Unscheduled Off-trail Days

Flexibility and adaptation.

We both had a rough week mentally.  As we departed Tehachapi, we learned of the suicide of a friend.  Without connectivity the following five days, the mind was free to wander.  In a situation like this, that’s not always good.

Issues with equipment – my pants started falling apart after 600 miles and we had wholesale battery failures for our GPS emergency beacon, limping it in with our headlamp batteries, swapping individual cells out until we could get it to work. 

The former was fixable on trail, the latter not.  The latter was critical, especially as we head into the high elevations and backcountry of the Sierra Nevada.

But most importantly, we needed the mental reset we could only get by talking to friends and getting details on what could be knowable about a senseless loss.

We hopped off trail at Walker Pass, mile 652.  The majority of hikers head to Lake Isabella to the west.  We opted to head to Ridgecrest instead, the same distance east but down on the desert floor.

Another reason to head that east was that I used to live in Ridgecrest as a kid and hadn’t been back in 35 years.

It was views like this that helped plant seeds that grew into treks like this.


That was a sunset view from the main boulevard in town.  Yes, town surrounds this plot of land and I had to cross four lanes of traffic to get this shot without power lines.

It was a bit surreal to be staying in a hotel just a few minutes walk to the elementary school where I went to 5th and 6th grade, one of the eight (that I can remember) schools that I attended before graduation. The house that we lived in at the time was just a few minutes past that, but the parcels have been scoured down flat and all that remains of those neighborhoods are the streets.

The reset was good and we got the things taken care of that we needed.

Now to resume the trail, crossing trails I hiked as a Scout when we lived here.

Again, the seed.


2 thoughts on “Unscheduled Off-trail Days”

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Premature death, revisiting places from childhood sounds like the ingredients for reflecting on the winding path of life. You are on a journey that I know would inspire in me an enormous amount of self-reflection. You won’t likely be the same at the end of this. Thank you for sharing.

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