EMBRACING THE WIND
PCT DAY 28: Mile 535 (Cottonwood Creek) – Mile 553.4
Wednesday May 11, 2016: 18.4 miles PCT ( 29.6 km)
It was so beautiful to wake up in the quite of the morning. It was warm, the wind turbines were still and silent. Even though we were a bit slow to get going, we still ended up leaving camp before the wind started the blades spinning. The morning light was crisp and clean. I stopped so many times to take photos of the giants surrounding us.
For the first hour we hiked in perfect conditions passing hundreds of wind turbines standing still. This, as you can guess did not last. At first there was a gentle breeze which was refreshing. This quickly turned into a strong wind which was sweeping our legs from under us. We were ascending away from the valley and leaving the wind farm behind.
Soon we dropped down a steep trail which led to a small flowing stream at the bottom of a canyon. The Tylerhorse Canyon stream would be the last chance to top up on water before Tehachapi. Here we found a few other hikers soaking their feet in the cold water. It seemed a bit early for us to stop for a break, but we did anyway. And we also ended up having lunch – at 10 am.
Just as well, as from here until pretty much the rest of the day we ascended over inumerable switchbacks. At one stage it felt like we were winding our way around a mountain, only to arrive back where we started but at higher elevation. The switchbacks felt never ending. Even though the total elevation rise for this section was only 1,200 feet, it was hard work. We stopped a few times to rest. It was warm and humid but the wind was so welcomed.
Without the wind, this would have been a much more physically and mentally challenging section to hike. I never thought I would welcome the wind. But I am so grateful for its presence today. As we were increasing in altidude, I also noticed the most welcomed return of spring flowers lining the trail.
By mid-afternoon our spirits were beginning to flag and almost on queue a Trail Angel cache of water, apples and oranges appeared. It was such an unbelievable and oh so welcomed gift. We spent almost half an hour here. The apples were so delicious. I drank almost a litre of water, I had not realised I was so thirsty. Refreshed, recharged and restored we made short work of the next 5 miles to our campspot. We decided not to go into Tehachapi today. We stopped about 4 miles short of the Willow Spring Rd intersection with the PCT. Our campspot was at just over 6,000 feet in elevation and we were camped right alongside another enormous wind farm. But just like yesterday as the sun began to set, the wind dropped and the turbine blades stopped spinning. It was a blissfully quite spot to camp.