David from the Roadside: Last night Runningbird called during and after her experience with “the Guzzler” (her story) and we decided I would try to meet up with her sometime in the morning hours. She was about out of food, had broken her sunglasses, and had a gash or two that needed looking at. Yes, the broken sunglasses and the gashes were probably related stories but I decided somethings I just shouldn’t ask about.
I woke at 0500 and checked the tracker, nothing. I made a thermos of coffee for her and put together some other snacks including broccoli, peanut butter tortillas, green olives, a protein shake, some peanut butter pretzels, and a Gatorade. I knew she wouldn’t eat much of it but I needed to have options available. I checked the tracker again and saw movement so I got underway. It was maybe about a 90 minute drive to Pine Canyon Rd, the first opportunity I would have for a road crossing with Runningbird. If I missed her there I had two more options before she moved off into the desert. I took the Tehachapi-Willow Springs road and it is one long, straight, two-lane road, sand on both sides, 60 mph, 2 stop signs, for a VERY long time. Scenery – sand, cactus, windmills, and solar panels. AND, that’s what Runningbird is hiking through as I type this, and will be well into the evening.
When Runningbird arrived at Pine Canyon Rd, after hugs and getting her pack off, she went for the coffee first. She sat in a chair (that was hard for her) by the tailgate and I tended to her wounds while she ate. While there a couple other hikers, Maximus (reverend) and Laser visited briefly, we stocked them up on water, shared a prayer with Maximus and they headed off. We swapped out Runningbird’s broken sunglasses with one of the two spares we had brought and she was back on the trial. Several other hikers were going into the small nearby town to chill, get free ice cream and showers, and would be waiting until evening to start hiking the “aqueduct” section. Runningbird opted to keep moving through the day and take a zero later on in the week.