Updated: Apr 11, 2020
We were driven to Acton, Mile 444 by the Aussie-now-American Mike. In the rain. Was good having two lunches on the two-hour drive! Stayed in tents all afternoon. Not much other than that to report.
And we’re off again - as is my first toenail. I also fell over very hard, hurting my hand considerably. Turns out I only broke one fingernail - decided not to press my SOS button.
The rain drenched us at 5ish - just as I got lost. Thankfully Hot Cheeks and Panic Noodles caught me and we all bedded down to sit out the downpour. It’s expected to rain for the next fourteen hours! Hoping to get going again for around 7 hours tomorrow - before the next deluge starts. I’m bloody freezing and much of my gear is wet - but thankfully I’ve recently bought some puffy trousers so I’m testing those out tonight.
I also tested out some new wet weather trousers and top. They went in the bin an hour later.
We did, however, pass the place where Star Wars and Planet of the Apes were filmed. We crossed many rivers, and spent much time with our feet in rivulets where the trail should be.
A very long uphill followed by a very fast downhill and we still only got 11 miles done. Partly because I lay in for hours thinking it was hecking it down with rain - turns out electricity pylons are just very noisy things that sound like rain hammering on the Clingfilm Castle.
The scenery? Like Wales. Exactly like Wales only devoid of sheep.
Then the second ‘up’ came: a mere 1,000 feet over four miles, an unexpected storm billowed in over the mountains. Tomorrow was supposed to be warm, sunny and lovely and instead we’re about to be buried in snow. We’ve both got gear good for these conditions but we may have to bail tomorrow and sit it out again. I can barely type: my fingers are so cold.
Thankfully, both Panic Noodles and I (Hot Cheeks has left the scene again) have got gear suitable for sub-zero conditions. Tonight we sleep under electricity pylons again. And most importantly, I’ve remembered to put both my water sanitation systems, my battery pack, my mobile phone and my SOS beacon into my sleeping bag to spare their batteries. My feet not half get a battering though.
Of all the things I didn’t expect once we moved to the desert adjacent to the Mojave Desert, snow would be it. Lots and lots of sleet, snow and sideways rain all day. It was the most miserable day I’ve had on trail since the hike up to Lake Morena on my third day.
Thank God for the support of the communities with whom we occasionally meet - the peeps at Green Valley Market were unbelievably hospitable. Then there was the two guys trying to find us accommodation and the one Trail Angel, Bruce, who gave us a lift over twenty miles to the shittiest hotel in the West. It doesn’t even have wi-fi (sob!) and I swear the towels are recycled from 1970s terry towelling. No shampoo either. I don’t think Covid-19 is the disease I am most at risk from right now.
I now have chafing on chafing, bruises on bruises, and blisters on blisters. Still, one hot shower and one hot meal, and I’m back to being content again. I've also badly injured my foot. Not sure how.
Tomorrow, sadly, is another storm day so yet another sitting around day annoyingly - we are changing hotel though. Most deffo.
Last night, as I lay in my oversized bed, in an American hotel room, something that one would ordinarily be depicted on CSI or Criminal Minds, you know the type that serial killers like to frequent. Well, it was once of those nights that saw me suffering with my ongoing insomnia: a baby screamed all night (I felt like joining in) in the adjacent room, the room below me had its TV very loud for much of the night, the neighbours had an almighty row, and beside me Panic Noodles slept quite contently.
Until I sneezed gently - and she absolutely shit herself. I have been chortling away to myself ever since. I think I've caught what they call cabin fever.
Panic Noodles queuing for coffee at Starbucks drive-thru this morning
Aside from that, we have moved to a hotel with Wi-Fi (yay!) and we’ve both resupplied, and Bruce is going to pick us up tomorrow so we can get to the trail early. Hopefully six days hiking to Tehachapi. I can’t pronounce it but that’s where I’m going.
This has been unusually wet period. Good because there was drought in January and February but not so good for us March starters.