Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: A Zero Day in Tehachapi

A “zero” day is a day in which no miles are traveled. Zero days are mainly for resupplying, laundry, showering, and resting. Fortunately for some friends and I, we took care of these chores the day before. Consequently, we had a full zero day in the town of Tehachapi with no trail chores. The day started when I woke up in the backyard of trail angel Tortoise’s house. I cowboy camped next to his trailer because the inside smelled like stale cigarettes and dead animal.


After eating 2 servings of breakfast at a local restaurant, five of us headed to the movie theater for a matinee showing of Neighbors. The movie cost $5, about 75% less than a movie in New York.
By the time the movie was over, we had not eaten in about 3 hours, so Handstand grilled everybody some burgers and hotdogs on Tortoise’s barbecue.
When the food was all gone, a bunch of us packed into the trailer for a couple games of scrabble.


The board games kept us entertained until it was time to head back to the movie theater for an evening showing of X-Men: Days of Future’s Past.
The movie was immediately followed by a trip to the grocery store to pick up some supplies (whiskey, beer, and several bags of chips) for a highly anticipated game of poker.
We hiked back to Tortoise’s backyard and piled into the trailer. Dr. Chip Feinstein did the honorable service of carting our supplies back.


I divided up some scrabble letters to represent the poker chips. After I won the whopping $30 pot, Tortoise opened up the trailer door and invited us all to the local bar. At 9:00, seven of us piled into Tortoise’s car and headed to the bar to play pool, shoot darts, sing karaoke, and have some more drinks. The locals bought us drinks all night in exchange for some travel stories. Apache and I went 6-0 on the pool table but that didn’t stop the locals from buying us more drinks.


Tortoise offered to drive us back at 11:00 but all of us hiker trash decided to stick around the bar.
When the bar announced last call at 1:00, I thought the night was over. At that moment, however, a middle-aged woman and her 35 year-old son insisted that us hikers take a visit to their house so they can cook us bacon and sausage and pour us some more rum and coke. So, six of us piled into their car and headed to their house for a night cap.
Eventually, we decided to call it a night and hike 2.5 miles back home. We reached home (the unused trailer in Tortoise’s backyard) at 4:30. FunSize fell asleep with a big grin, which is how we all felt by the end of the night; exhausted and happy.


When I woke up a couple of hours later, I helped Tortoise with some yard work; mostly digging holes for his garden and helping him set up an outdoor shower for future hikers. I drank 3 cups of coffee and 7 liters of water before hitching a ride back to the trailhead at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was nice to get back on trail, however I don’t recommend hiking a 17-mile waterless stretch through the desert after a long night of drinking.


I hiked the 17 miles to the nearest water source and fell asleep at 8:00, about 15 minutes after arriving at camp.

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