Day 32 - LA aqueduct to tehachapi hills
April 28 | Miles 528 - 552
Today I knew there was a special treat on the way.
I’d called my dad the day before from Hiker Town, knowing he’d be in the LA area and wondering if we could meet up somewhere. This turned into a full-on orchestration of some trail magic, to be delivered at a bridge in the middle of a dirt road in the middle of a wind farm in the middle of the desert.
We slept in and got a late start knowing we only had 7 miles to go to get to the meetup spot.
By 8 the sun was already extreme and punishing.
The only things living around here were snakes and Joshua Trees.
We reached the bridge-early, of course-and sprawled in the shade as the next few hours crept by veeeeery slowly and the heat refused to relent.
When I knew the time was near I crawled out from under the bridge like a proper troll and roasted in the sun, waiting for signs of my dad.
An anxious hour passed. The beasts were getting hungry. Would he make it? Would he be lost in the desert with no escape? Would I be denied the new pair of shoes he was bringing for me that my feet were crying for?
And then, in a moment of glory, a black Cadillac skidded around the corner, emerging from a forest of windmills and leaving a thick cloud of dust in its wake.
SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY!!!!!!
I shrieked and directed dad to the bridge as we chased after him. I was in disbelief–this was actually going to work. He stepped out of the car in his Canadian Tuxedo and Nike’s, completing the look with his two signature gold chains and a pair of aviators (like father like daughter).
I gave him a huge hug and caught a strong whiff of his cologne, wondering if I smelled…well…just as fragrant.
He proceeded to unload from the trunk of the car:
3 cases of Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, and Sprite; 25 cheeseburgers with all the fixings on the side; 25 orders of fries; 4 shakes; 5 giant bags of chips; 5 party-size packages of cookies plus some homemade chocolate chip ones he flew out (thanks Mom!!); 3 gallons of Gatorade; and most importantly, a shiny new pair of Altra Lone Peaks. I almost cried.
We went to town on the food, scarfing around 3 burgers each before summoning the rest of the hikers from under the bridge to join the feast.
It was an awesome moment. We were lucky enough to share it with a family of 7, who were also hiking with their dog (dad loved that part maybe the most). We gorged ourselves and shared an epic afternoon of trail magic. The man who arrived as John Kevin left that afternoon as “Uber Eats.”
I was so full of gratitude (and red meat for the first time in like a year).
Well, after we said our goodbyes, it came time to pay the piper. We death marched through the remaining miles of wind farm with a bad collective case of the meat sweats.
Honestly though, I was riding high. It felt so good to see my dad and share that joy with everyone that I could pretty much ignore my stomach’s protests.
We decided to hike well into the night and make some solid headway towards Tehachapi.
Somewhere in the midst of the evening I came upon a trail register, which, when I signed and dated it, made me realize that today was my one-month trailiversary. One-fifth of the trail done in a month. 550 miles of sand, snow, dirt, blood, sweat, and tears. A surreal experience so far.
I felt nothing but blessed as we collapsed at our pitch-dark campsite around 11PM. I squeezed in one last burger and a bag full of cookies before I hit the pillow, consequences be damned.