Day 47- Slackpacking

I woke early to a cry of “STEAMROLLER!” followed by a rambunctious Bandaid log-rolling over me in my bed. Can’t a girl sleep in on her day off?!? Jailbreak and I protested dramatically, but we ended up in the lobby for continental breakfast far earlier than we would have liked. Hiker hunger was back and I ate more than my fair share of fruit, oatmeal, bagels, meatless sausage and granola with soy milk. A couple who was staying at the hotel spoke with us and had lots of questions. We are a bit of an oddity, a sideshow in a way, that people don’t always understand. Although we all ate multiple heaping plates of food, at least we didn’t also smell like we slept behind a dumpster in this moment.

When we were finally motivated, we called an Uber to get to the post office and back (thru-hikers don’t want to walk any more than they absolutely have to) to pick up packages and then wandered (on foot!) down the road, through a giant construction site for a new Walmart (yayyyyyy corporate America…. bleh), and eventually got to a Dollar Store, a sporting goods store, and a grocery store. We bought our resupply for the next section along with some snacks and goodies for at the hotel. We met another hiker at the grocery store (we stand out and are pretty darn obvious) named Sour Patch. He tagged along in our Uber back to the hotel and hung out with us while we exploded our groceries around our hotel room, unboxing, sharing and repackaging nearly everything we bought. Sour Patch headed out and we decided to try an interesting new thing: slackpacking.

Slackpacking is when you hike without some or all of your gear (so, hiking) on a backpacking trip. The way the trail passes Tehachapi makes this a perfect section to slackpack. The trail crosses two roads outside of town with almost 8 waterless miles of trail between them. We hitched into town on the first road. To slackpack, we will hitch back to where we left the trail, hike the 8ish miles to the other road, then hitch back to the hotel.

We each filled a water bottle, grabbed a couple of snack bars and called our Uber. We had gotten the name and number of the driver from earlier and she gladly took us back to the trail. It felt incredible to be out on the trail without a pack.

We were still in wind farm territory, and I was still amazed by the towering structures. They seemed to go on forever, as do my photos of them. Sorry not sorry.

The trail finally turned away from the turbines and began descending toward the highway. It was getting late in the afternoon and as the shadows grew, so did our appetites and we realized that we had somehow forgotten to eat lunch. Bandaid was hangry (and hiker hanger is seriously extra strength)so we tried to pick up the already-quick pace. The smooth downhill trail was so nice that I was actually happy to jog parts of it- which is REALLY saying something because I HATE running.

We crossed some railroad tracks (complete with a train barreling toward us, way faster than we had anticipated) and then made it to the highway, where the trail crosses an overpass to continue on the other side. We called our Uber friend and were soon back in town.

Since Bandaid’s hanger was now nearing homicidal severity, we got carry-out sushi before heading back to the hotel. We got a LOT of sushi.

We scarfed this insane amount of rice with various veggies, fish, fried things and excessive soy sauce. We again went to the pool and then did our best to stay up late in order to reset our sleep schedule to better match a night hiking pattern due to warnings of the next section being very hot and dry. We struggled with this as usual but got some good laughs and enjoyed our time.

We all thoroughly enjoyed slackpacking today and will be looking for more opportunities to do so. I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow!

Miles: 7.9

Trail magic: 0

Hiked with: Jailbreak, Bandaid

Camped with: Jailbreak, Bandaid

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