Mile reached: 566.4 (+31.4)
High: Trail magic at the Mile 549 Bar and Grill!
Low: No water at the Mile 549 Bar and Grill when I arrived
I set my alarm for 5:30, which was uncomfortably early. Since the upcoming miles would be hot and dry, I successfully fought off the urge to hit snooze. Also, much to my delight the ants left me alone all night and curiously the sacrificial almond was gone. I wondered if a mouse snatched it or the ants figured something out.
I got out from under the overpass and back to the trail. The next stop would be the last reliable water source for 23 miles, where I’d catch a ride into Tehachappi. To get there, I spent much of the morning crossing a web of access roads for a wind farm. It was entertaining to see where various parties gave up and made camp in the middle of there previous night. I saw a lot more hikers cowboy camping than usual, and very few did all 25 miles to water from Hiker Town.
The water source was tiny stream with copious amounts of silt. My water filter worked admirably, but I knew I’d need to spend some time cleaning it in town. I discovered that I’d finally caught up to “Raider”, an Austrian who exclusively resupplies out of hiker boxes. He was the reason there was nothing worth taking out of the boxes in Agua Dulce.
Rather than do something nice like go up the canyon with water, the trail took a long traverse just a few hundred feet above the desert floor. Of course, it shortly thereafter dropped 400 feet to cross a canyon and immediately regain the elevation on the other side. After a long series of switchbacks, I rounded a corner and saw two brightly colored umbrellas. As I walked up, I was informed that I had reached the Mile 549 Bar and Grill, the best kept secret on the PCT.
The shade was wonderful, but all of the food and water had been cleaned out. So, I simply sat in the shade and began to eat my lunch. All of a sudden a truck drove around the corner, and we were excited that there would be trail magic. But, the truck just drove on by followed by audible disappointment. However, a minute or two later it came back around, parked, and two local trail angels hoped out with lots of treats!
After spending far too long at the bar and grill, I worked up the resolve to finish my remaining miles for the day. On one side I had pleasant views of Double Mountain or the Angeles crest and on the other a veritable forest of wind turbines. At least it wasn’t all that windy.
Throughout the day, I encountered several trail registers and saw “Poseidon” was just a bit ahead of me. Slowly, there would be fewer names separating his from mine with the final register only having one in between. I wasn’t sure I’d catch him, but I managed to do so on the pavement about a mile short of the highway 58 overpass. It was not more than a minute after arriving at the overpass that a car pulled up to drop someone off and offered us a ride into town!
We could not have had a nicer driver. He actually stops working for two months out of the year to focus on just helping hikers. Rather than simply taking us to our hotel, he drove us around Tehachappi giving us the full tour. We were both tired and probably could have done without it, but he was enjoying helping us so much.
After finally getting to our hotel, we did some laundry and had some pizza and beer. I tried to stay up past nine and get some planning done, but I crashed hard phone in hand.