Miles Hiked: 24
PCT Mileage: 534.9
This morning I opened my eyes at 3am. I realized it was too early to start hiking so I fell back asleep until five and hit the trail at 5:30am. The seven miles to Hiker Town through rolling desert hills were very easy. I hiked the last few miles with an older gentleman named “Ranger”. At 8am I arrived at Hiker Town and it was already very hot outside. When I walked into Hiker Town I was greeted by a group of hikers sitting outside the garage. Martha the care taker showed me where the free coffee was. I had a cup while I figured out the lay of the land. There was a washboard and clothes line to do laundry, an outdoor shower, and a place to pick up my packages I had mailed. Hiker Town was a collection of odd miniature buildings that each had their own theme such as a sheriff’s office, a movie theater, a salon, a post office and so on. It was cute but junky at the same time. Apparently it’s all been made using old Hollywood movie props. When I did my laundry dark brown water came off of every item of clothing I washed. No surprise. The outdoor shower was one of the best I’ve ever had. I love the sensation of washing all the salt off my body at once when the water first starts to run over me. The packages I picked up were oral arnica I ordered for myself and some Arnica cream my mom got for me. Arnica is supposed to be a natural anti inflammatory. I used it on the AT for my plantar fasciitis and after my knee surgery when my surgeon recommended it. It has worked great for me both times. I still have some stubborn swelling in my shin I’m trying to get rid of.
After getting all my chores done, I hopped in a shuttle with several others to go to the Neenach Market about five minutes down the road. I bought some snacks for resupply there and ordered a Phillipino Breakfast that was delicious. The market was crazy over priced. It costed $15 for two packs of electrolytes that normally cost $4 total. A lot of places rip hikes off like this when they know it’s the only option for them and there is no competition. I can’t complain because I could have sent a box knowing this. I also got a free ride to and from the store as well as a scoop of free ice cream they give to the hikers. I’m just glad I didn’t have to buy more than I did because I barely got any food for $40.
Back at Hiker Town, I hung out in the shade of Bitter Goats porch. There was another shade tree out front a ton of other hikers were trying to squeeze into and take a nap under. Most of us were planning to hike out in the evening since it was so hot out in the day. My phone said it was 93 degrees. It felt like 100. The next section of trail is completely flat and goes over the LA Aqueduct with no shade to be found in the area. Around 3pm Doggone showed up in his camper with his wife Taxi Lady. He offered for us to slackpack out 17 miles with him. I couldn’t say no! I’d take any easy day I can get while I make sure my shin recovers.
Doggone, Bitter Goat, Ashley, Feels, Booster Seat, Buffalo Roy and myself all hiked out together around 6:30pm. It was still really hot out but it was starting to cool down. The hike started with a flat sandy trail until it joined up next to the LA Aqueduct. The Aquaduct was open on top and we could see all the water flowing one way towards the city. It was crazy to see it all flowing through a very dry desert. Eventually we had to turn as the water went into a large metal tube that we got to walk on top of or on the dirt road next to it. It was kind of cool for a little bit. As the sun set we took some great photos. Eventually it became dark and we all stopped for a snack break. It was so nice to not have my backpack on. I wondered if this is what Ultralight people feel like all the time and then my friends reminded me that they would suffer a lot more at camp since they only pack very minimal camping supplies. I mostly hiked with Doggone or in the back of the group alone because I had a hard time keeping up with everyone. Doggone told me some great stories about how he started thru hiking by accident in 2020 and here he is three years later about to finish his triple crown. I hope I can hike around him for a while! He actually has the whole trail planned out because his wife follows along in the camper. At least I know I will finish at a good time if I can keep pace with him!
As it got darker I got more tired. We never ended up turning our head lamps on at all because we were on a flat sandy road or hard pavement. I really enjoy night hiking with other people. Eventually we started hiking through a wind farm. When we hit 17 miles for the evening around 12:30, Taxi Lady met us and gave us back our packs. Doggone went back to Hiker Town with her and I wandered off into the bushes to find a good place to sleep for a few hours out of the wind. I ended up stumbling upon the water cache! The whole time we were hiking I was pretty hot for the middle of the night and I wondered how blazing hot it was going to be tomorrow. I really considered hiking more Toni but my feet and shin were hurting so I figured it was a good idea to take a rest. The stars gleamed among the light pollution and the windmills turned all night long.