Desert Sunshine


Early this morning, on an exposed 2,000-foot climb outside Tehachapi, I met a group of three PCT hikers heading south. Uh, south?

“We walked north up this trail yesterday,” one guy explained, “and it was just way too hot. We were all getting serious heat exhaustion.” They all nodded, and another guy added, “My thermometer said 113 degrees. It was crazy.” When they nearly ran out of water, and one of them started vomiting, they had decided to turn around, backtrack 10 miles to the last highway crossing, hitchhike to “the beach,” and take a few days off before skipping north 150 miles to the Sierras, with vague plans to make up the missing desert section in a cooler month.

It sounded like a rough time, but I pushed ahead and encountered no such difficulties. My thermometer registered 85 this afternoon, exactly the same as yesterday, and I only needed two of the four liters of water I packed despite 20 miles with only one water source. Hope those guys enjoy the beach, anyway…

1 reply
  1. Zenobia
    Zenobia says:

    Another really great shot, capturing the setting and the mood. I love the way each photo reveals another face of the trail. I have never seen such a variety of habitats; most photographers emphasize the forests. Glad you are so well prepared.

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