May 28, 2018 | miles 406.5 to 436.1 | Northfork Ranger Station
Felix and I woke up late to wet quilts. So much for a hopefully dry night. The morning sun was beginning to peak over the hills, so we opted for a slow rise to give the sun time to take some condensation off our quilts. Departure time was 7:35 am – my latest non town start to date.
The morning was unexpectedly hot, which coupled with the amount of food I crammed for breakfast left me feeling in questionable shape for the morning climb. Immediately I regretted not departing earlier. Felix and I spent the first two hours ascending to a peak from which we could see the airport and Lockheed Martin facility in Palmdale off in the distance. To think just said months earlier I was there on work obligations.
The following two hours took us down to the fire station where we found papi and power mode relaxing at a picnic table next to the water. We joined them, laying out our quilts to dry under the baking sun. Apparently a local pizza place delivered to the station, but it was too pricey and too hot for pizza. Instead we just spent the next 1.5 hours relaxing, eating, and drinking up in preparation for the long dry stretch ahead.
I departed first bidding farewell to Felix, Papi, and power mode as well as Steve and Katie who arrived as I was leaving. With nearly 18 miles to the next water I knew I needed time to hike on. Somehow as I left though, my legs finally engaged in hiking mode, allowing me to power through the first six miles before I took a nap in the shade to give my feet some rest.
The remaining twelve miles thereafter were tough- a steep uphill followed by a steep downhill. However I was still reasonably fresh off the zero and was able to push through – getting to enjoy a beautiful view as I described from Mt. Gleason down to the ranger station.
Finally at the ranger station, I walk toward the water sign just to hear someone yell “Clax!” I turn to find Macguyver in her tent next to the road!
The last day I’ve been chasing her tail, always three miles behind, so it was great to see her again. She’s been putting in the miles ever since her friends realized they couldn’t keep up, but in turn her right foot was swollen and hurting. I set up camp next to her as we caught up, both of us glad to see a friend. Apparently I was the only one she’s seen all day.
Tomorrow we’ll be making our way over to Agua Dulce just eighteen miles away. Macguyver will likely take a zero for her foot, but I’ll push on most likely since I’ve got enough food to last me nearly to Tehachapi. I’m looking forward to hiking and chatting with Macguyver again.
P.S. Felix rolled in at 10:15 PM in his crazy Felix ways!