Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 25 - 31

Day 25: PCT miles (0)

Took a full day off today at Hiker Heaven. It's funny, I have to force myself to not hike and take it easy. I guess I need to be doing something and sitting around gets old. But I did manage to take care of a bunch of small repairs that needed doing as well as purchase food for the next section and figure out my route. There is a detour because of the Powerhouse fire last year that cuts out 50 miles of trail. Instead I have 20 miles of road walking so a net loss of 30 miles which makes this next section shorter than I had anticipated. As I am meeting Lori in Tehachapi on Sunday, I do not want to leave too early. So I will spend another half day here and leave in the evening. The moon is just past full and the days are hot and dry, a good time to try out some night hiking. We will see how it goes but I think if I can manage to hike from 5pm to 10 or 11 and then from 5 am to 10 or 11, with a mid day siesta, it might work out nicely.

Day 26: PCT miles 454 to 471

Finally managed to escape the vortex that is Hiker Heaven. I was starting to get stir crazy but wanted to wait until closer to the evening to start. I plan on hiking more in the evening and early morning to avoid the heat of the day.

Left Hiker Heaven at 3:30, got a final meal at the Sweetwater Cafe and headed out into the heat. It was a warm climb until the sun went down and then it was the perfect temperature for hiking. Switched on my headlamp and kept going. My plan had been to hike by moonlight but there was too much brush on the trail to see without a headlamp. There was also a ton of poison oak, so it was the old game of dodge the poisonous plant, this time in the dark.

Made it the 17 miles to a water cache and crashed for the rest of the night.

Day 27: PCT miles 471 to some random campsite.

Due to a fire last year, 50 miles of the PCT are closed and there is an alternate route that bypasses this burn area. Most people seem to be hitching the 20 mile road walk but I felt the need to walk it and so that is what I did.

But before that, I spent the afternoon resting at Casa de Luna, a place run by a couple of trail angels, The Anderson's. It is known as a party place and there were some festivities. I rested as best I could and headed out for the road walk around 4 pm. Eight miles in, there is a small town where I stopped for a burger.

oh yeah..

Jambo, Slack and Spiritfingers cooking up some dogs

People have been very friendly and I met quite a few new people at dinner. Also, as I was walking down the road, many people wave to me. After dinner and a few more miles, I found a flat spot off the side of the road and slept surprisingly well.

You get the idea

Day 28: Random campsite to mile 535

After an amazingly good sleep, I finished up the last 11 miles of road walking. By 9 am I made it to Hikertown for some water and shade.

Hikertown is a pretty odd place but it was interesting as well. It is made up of miniature buildings that make up the town. Hikers can spend the night in these buildings (but they are rather dirty). I was only there to rest for a few hours until it started to cool off in the afternoon. I left around 4 and there was a nice breeze to keep things cool. It hadn't really been that hot but I needed the rest anyways.

The trail follows the Los Angeles aquaduct for many miles and it wasn't until after dark that I found the water cache at mile 535. This is located right in the middle of a wind farm and the sound of the windmills spinning lulled me to sleep.

the Aquaduct

Windmills at night

Day 29: PCT miles 535 to 558

It was really cool walking through the wind farm in the morning. The windmills are so huge. I accidentally spilled all my water out early in the morning and had a thirsty few miles until the next water at Tyler Horse Canyon. Then it was a hot, exposed climb that seemed to take forever. Went through another burned area, I actually enjoy these because of the proliferation of wildflowers. There was a beautiful carpet of tiny flowers all over the hillsides.

I made it down to the road where I will hitch into Tehachapi in the morning. Excited to meet Lori.

Day 30: PCT miles (0)

Hitched into town early in the morning and had breakfast at Henry's diner. Town food always tastes so good. Did laundry and checked into the hotel where Lori had a reservation for us. Lori arrived in the afternoon and we went for sushi. I was ridiculously happy at the restaurant. I kept saying, "Now I can die happy" and I think Lori might have thought I went off the deep end. Needless to say, it was a good day.

Day 31: PCT miles 558 to 566

Slept in until 7:30, in a real bed! I wanted to slack pack the 8 miles between roads so that I wouldnt have to do it later with a heavy pack. Lori joined me for the walk beneath more windmills, of course, it was windy. Then it was time to do errands, I had a box to ship of the post office and supplies to purchase at the local grocery store. Lori got to meet some of the hikers I have been around for the past couple of weeks and I think she enjoyed herself. We went to a German bakery not once but twice because it was so good. I plan on going again tomorrow morning early, before hitting the trail.

I am not looking forward to this next section. There are some long (35+ miles) waterless stretches and that means carrying a lot of water. My pack is full to bursting and I really don't want to carry it. But this is the last test, the final exam so to speak, of the desert. After this comes the Sierras and plenty of water. My plan is to hike big miles and get through this as fast as possible, hopefully my body will cooperate.