So, we left off the story when I walked through Burbank feeling strong and full of myself. I ended up only walking 6 miles that day, and then Sharon picked me up. We had to shop for me to cook, and get all the groceries up to Mallory’s place. That, ended up being a lot of carrying up some sharp and long stairs. Then I cooked, but unfortunately, it got to be an extremely late dinner. Still tasted good, and we headed to bed past 1 am.
The next morning I got a bit of a late start, and the sun was already pounding the pavement. Between the late night, all the carrying heavy packs up stairs, the excitement of the first few days and the heat I soon realized I was in trouble. That night I had planned to stay at a hotel, but within the first mile my right ankle swelled up and I was in pain. I managed to walk two more miles before I finally gave up, about 5 miles out from my destination. I needed some serious rest and my ankle needed ice and elevation. So, I took a bus to the hotel and got myself checked in by noon. Propping the foot up and smacking an icepack on it, I was sound asleep within minutes. I woke up briefly around 3 pm and ordered chinese food in, I was simply done for. I barely ate half a portion before I fell in another deep sleep – a sleep Mallory woke me off at 6 pm when she called to hear if I was ready for her and Erich to drop off my pack. They did, and we hung out for about 30 mins. After Erich and Mallory left, I ate the rest of the Chinese food and fell asleep again. The next morning I woke at 9 and realized I was just not yet ready for a full day of walking. Mostly because there was still so much route planning to do, couch surfing to reach out with, and my laundry had to get done. So, I took another day off. I had to get some groceries and do the route planning so I walked to the local shopping area and back – a total of 6 miles walk that day. Effectively making up for cutting my day before short.
I got everything done, and Friday morning I was on the road at 7 am, feeling good and walking strong. Ankle back to it’s normal cooperative self. This walk out of the city was, I must admit, anything but charming. It was industrial, the trailing end of the city, and I had to pass a landfill which I could smell for a solid mile before and after. Also, this part of the road had very little room, or in some cases no room, for me to be walking. This means cars were coming right at me, and had to pull over to avoid hitting me in the last minute. Several times I jumped to the side while keeping my cart between me and the car as a buffer. I made it through, and started to solidly head out of the city. Sierra Highway kept me next to freeway 14 and into the rolling hills of California. Almost instantly I had to scale a huge hill that took me about 4 hours to tackle. My noon day break from 11:30 am to 4 pm was in a shady, if rather uncomfortable spot by the road. It was tantalizing, reminding me of the wildness that could be, but which now had gotten so polluted.
By 5:30 pm I had reached my goal of the day in Newhall, and was rather proud of myself. I wanted to walk a little further, but straight ahead of me was another significant hill, and I was not up for that.
So, now what to do? I was at a really busy intersection at 5:30 and ready really to call it quits on the day. To the side of me was highway 14, I was on Sierra highway, intersecting Newhall Rd – all big roads. The only place to sit down was a fast food place, and I must admit, I broke down and headed to the cool shade of that option. The meal itself was just as disgusting as I remember that type of fast food to be. On my way there I spied some thick trees over to the side and figured I could find a spot to sleep. So, I spent the time at the fast food place until past 7 pm and made my way to the tree. I actually found a really neat little spot, under a huge evergreen oak, in a slight depression. I am sure I couldn’t be seen, and while this was not the most idyllic of camping spots I have ever been in, it worked for the night. Throughout the night the light of a Chevron sign illuminated my night. The sound of the traffic from the freeway was constant. Interestingly, the crickets did their best to overshadow the traffic sounds. At some point in the night I also saw a fox or coyote.
This morning I woke at 6 am with the birdies and packing up camp took about 45 mins, when I set out on the road again. Some pictures are coming soon from the views I have gotten after scaling several, overwhelmingly tough hills.