You ever have days that take a long time to get in the groove of things? That was today.
After yesterday's dramatic start with search and rescue, I was sure this morning was going to be nicer but... It seemed like the longest morning ever.
There is a section of trail that is closed, mile 390-394, due to endangered species so we had to walk on Highway 2 for about 4 miles until we connected back with the trail. Road walking is a whole different game. And I got bored.
I'm also struggling with our breakfasts since we did our resupply in the town of Wrightwood. The bagel and few spoonfuls of granola sprinkled with instant breakfast is not cutting it.
But! The day was much more pleasant after we had a nice lunch and a little nap.
All day we played tag with Sparkle Plenty (Liz) and Flash (Jay). It's fun having another couple to hang out with here and there through out the day.
Food: surprisingly delicious couscous dinner with, of course, instant mashed potatoes added.
Soundtrack: still on the playlist
News: we passed 400 miles today!!!!!
Holy Shit!! Huge day today. Personal records broken!
We started the day with a little argument over phone use on the trail. The argument was a perfect reminder for me that the phrase Hike Your Own Hike still applies with partners and that I was trying to project my own wilderness ideals onto Glitter Bug. We ate breakfast and resolved our conflict with hugs and kisses. I am always blown away by the ways the trail provides the most humbling of lessons and provides opportunities for personal growth.
Glitter Bug had a bit of a break-down after a branch went out of its way to hit her on the head, what a bully. The day only had room to improve after our rough morning. We charged the 8.5 miles to the fire station and took a break in the shade behind the building. Snacks were enjoyed, our feet were washed, and we hit the trail feeling refreshed. Before we could reach the trail, some kind folks that were posted up on the highway to watch the Tour of California bike race called us over to join their picnic. What amazing people! We enjoyed great beer, sandwiches, home made brownies, and lots of fresh fruit. We also got to watch the race go by which was very exciting for all of 30 seconds. The race is apparently a huge race these days that attracts pros from all over the world. The winner of the Tour de France was in the lead of the pack as they sped past us.
Because poodle dog bush has over grown sections of the trail, we took an 18 mile detour that followed an old abandon road high up on the ridge that towers over the underlying mountains in the area. Hiking this road was somewhat surreal since it goes through a burn area and there are remnants of old buildings along the ridge line. The hike was wonderful and easy. No poles, just smiles and dance moves.
It was a very long day, but the hiking went by very fast. We got to camp quite late and whipped up a delicious dinner of wild rice and mashed potatoes (most of our meals have potatoes in them). Our feet were throbbing, but we slept hard under the massive power lines that buzzed with a wet, electric crackle all night long. The ranger station that we camped at had soda, candy bars, and water in a cooler for hikers, which was a welcomed treat after a long day. This was one of the best days ever! Our spirits are soaring high with the eagles of freedom, screeching their endless song of contentment and bliss.
Food: thank you unofficial trail angles for the delicious sandwiches and beer.
Lessons: let go of what I think others should be doing and what I think it's all about. Be willing to rediscover myself every day and be open to all the lessons that the moment provides. I only know myself and what I need, let all else happen with ease around me. Hike my own hike!
Soundtrack: we finished the playlist! Band of Horses, Neil Young, Miike Snow
"Only 8 miles to ice cream and the pool!!" yelled Water Bed as he headed for the trail.
That was enough information to get us up and ready to run down the trail. As soon as we stood up, we were both reminded that we did almost 29 miles yesterday... Our feet were a bit sore and stiff.
The morning was pretty warm and even though we knew there would be food at the KOA, we stopped at about mile 4 to have our breakfast and coffee. Our morning break was full of laughter as our spirits were high.
Walking into the KOA was a relief. We got there at about ten am, went straight into the store, bought a pint of ice cream and went right back to jump in the pool. Actually, right before we jumped in, a man stopped us and asked us to shower before jumping in because "this morning the pool was black from all the hikers yesterday". We spent a coulple hours there before ascending into the hills to Agua Dulce.
The last ten miles flew by. We passed Vasques Rocks which are beautiful rock formations where some of Star Trek was filmed! In the distance I could see the road where a sign said "Hiker Heaven, OPEN" and I sighed with relief. We were almost there.
