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Valencia area and more of the PCT, CA

I am finally driving the famous State Route 1 highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline. Unfortunately, I am a bit disappointed. As I pass through Malibu, the congestion differs from what I thought RT 1 would be. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that as I continue driving, my landscape will change as it usually does. Thankfully, the green mountains are now to my right, and the ocean is to my left! Very quickly, I realize that driving north puts me on the opposite side of the ocean, which makes stopping and crossing the road not the safest thing to do. I plan to stop at Leo Carrillo State Beach, but the park is closed due to the recent storm damage. I drive further until I find a good place to stop for a break and enjoy a walk on the beach.

I LOVE when the road surprises me with a beauty I wasn't expecting! As I drive west to Valencia, Google Maps takes me through farmland and many mini mountains. Without a doubt, I am a mountain girl! When I drive the windy section of RT 23, which puts me at Grimes Canyon, my heart is full of life and excitement. I wish there was a place to stop to absorb it all in a slower motion.

I am excited to see Juanita again and spend quality time in her company. Camping means sleeping in my car; my little space is comfortable and cozy. I know I have a wonderful weekend ahead of me.

Our sunny day starts at Antelope Valley, where the California poppies (the state flower) are in superb bloom. Oh my, what a magnificent sight! This is absolutely amazing! The landscape is exploding with colors! We don't drive to the Poppy Reserve parking lot, which we understand is packed with people. Instead, Juanita drives to a dirt road that leads to the Art in Residence area, where we have endless open fields of wild and free blooms.

Juanita has been wanting to explore Tehachapi town and its surroundings. Since everything is new to me, I am up for joining her adventure. A quick look on AllTrails gets me super excited. The PCT passes through the Tehachapi Pass, so I am getting another opportunity to hike on the PCT!!! I signed the book at the head trail; now I am officially a PCT hiker!!

This section passes along a wind turbine farm. Hiking under those giant turbines is weird and interesting at the same time. The wind turbines dance in the wind, with sounds vibrating through the air creating a unique experience. Some Joshua trees in this desert area remind me of my fun time at Joshua Tree NP with my nomadic girls, whom I miss so much.

Suddenly Juanita spotted a wild horse. He blends in so well with the landscape, that it took me a few seconds to see him. He looks at us with his quiet eyes and gentle soul. He is all alone. I hope he's not far from his pack. Maybe he is on a journey of self-discovery like me, and not lonely at all!

The hike is a constant climb. As we hike further up, the covered snow mountains get closer and closer. Our view is a stunning open land, with buzzing sounds. After three miles, we turned around. Even though we are hiking the same trail, what you see when you go up is not what you see when you go down.

As we descend, a beautiful art formation presents itself to me. A dry and dead tree is in its glory and comes to life to win my heart.

This year being far from home, I don't have the chance to celebrate Passover, but how wonderful it is to celebrate Easter with Juanita and her family. It's an honor to get to know Juanita's family. I converse with Lura, who hopes to join me somewhere on my travel to Oregon. I hope she will!

After a delicious Easter breakfast, we head to Basques Rocks National Area, where we will hike another section of the PCT. That's so amazing! If you are ever in the area of Sierra Pelona, make sure to visit this park.

At one point, I lost my balance on the silliest rock, passing off a tiny creek that had me landing with both legs in the water. Nevertheless, it is a welcome experience of fun and cooling me on a hot day.

After two and a half miles, we chose to turn around when two hikers informed us of rattlesnakes just ahead of us. Ending the hike sooner than we planned, gives us time to stop at Reyes Winery for wine tasting!

I hope my path will cross again with Juanita. It has been a fantastic weekend with her, and I truly enjoyed her company.

I decided to stay one more day and sit down to write. More and more, I enjoy this part of capturing my experiences and my feelings. I started my day at the local library. Now I am sitting at a picnic table in the night's fresh air catching up on my latest events and figuring out where to go next.

From the beginning, I decided that California would be an experience, as I go with no firm plans. I know I want to hug the coast. I know I can't wait to see my son Adi in San Francisco. I look forward to spending time with my friend Jennie in Palo Alto. But more than that is an open field. What is beautiful about that is it lets me be open to what will come as life unfolds.

Tomorrow, I am going to visit Santa Barbara for the day. The exciting part of tomorrow for me is Karlie (who is another sister from Sisters on the Fly). Nikki and Bard connected me with Karlie, who offered I stay at her guest house as I explored the Pismo Beach area.

One of the downsides of not planning is not being able to get a camping spot when you need it. My chances of camping at Pismo Beach State Park are zero, but I will try. For now, I am excited to meet Karlie!

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