY 58: 7 MILES {through wind farm}

And Pete asked me, “You think we can do it?” And I just said, mm, yeah, I think we can do it. The sun was gettin down to where it looked like we had about two hours of daylight left. With heavy packs, two hours and seven miles is a mighty quick sprint. But ah, we started walking. And Pete was at the time, extremely upset by not being able to have dinner, and ah, I was the one who had just kinda pushed for, for giving up on the dinner and just high-tailing it for the highway. And I felt kinda bad about it, and sorry for him, so I decided instead of just lagging behind at my leisurely pace like I usually do I would try to keep up with Pete. Just so we could get to the highway faster, and, and ah he could maybe get his dinner in town. Well, he was going really fast this time, and eventually it got so I couldn’t keep up with him just by walking as fast as I could anymore, I had to jog. And ah we were going up and down these hills and through the wind farm, and a couple of times Pete looked back and saw me jogging. And I guess he figured it was just no-holds-barred, we’d go as fast as we could, so he sped up and started running in spots too. And ah, it turned out, as it turned out, we probably ran the middle 5 miles of that trek, and ah, just covered it super fast. Through cattle gates, whiz, boom, up hills, zing, around through ditches, boom. (laugh) We ran, and I told him that it was probably the first time I had broken into an extended run in twelve years, since my bad experiences in track in Junior High where track kids used to beat me up, and the coach would catch us fightin and make me run around the track and give me tendonitis in my heels. And I just ah, swore I would never run again and really hadn’t for much more that a couple minutes at a time. And ah, it was a painful experience, I can’t say I had much fun, but there was kind of an insanity to it that Pete was getting off on. And the fact that we had already walked 20 miles that day and we were now running, and ran another 5 or 6 miles (laugh). And I guess now that I look back on it I kind of enjoyed that little bit of insanity too, although I was in pain at the time. And my pack was heavier that Pete’s too, and I knew that, and I was kind of frustrated. He thought it was just full out enjoyment for both of us (laugh). I was just trying to keep up with him, and at times I thought my heavy pack was a most unfair disadvantage, and that I was just a pack horse struggling to keep up with a hare. Or something. But anyway, I did enjoy the balls-out insanity of it, and we eventually came to an overlook, and looked down and there was the highway, and the sun was still in the sky. And ah, we shot down, cut all the switchbacks. And ah, emptied all the dirt out of our shoes. And got down to the road at the bottom, and the sun had just sunk beneath the mountains. And we were like, there we go, we did it. Hit the highway by dusk, just like we had planned. And we walked over – it was kind of, we were kind of on a side road that was going to hit this big 4 lane highway – and we started gettin worried about how we were going to catch a ride to Mojave, And we tried like climbing up the side where Pete thought a truck turnout was, and we couldn’t get up it. And it was frustrating, we went back down, started walking along the little side road to the onramp again. And ah, a train had gone by, and a couple cars had piled up waiting for it. I saw em coming and stuck my thumb out, instinctively, and the first car – ZIP! – stopped. Gave us a ride. It was a couple of travelling guys, one of them in the air force and the other on business. And ah, they were on their way to LA airport, and just killing a little bit of time touring the windmills. Stopped and gave us a ride, which was mighty nice of them, cause even after our bath we were lookin’ a little scary. And ah, so we didn’t even have to touch that highway. We got in the car and those guys drove us those 12 miles in about 5 minutes. And ah, started asking us where we wanted to get off. We were kinda heading for Del Taco, cause I had never eaten there, and Pete wanted to clue me in to the green bean burritos. So we were looking around, and Pete was trying to figure out where we were, and figured out we’d gone too far. And we oh, it’s back the other way. And the guy said OH, watch this. And fully does a U turn smoking the wheels skidding around into the other lane.

Pete: On a 4 lane highway. In a rental car.

Yeah slows down to about 45 mph and just pulls on the parking brake and slams on the gas and bootleg turns it the other direction (laughing). And I was like, YEeeehaw, screaming, and Pete was like, wow, I’ve never done that before. And we pulled into McDonald’s and they just totally casually went inside and said Seeya later. And then we hoofed our way to where the Del Taco – had been – and noticed it was out of business. And ah, my heart kinda sank cause I was really gettin tired of walkin at that point. And two doors was Gratziano’s Pizza Place, and that’s where we’re sittin right now. And Pete’s writin his journal and I’m doing this, and ah, it’s Tuesday night and I might try to call my baby here in a little bit, and finish off my pizza. All in all its been the end of a couple of trying and ah, (laugh) really memorable days of the pacific crest trail journey.

(postnote: the new guidebook tallies our mileage for that day at 31.7)

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