Last night the winds in Hikertown sounded more like a tornado. I stayed in the bunkhouse/garage and kept waking up to a thrashing sound against the garage doors. Luckily, I've been falling in and out of deep sleep throughout my hike. The moments when I slip out of consciousness are efficient and dream-filled.
The day's hike was hot and exposed. Leaving Hikertown we had a 17 mile stretch of desert dirt road along the LA Aqueduct.
We all stopped in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day, and took a 3 hour nap.
The evening miles were much cooler and more bearable. When we got to the start of the windmills we were treated to the pinks and blues of the sun setting over the valley and mountains.
My blister has been feeling better but I've been feeling strange in my stomach for the past two days. No signs of food poisoning or water contamination, just unexplainable cramping in my stomach. My guess is that the two giant plates of taco "salad" at Casa De Luna might be to blame.
I woke up feeling much better. Blister was nearly gone and no longer inflamed. My stomach felt much better too -- at least for the time being.
Our hike was hot and exposed. We walked through the Tehachapi Wind Farm, which felt more like something out of a Sci-Fi.
My stomach pain has caused me to lose my appetite. When you're exhausting your body every day going up and over mountains, sweating in the heat of the day, your body can't afford to lose calories. As my energy level dipped, our daily mileage suffered. I remained behind my crew all day. I took more time than usual to give myself breaks, rest up, and actually enjoy some views.
We were all trudging our way up the final climb of the day, in fear of no water when we stumbled upon a trail magic oasis. Fully-stocked water bottles, lounge chairs, and FRESH FRUIT! This was a much welcome reprieve from our climb.
Feeling somewhat rejuvenated we hiked on through sunset. About two miles into our evening walk I had an epiphany. I knew everyone wanted to keep going. I knew I COULD keep going. But, I also knew the best thing for recovery is rest. When we approached a flat scenic spot along our descent I suggested we stay.
It's not always easy to recognize what you need. And saying it out loud, making a request to others is even harder. But I thought, 'what's the rush?'. I know we are all excited to get to town, to see Ed again, and to eat ALL the things. But wouldn't that journey be much more enjoyable if I felt healthy and strong? I needed rest.
Thankfully, I'm with a group of people who care more about each other than miles. Everyone agreed to end early and my request was honored.
We hiked down and along mountainsides and through more windmills before finally making it to Tehachapi.
Ed surprised us at mile 558 with snacks and cold drinks. We hiked seven more miles until the trail intersected with the freeway and we found Ed once again.
Ed has been off trail with a broken foot and has been driving around delivering trail magic and visiting with his hiking buddies.
As per usual we got to town and took care of our immediate needs. Half of the group opted for food while the others went straight for the shower.
I was woken up this morning to more stomach pain. Once you mention pain everyone on trail becomes a doctor.
"You're dehydrated. Drink more water," they'd say.
"Are you using electrolytes? You have to use electrolytes," said others.
"Is it Giardia?," everyone asked.
While I appreciate the concern, I took Cosmo's advice and went to a clinic.
The nurse practitioner that examined me said she's seen a few women come in with similar symptoms and felt better after some digestive enzymes. She gave me a B12 shot, probiotics, magnesium, and commented on how quickly we have been crushing miles on this trail :-)
It's supposed to be a HOT day on the trail so we are taking our time hiking out of town.