From Hiker Heaven to Powerhouse Fire to Day Off @ Windwolves!

So, today [Jamie was writing on June 1] was a pretty good day for me.  I just had an absolutely wonderful day off or a zero, on Friday when I arrived at mile 478 aka The Anderson’s.  Frazier picked me up from the fire station at Green Valley and we went into Palmdale and got a kickass hotel room at the John Jay Best Western so that we could go visit our friends, Dave and Sheryl Clendenen in Lebec.  

Where do I begin?  So much in the last two days, so I’ll start from my departure from the Saufley’s in Agua Dulce.  I hiked 25 miles from the Saufley’s on Friday to the the Anderson’s.  I got hiking by 6:45 am and made it to there by 6pm .  I was surrounded by a lot of other hikers that day – some really cool folks, like Snickers, a dude from Phoenix, and Aremba (sp), a girl from South Africa.  But I still hiked alone.  It was a really hot day and we relied solely on two water caches for the entire day.  And to top it off I also had my period (day 2) and ran out of feminine supplies 😦  But I was resourceful and made do.  Oh, and I almost rubbed on some poison oak while going to the bathroom, but realized it just in time. Thank god.  

So anyway, I was pretty good all day, not too exhausted or in much foot pain.  About six miles from the Anderson’s, or San Francisquito Rd, we noticed a fire in the near distant hills.  It looked like it had just begun, but we could soon smell the smoke and see the ashes in the air.  it was definitely alarming and caught my attention, but didn’t think I had much to worry about.  By the time we got to the last ridge overlooking Green Valley (the community where the Andersons live) we saw it was burning in the hills bordering town!  Very close!

Snickers and I got to the road first and decided to wait for the next two hikers so we could go  talk to the fire station rangers about the fire.  A guy named Two Hats and another named Matan (?) arrived shortly after and we found out that it was growing quickly.  They told us to stay put and camp right there at the fire station.  So we did and awaited updates.  We all suspected the next portion of the trail may shut down.  There were seven of us camped at the fire station and four others went down to the Anderson’s. Since Frazier was coming to get me there, I stayed put and had no real desire to go to the Anderson’s, as awesome as they are (a trail angel home).  My cell phone didn’t work there, so I just hoped that Frazier would be able to get through the road to me.  I had called him earlier from the Ranger’s house phone.  I ate dinner (the crappiest yet — banana instant pudding, tortilla w/ parmesan cheese and some roasted salted dried peas and a Clif bar) then waited and chatted with my fellow hikers.

Frazier finally got there at 10:05 pm!  He said the cops had the road closed to everyone but residents till 10pm and he had been waiting at the top of the canyon for 45 minutes!  I felt really bad, but glad he got there when he did.  Could have been worse.  So, a very tired me hurriedly grabbed my strewn out belongings and hopped in the truck.  We drove to nearby Palmdale and got a room at a really fancy Best Western… sooooo  comfortable.  Then, since I was starving, we went to Denny’s to have an awesome late to go dinner.  Ahhh…  It was so nice to be full and then crawl into an amazingly comfy bed with my husband.  Soooo tired!

So, we slept in the next morning, and then headed for the Clendenen’s one hour away.  First we stopped at Trader Joe’s to get them a nice dinner gift and flowers, and some breakfast and some more yummy trail food for me.  Then I realized I left my trekking poles at the Ranger Station!!!  Arrrrgh!  We had to go back to try to find them.  They are precious and valuable pieces (?) to my adventure!  So, we went back, but were dined access into the canyon due to the growing fire.  We thought we were doomed, BUT Frazier saved the day with his google earthing skills!!!  He found a network of forest service roads that would take us to the ranger station!  And, very luckily, they weren’t shut down or blocked and we made it!  Woohoo!  So impressed with my wonderful hubby:).  I just got out of the truck and quickly over to the place where I left my poles   …   and they weren’t there!  We looked all around, to no avail and then decided to knock on the caretaker’s door to see if he was home by chance, and …  he was and he had my poles!  Thank goodness!  Those poles are very precious!  I thanked him a million times over and we drove away, on our way to the Clendenen’s!  Success!

As we left, we saw some of the hikers I was with the day before (Snickers and Aremba) walking on the road towards Hikertown (Lancaster Hwy 138 trail angel house).  So we stopped and offered them a ride, and they accepted.  We were glad to help — 10+  road walk miles is pretty unbearable!

My day off w/ Frazier and the Clendenen’s was AWESOME!!  I hadn’t een them in a while and had never been to their house, so I was excited.  They live on Windwolves Preserve, between Bakersfield and Lebec.  They live at the top of this beautiful canyon, Tenaya Canyon and it’s surrounded by oak trees and lovely vegetation.  Immaculate yard and a garden too!  The first thing we did was hang out and watch their pet/educational aid desert tortoise, Daisy Mae.  She was so cute and she loves people.  Dave fed her a rose and some lettuce for dinner and it was such an amazing thing to experience.  Tortoises are one of the coolest living things I have ever seen.  I had a ball watching her.  We then proceeded to socialize, hang out, and love on their animals, Luna a 14 year old dog and their new kitty, Squeaks. So cute!  I love dogs and cats and have really been missing mine, so this was a treat.  For dinner we ate a delicious lamb shank stew, asparagus and beet salad (Frazier and I made), gorgonzola mashed potatoes and were so fricken delicious.  I was so happy and thankful, we had a great time.  

Then we drove down the canyon to a large meadow where they frequently walk and observe wildlife — like bears, foxes, deer, bobcat and mountain lion just the day before!  We walked at dusk till the sun went down and we got to watch a grey fox hunt insects for about 20 minutes.  He was about 400 yards in front of us and didn’t mind our presence a bit! So awesome and beautiful.  THen we went back to the house for dessert (lemon tart) and a slideshow of our east cost vacation pics together last September.  SO good to see DC’s professional pics, he is a great photographer.

[next installment:  slingshot ahead and notes from the Southern Sierra!]

About jamieannhaney

I am a 30 yr old, newly married, nature loving, hiking girl, set out to have a challenge, adventure and rite of passage out of kid-hood. I have an amazing life, husband, and friends, and I just want to be the best person I can be for all of that love around me :)
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