Spent all day trying to figure out my options. There are around 20 trail miles to the next pass that gets me in to town. It’s over 100 degrees now and I can’t safely hike at night anymore without my headlamp working. I’m worried that my pack strap will break during my hike and that all the weight will then be on my shoulders for those 20 miles in the heat. Not good. I’m on a dirt road that may lead to a main road which I may be able to get a hitch in to the next town. Maybe. Or maybe I can contact someone who can pick me up on said dirt road, but service is spotty now. For the nearly 9 hours I pondered my options. I slowly followed the shade around the Joshua tree throughout the day, took small naps as best I could in the heat, tried to make some calls to known trail angels to have me picked up. 9 hours. Only 2 people walked by me during that whole time. They were in there early twenties and pushed on after taking a small break and getting water.
I finally made the decision to walk out on the dirt road and take my chances hitching out at the end of it. I started out just around 5 pm. Still hot, but doable. It was 5 miles down and I got to the intersection pretty fast. Sat there for about an hour with no luck on hitching. Not many cars drove by at this time of day. I reserved to camp here for the night and get up early to try and catch people going in to town. It’s 12 miles to Lake Isabella where I wanted to go.
Next morning I got up early and started road walking, thumb out. I got about 2 miles down the road before I got my hitch. A guy named Sal. Cool guy. He was retired and was heading to his girlfriends house that morning and said he could drop me close to where I wanted to go where a bus could take me the rest of the way. I had checked on my maps and heard from fellow hikers that there was a KOA in Weldon, one town over from Lake Isabella, that some of them were staying at to escape the heat. Grab the bus to the KOA and got me a ‘Kabin’ with air conditioning. Sweet! Plugged my phone in and checked out the place.
I knew at least a half dozen people that were here, and had also jumped trail to escape the heat. Some were moving on, some were staying a bit longer. Took a much needed shower, grabbed some snacks and ice cream from the KOA shop, and set about figuring out what to do about my gear and the next move. After spending the night I woke up refreshed and ready to get things done.
I jumped online and checked out some pack and headlamp options. I decided to order through Amazon because it was Friday and my gear should arrive by Monday. This would also give the heat wave time to die down a bit. Checked out of the KOA and took the bus to Lake Isabella and checked in to the Motel in town.
Quaint little place. It was like spending time at your Grandma’s house in her spare bedroom. Little did I know that this would be the start of my ‘Off Trail Blues’.
I didn’t get back on trail until the Next Friday! One week later. Here is the quick version of the week. Spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at the motel. On Monday I went to the Lake Isabella Post Office to get my pack and headlamp. Headlamp arrived but the pack didn’t. I waited until the Post Office closed, but no pack. Booked another night at the motel. Checked online with Amazon and this is what I saw.
What could I do but wait? Went back to the KOA on Tuesday in Welden to wait, because it was a few dollars cheaper and a change of scenery. That evening at the KOA I hung out with a real nice couple Jan and Bill. They offered me watermelon and we chatted for a couple hours. ( Hi guys if you’re reading this!! And what was the joke? Washington, Johnson, and Well Shit? Haha! ) Took the bus back to Lake Isabella Wednesday, and no new pack. Contacted Amazon, they said the first one got lost in transit and they will send one that will definitely arrive by Friday. Ugh!! Decided for a bigger change of scenery and took the hour long bus ride to Bakersfield. Spent Wednesday, and Thursday night there and came back to Lake Isabella on Friday. I had decided that if the pack didn’t arrive I’m taking the bus to the trail-head and continuing on my hike anyway, busted pack and all. I went to the post office 20 minutes before it closed and my pack hadn’t arrived! How frustrating! I made arrangements with the postal lady to have it bounced up to me in Lone Pine, went to the local Subway and packed out a sandwich and headed for the bus-stop. I’m heading on, with my broken pack. To Walker Pass ( mile 652 ) I go. I can’t take being off trail anymore!
( June 21 – June 30 )
*A friend pointed out that my blogs can get confusing, so I will start ending each one with the date range it covers.
** Oh, and what did I do for the week in town? Blogged some; This was the week I pushed out a good series of blogs. Ate fast food, and ate at some diners. Watched TV, napped, made some phone calls. Tapped my foot in impatience a lot. Didn’t do much of note outside… and for good reason. It was Hot all week!