Mohave Rattlesnake, center of picture.
Same bush heading the other
way on the trail. Where's
Scott pays close
attention to a trail sign.
Windmills once again
line our path.
Hey, these things
Scott waits for a
ride at Highway 58.
The strong winds stopped during the night and we slept really well. Morning came too
soon and once again we were hiking at 4 am.
We hiked all day through the Tehachapi Mountains. The Tehachapis are geographically part of the Sierra Nevada Mts., making up their tail. However, most people think of them as their own separate mountain range. It really doesn't matter either way, I suppose.
Much of the land in these mountains is privately owned and the presence of people is discouraged. The trail passes through on easements.
Because of the lack of people, the mountains are home to one of the last wild herds of dark brown horses, descendants of those lost by Spanish explorers hundreds of years ago. It is neat to think there are pockets of this state where a few wild things can survive and thrive without too much threat from man.
Plentiful signs along the route warn travelers to stay on the trail and not to leave for any reason. The guidebook warns that people ignoring this rule have been prosecuted for trespassing. We stay on the trail. Hopefully if you had a medical emergency, they would get you some help before calling the authorities, but who knows. I chew all my food well and watch carefully for snakes.
Speaking of snakes, that morning, we got a big surprise. Scott nearly stepped on what looked very much like a Mojave rattler, one of the deadliest snakes in the area. Mojave rattlers are slightly greenish in color and this one sure was. He was coiled next to a bush along side the trail, camouflaged really well, the greenish parts of his skin complementing the color of the bush. Scott jumped backwards into me after almost stepping on him. We took several pictures of him. (Scott did not attempt to herd him) After we went around him we looked back at the trail. The scariest part is that you couldn't see him at all if you were traveling the other way on the trail.
We spent a good part of the day traversing more wind farms. These windmills did not make all the hideous noises like the other ones we saw; sounding just like what you would imagine well oiled turbines would sound. How dull. As we hiked alongside them, I saw one lying on the ground and blurted out the first thing that came to mind. (Always a poor decision in my case) "Oh my Gosh, one blew over!" Scott gave me his narrow eyed look and said, "Perhaps a more logical conclusion would be that it is being erected or repaired." Then he embarked on a monologue that went something like: "Gee, Bob, you know what would be a great cost cutting idea? If we nailed these suckers down so they wouldn't all blow over in a windstorm." He suggested I patent the idea. (I asked for it, I know.)
We must have hiked through them for 10 miles or more. As we snaked through the hills, sometimes, you would only see the blades sticking up from the other side of a ridge, whirling, looking very much like the legs of synchronized swimmers.
Finally, we reached Highway 58. We called White's Motel in Mojave, 9 miles away, to come and get us. If you stay a night in their motel, they will pick you up from the trail and drop you back off. You get to learn a bit about the history of Mojave too.
In a short time, our ride came and we were whisked away to the wonderful world of showers, fast food and soft beds. Need I say more?