Sierra Family Planning Meeting, or, Full-Baked Pastries and a Half-Baked Plan

June 6, 2017
Tehachapi Zero Day
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 32

Woke up waaay too early on the floor of the hotel room atop my worn Thermarest Z-Lite sleeping pad. Sam and Alex in the queen bed, Tyler and Madison squeezed into the single. If you're wondering how that situation works out, the Santa Fe motel is an establishment that believes in three-person sleeping arrangements but is happy to accommodate more per room by whatever means necessary. Why they believe a single plus a queen bed is the perfect setup in a motel room with absolutely no remaining floor space (except the corner I found to lay my sleeping pad down) is beyond me, but it is the cheapest spot in town so I won't complain. 

Several hours after I lay awake staring at the ceiling the rest of the room rose from their slumber. We headed over to the German bakery for our Sierra resupply planning meeting. The meeting saw ten totally unprepared hikers, one person with a homebrewed town guide (me), and one person with mountain guiding experience (Justin). I am by no means suggesting that Justin or I were more prepared than the rest of the folks at the table, rather, I'm trying to paint an accurate picture of how intensely we had no idea what the fuck we were getting ourselves into.

We hatched a half-baked plan over fully-baked German pastries for where to resupply and towns we might meet up in should we get separated over the course of the days. 

Chores followed the Sierra planning meeting. Expediency is key with chores—you don't want to spend your entire zero day at the laundromat, grocery shopping, or organizing food. Hiker chores include, but are not limited to: laundry (find something to wear while you wash all your clothes, if possible get one person to stay behind and do laundry while you run other errands for them), grocery shopping (usually even if you get a resupply box there are snacks and supplemental treats you'll add to the mix), and the great dreaded food repackaging (a major bummer that requires altogether too much time and space to execute and results in way more trash than could ever be palatable).

I am an anomaly of a person who loves grocery shopping, and hiking grocery shopping is even more fun because, for the first time in my life, I can eat LITERALLY whatever I want. Pint of ice cream. Family size bag of peanut butter m&ms. Carton of Andes mints. Two six packs of beer. All of the malt vinegar & sea salt potato chips on the planet. All of the cheese.

Grocery shopping has another perk on trail—local food! Every town has a new assortment of regional snacks that I've never seen before. What fun!

Alex and I separated as much of our gear as we could possibly live without for the next week and shipped it ahead to Kennedy Meadows. Our packs are still going to be horribly, impossibly heavy, but we are not ones to accept a shitty situation without at least trying to do something about it. The UPS store is just across the parking lot from the grocery store, and most of the grocery shoppers headed that way to ship food to Kennedy Meadows instead of trying to buy it there.

We hitched home (aka the Santa Fe motel) from the grocery store with a real estate agent in a minivan. We didn't think there was enough room in the van to fit Alex, so he started walking to the motel. Of course, we figured it out and made room, picking him up just a block from where we had gotten the hitch, but for his chivalry Justin proclaimed that I "really need to marry that guy".

Once home we spent the requisite hour sorting food and arranging packages, trying to estimate how much we would be eating within the next week. During this final chore, Silver Fox got into town, so Sonya, Alex, and I met him, Chris, and Yeti (Neil) for tacos at Taco Samich. The family made a plan to go to family night at the movie theater ($4 for a feature film!), and we settled on the new Pirates of the Caribbean (instead of Wonder Woman). It was terrible. It was so terrible that Silver Fox had already blogged about how terrible it was by the time we got home from the movie. Impressive.

I slept on the floor again, comfortable with having my own "bed", while Sam and Alex shared the queen again and Tyler and Madison fit in the impossibly small twin bed. I'd like to know how that arrangement worked out for Flame, Colten, Ben and Sonya in the adjacent room.

We've planned to have most of the day in town tomorrow and get a late start out, putting a few miles in after the heat of the day has passed. I'm eager to get back on trail but feel a bit discombobulated and out of sorts with all this new gear swapped in.

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Photo Credit: Mariah Guay