Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 1 to June 5 - near Agua Dulce to Mojave, CA

Day 18 - June 1st - end at mile 465.4. I woke up early to get to town early. I had 3 hours of walking to get to Agua Dulce, the first real town the trail has actually passed through. By 6:30 the sun was up and blasting. I'm not sure if I've ever been sweatier or dirtier than when walking into this town. Highlights included the hwy 14 tunnel which was a long pedestrian tunnel below the highway and Vasquez Rocks where lots of movies have been filmed. The town had a nice grocery store so I did all my shopping upon arrival and then when walking our heard a shuttle was coming in 10 minutes from the in town trail angel house, Hiker Heaven. The pickup shuttle came in and dropped off a load of hikers, then we piled into the back to get a ride to the house. This was perhaps the nicest trail angel house or hostel I've seen... they had everything and it was all clean and organized. Even had.a guest house for hikers to use with kitchen. There were so many hikers here it didn't even seem like the 9 dogs they had were a lot. After shower, laundry, and most of the day spent there, I got a ride back into town and had a large pizza and fries to replenish some of the weight I'd lost. Apparently I lost 10 pounds and down to just over 130lbs. I've never been this light as fully grown adult. Will need to keep eating otherwise I might not be able to keep up my pace... anyways.. I got back to trail and did about 10 more before ending at 10pm. It's supposedly gonna be nearly 100 for the next few days so I tried to get in a little night hiking for the first time out here. At about 20 miles this was probably my shortest day yet but it was nice to spend most of it at hiker heaven.

Day 19 - June 2 - end at mile 498.2.
Lots of people passed me last night. Apparently going to bed at 10 was early because a steady stream of hikers came by till nearly 1pm. A strange affair, probably all leaving Hiker Heaven late. Anyways I didn't sleep great as a result since I was camped in line of headlamps coming down the hill. When I got up I ended up passing most of them since they slept in more. About 13 miles of what seemed like mostly up to a fire station for water. This one girl I didn't recognize was hot on my trail. Usually I pass people not other was around so I picked up the pace and when I got to the final decent pulled out my secret weapon, the downhill jog. At the bottom hikers had at least 5 options so I never saw her again, should have probably introduced myself since it's kinda hard to make friends when you go 30 miles a day and most people don't (except for the yellow blazers). Got water and ate lunch on the porch of the fire department residence building. There was another fire closure so I had a 11 mile roadwalk to reconnect with the trail. The walk went well, there was root beer trail magic early on and water magic  towards the end, nice neighbors. I siesta'd mid way at a picnic area to try to wait out the heat. The roads were lightly traveled with a big shoulder so easy to hike. I have learned that listening to music makes roadwalking 10x more enjoyable. I passed an Ostrich Ranch on the walk. The male saw me and walked over to me. Then he did this crazy dance which I had no idea was coming. I filmed it but look up ostrich dance on YouTube to see what I mean. Back on the trail was a big change. The sun was low and it was quite forested, more so than most of the trail so far. However thefe was a new challenge, face attacking flies. Thankfully my hat, sunglasses, and bandana combined to make an effective face shield. These flies were relentless till the sun dropped and then so did they. Bed tonight at Sawmill Camp. Some guy had a fire going so I enjoyed that with my dinner.

Day 20 - June 3 - end at mile 529.3  - people started rustling at 4am so I got up too. With the constant sun and 100 degree temperatures people are doing all they can to avoid it. Continued on in the buggy forest and resumed my face mask defense. Got water from a cool water collection "guzzler" that was corrogated roof raining to a gutter and tank below. Didn't take enough though because once the heat really kicked in I reached an exposed barren stretch and started running out of water. Had to bum some from two others. Got to hiker town early afternoon which is a weird fake western town on this guy's property... it's sort of a hostel and the guy let us use his car to go to the nearby c-store for AC and food. I rejoined Sonic and Chris at hiker town and we took off at 6 to hike the 25 mile flat section to along the LA aquaduct. Sun went down but I was tired by 10. Went to bed and they continued on.

Day 21 - June 4 - end at mile 555.4. I got up a little after 4am to continue walking along the aquaduct. It was still pretty dark as I packed up but wanted to beat the heat here. The concrete path of the aquaduct felt especially hard on my legs, more so than paved roads do. As dawn came, I saw 3 Lesser Nighthawk chasing one another and fly alongside me for a minute. The fly low over the desert floor making a constant whirring sound. They sound like ghosts. Shortly thereafter I see a big cloud of moving dust. A stampede of sheep! There are hundreds of sheep being herded just 50 yards away and they are coming to me. I wonder if they are going to surround me and that will be my end. They veer away and I am safe. A few more miles thru a wind farm to a stream where I find shade to wait out the day. Many others are under the same tree doing the same. At 5pm, I depart  for another 17 miles. I weave amongst the desert mountains, the sun drops, and I find myself surrounded by 3 armed giants in the moonless night. It's cool now and the wind is constant. I find a flat gravelly spot on beneath an inside switchback to cowboy with the turbines cutting the stars overhead.

Day 22 - June 5 - end at mile 566.4. Easy 11 mile walk this morning through the wind farms to get to highway 58. There were hundreds of wind turbines around me here. Supposedly this is one of this biggest wind power areas in the USA/world. The wind kept the temperature cool for me as I came in. Called the local bus service to schedule a pickup to take me to Mojave where I rented a motel room for the night. Happy to here for my first real nero since starting. Staying until checkout tomorrow so will have over 24hrs off trail. Chris and Sonic are taking the day off too. Tomorrow we will rejoin the trail to walk 135 miles to Kennedy Meadows, the start of the Sierras. Only a little more desert left!

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