mile 566.3 (Hwy 58) – mile 558.5 (Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd)

7.8 miles
Let me see if I can explain this easily. We slack-packed today. Why would we bother doing this for 7.8 miles? Water. 

The next really reliable water is mile 583. The eight miles we hiked today is the difference between a 24.5 mile water carry and a 16.7 mile water carry. That’s the difference between about five liters (11 lbs) and about 3 liters (6.6 lbs). And when you’re already carrying 5-7 days of food, that four lbs makes a big difference. 

So, that’s what we did this morning. Lovely Barbara dropped us off eight miles up trail and we hiked back down to where we left off yesterday. I feel like a super hero without a pack on! Wow!

After our little baby hike, Barbara picked us up, and we got pizza and ate it on her patio. Then she took us to the post office to mail some food ahead to ourselves and mail some gear home. Then, she dropped us off at the Best Western Mountain Inn. We decided to splurge for a room tonight. Bed! Shower! Wifi! 

I was sad to say goodbye to Barbara. She is an amazing lady. Eighty years old, though you would never know it. She lost her husband eight years ago when a truck driver hit him during a windstorm. Her husband had pulled off the road, but the driver was texting and driving too fast. She’s so strong, but you can tell she was completely in love with him and still misses him every day. She reminded me that I need to tell Hunter how special he is to me every single day. Absolutely. Yes. I agree. 

While it is nice to be in this big bed with the AC running, having showered most of the dirt off of myself, it was really nice to stay in someone’s home. Thanks, Barbara!!!

It turns out that Dudders is staying in the same hotel! So, we all went to a movie- Alice Through the Looking Glass- and ate so much popcorn! It was such a relief to have my mind completely on that story! No thoughts of hiking or water or resupply. Just pure escapism. 

Now it’s time for the sleep of a lifetime. The best bed I’ve slept in in over a month!

Today I learned to always get a confirmation number when you make a reservation. Always. 

Today’s hike was powered by not having to carry a full pack!!! I just flew!

Me and Blazer slack packing.