There was a bit of road walking through Agua Dulce and Seth and I both called our families to catch up. It's always so nice to talk to my parents and fill them in on everything. Their outpouring support is so wonderful!
Hiker heaven was as close to heaven as I could've imagined. It was unbelievable. Please see my post "Hiker heaven" for more details...
So happy to be here and have a zero tomorrow!
Soundtrack: Florence and the machine, Andrew bird, broken bells
Miles: agua dulce, Saufleys
The day was amazing! We made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and ate plenty of fresh fruit. We rode bikes into town again and did some grocery shopping for our trail food and "bang banged!" Apparently to bang- bang is to eat a full meal at one establishment, then get up and go to another resteraunt and do the whole thing over again. We ate a pulled pork sandy at the cafe then ordered a couple pizzas and happy hour beer at the pizza place.
After good eats and a little buzz we rode back to the wonderful world at the Saufley's. The Matrix was being played on repeat all day in the hiker movie trailer and I most definitely enjoyed watching it for a while. Glitter Bug and I were set up comfortably in the horse trailer and took advantage of our own space to organize our food before relaxing for the rest of the evening. We have way too much food! I could barley fit it all in my food bag.
I baked cookies for as many people as I could with the small package if cookie dough we bought and then started a fire for everyone to enjoy for the night. The fire danger is so high around here that we have to call the fire department any time we want to have a fire and ask them if it is ok. They have to make sure they have enough people in the area to respond if it happens to get out of control.
The Saufley's place is so incredible and comfortable. There is everything a hiker could need and more! We loved our time at this amazing place and it will be hard to leave. We were reunited with Sunshine and Vibes and a lot of our best hiker friends. Vibes and Sunshine are now hitching rides akin the trail until Vibes's Achilles is healed enough to do big miles again. Their plan is to go to the ocean with a trail angel then maybe hop back on the trail at Kennedy Meadows. It was so good to see them and catch up. Lovin the experience!
Highlights: good beer, good food, great bikes, horse friends, great interview with L ROD, The Matrix, fresh baked cookies, fires! And FRIENDS! Lovely life
Leaving Hiker Heaven was soooo hard. I utilized the kitchen and made the most heavenly scramble; 10 eggs, spinach, green onions, cheeeese, avocado!!! Then we hit the road....
It was a cooler day with lots of clouds so it was perfect hiking weather. The first 10 miles flew by before we decided to take a lunch break. As the rain clouds got closer we got nervous and both starting thinking about how we don't have any rain gear. We pitched the tent and had the best break ever; two hours long, cooked a delicious meal, Seth napped and I journaled.
After a long descent we made it to the highway that leads to Casa De Luna, another trail angel house. We stuck a thumb out, got a ride in about 5 minutes from the infamous YOGI! She's an awesome lady that writes the PCT guidebooks. It was fun to chat with her about how the trail and trail towns are changing.
Casa de Luna aka: Hippie Daycare aka: the Anderson's is a wonderful, welcoming place for hikers. We were greeted an applause and taco salad! Yummmm. Hikers were sprawled out everywhere devouring taco salad and drinking beer and whiskey. Hikers bundled up to some card games before heading into the Manzanita forest to camp.
Weather: cloudy, rainy, cold
Soundtrack: phish, my morning jacket
Food: yummy scramble and taco salad!!
We had a late start today. We woke up in the enchanted manzanita forest in the Anderson's backyard and stumbled our way down to the house for coffee and pancakes! What a treat! The Anderson's place is a little grungy, but they are such amazingly sweet and caring people, we love them. After breakfast we packed up our stuff and went down to the front yard with the expectation of hitting the trail.
No one seemed to be in a rush to go anywhere this morning. Everyone was either starting their first beer for the day, fumbling around on their phones, or chatting with friends. The crowd slowly thinned around 9 o' clock when the first van full of hikers left for the highway. Amy was trying to figure out how to replace her camera through a best-buy warranty and their customer service was AWFUL. The $100 warranty is proving to have so many stipulations attached to it that it's pointless to have the warranty in the first place. What a horrible company!
So after we sorted that whole thing out we finally hit the road with Mr. Anderson and got a ride to where the trail closure ended. We had to skip 30ish miles because of a trail closure, that's 60 miles now that I will have to come back and do next year :). Some people walked the 20 mile road walk on the highway, but we decided to skip that torture. I'm here to walk the trail, not the highway, knowm sayin? We had a quick safety meeting with Mr. Anderson and the Fox and the Hound and eventually got on the trail around 1 pm! The late start made for a groggy hike for me. I struggled through most of the day and was somewhat cranky to Glitter Bug, sorry sweety.
We hiked through the 7ish miles to hiker town and took a water break. Hiker town is a cool place in the middle if nowhere right before the aquaduct stretch starts. Everyone who skipped the entire section from the Anderson's to hiker town was already there with a room. Hiker town is set up like an old western town with each small shack-like building decorated as a different part of town. There was the jail house, school house, cantine, general store ect. Each building was a room tht could be checked out for $10 a night and the garage was a common area with a fridge and other hiker amenities. There was a shower and a hot tub as well.
We had just stayed at te Anderson's and felt like we needed to put more miles on for the day so after we got our water, and we moved on. The aqua duct started shortly after we left hiker town and so began one of the most boring sections of the PCT so far. We were walking on a metal pipe in the middle of the desert that was practically in some people's back yard. What were these people doin living out here? Kind of a strange feeling, it didn't even feel like we were backpacking anymore. It's a shame that the land rights are so screwed up in Southern California. A lot of the aquaduct section is obviously weaving between tons of private land that creates a trail that goes way out of the way just to avoid going through said private land. The land is obviously not being used for shit, It's the desert for fuck sake, what can you use it for? And all the while we are walking on a big straw that is sucking the already dry desert even more dry.
We set up camp somewhat late on the side of the trail that has become a dirt road. Once we were set up we hear a truck speeding down the dirt road. We set up very close to the road because we didn't think anyone actually used the road. From our perspective it looked as though the truck was head straight for us and Glitter Bug nearly lost it. I knew they weren't going to hit us, but Glitter Bug was in a panick. I shined my light at them just in case and they passed right by us. After that scare we packed up a moved the tent further off the raid so we didn't get run over by a drunk desert dweller....you never know. It was a wonderful night beyond that and I slept like a baby. I'm really getting the hang of setting this tent up, I love out home.
Music: shuffle, anyone want to send us a playlist on a thumb drive?!? I'm sick of picking the music. All I really ever want to listen to is phish.
Discomforts: Glitter Bug's shoes are getting to be too small and her toes are rubbing. Time for new shoes!
Bright side: the aqua duct is a strange section. The miles are easy though and the stories we come up with for the random houses we see in the middle of nowhere are entertaining.
P.S. I understand the appeal of living in solitude and out in the middle of nowhere, but I don't understand the appeal at all for the middle of nowhere in Southern California, specifically the Mojave Desert. No Thank You! I have loved the souther part if the trail so far except this little section. I can't wait for the section that is supposed to replace this part in the coming years.
The desert. Walking along the dirt road next to the cemented-over aqueduct got old. Really fast.
We had a completely different experience in the desert than most. It's cloudy, windy and RAINY! As the rain hit the ground and the thirsty plants, it practically sizzled. The smell of fresh rain was overwhelmingly wonderful today.
The dark clouds lumed over us right when we were near a bridge we could hover under while it rained a bit. Boombox, Danko, Happy pants, Double Cross, Horrible, Terrible and I all had a snack under shelter while it rained before continuing on.
We ended a few miles before we planned to because the clouds got darker and the thunder was getting loader. I was happy to have an early night and have time to just hang out before falling asleep. After a couple of cozy card games in the tent, we fell asleep nice and early.
Weather: cloudy, windy, rainy, 60s?
Soundtrack: shuffle the whole iPod!
Games: while we hiked we played a game called Contact... I sorta make it up as we go.
Fun fact: putting up the tent can either make or break Seth's evening. Bad soil... Fuggetaboutit