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Sunday, March 18, 2018

SLOW BUT SURE

 “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” - John Muir

FROM GAILA:   All is going well for me so far. I had to move to a new space in the campground so I used my RV skills to dump and fill and back into a space. I was just hoping I would be the only one at the dump station because I didn't want anyone watching me. My friend agreed by saying (in his humorous way), "I hate it when people watch me dump!" 

FROM DICK:

The weather was perfect the day I returned to the trail, after drying out in a motel in Mojave and a huge brunch at Denny's. Fortunately, the rain had stopped and there was no wind or too much sun. I climbed 10 miles to Campana Ridge, surrounded by hundreds of windmills. 


Miles and miles of windmills 
I spoke with workers on the trail that said I was lucky because it's usually so windy on that ridge.** The next morning I packed up early. I didn't want to be caught up there when the winds began. I couldn't find water until late that day in a small canyon, but it was only a trickle. I realized I should have taken more. At the LA Aqueduct, where I set up camp and had counted on getting water, the faucet wasn't working. Knowing it was going to be hot the next day, and having only a liter of water left, I packed up at 3:30 a.m. and started hiking to a place called "Hiker Town".*** 
At that time of the morning it was cold and windy. When the sun came up I put my Tilley hat on over my hoodie. I was so upset when I realized the hat had blown off at some point. There was no way I was going to backtrack with only limited water supply and it could be 5 miles before finding it. Fortunately, I had my umbrella for sun protection.

The next day it was raining like crazy - a constant root soaker with lots of fog. Everything again soaked, even inside my tent due to condensation. My umbrella came in very handy once more. Fortunately, my sleeping bag is dry and I sleep warm and comfortable.


Drying everything out when the rain finally stopped.
I camped near the road leading into the tiny town of Lake Hughes. I hiked into town the next morning to get my first resupply box and then had a huge breakfast (I call it rocket fuel) at the famous Rock Inn before hitting the trail again. I needed to get myself another hat and didn't want to spend much. Found a deal for $7.


Hola amigos, cómo me veo?


I enjoyed a seat and a water cache provided by PCT trail angels on my hike to Agua Dulce.
Made it to Hiker Heaven late at night. The owners were so accommodating. They let me stay in a mobile home where I cold get a hot shower and they even insisted on doing my laundry. It felt like heaven to me! They have been hosting PCT hikers for 20 years.




Even though I was told the area I was heading was expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow, I decided to leave Hiker Heaven and keep on truckin. 



Hiked through Vasquez Rocks  (click here)
Hiking through the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area was beautiful. For all you Trekkies - it's Star Treks favorite alien landscape. Eventually it began raining again and was supposed to rain all night so I cut my day short and hiked to the Acton KOA. I asked the owner if I could sleep under the pavilion but he told me no. It began raining harder so I thought I'd see if he had a change of heart - NOT.  As I was leaving the office a guy asked me if I was hiking the PCT so we struck up a conversation. He was carrying a guitar and asked if I played. I played one of my own songs for him (UAW RAG). He must have liked the song because he said, "you are more than welcome to stay as long as you like in one of our props for the movie we're filming here." 


My room for the night - a prop for a movie set.

Avions have come a long way!



I slept out of the cold and wet. I don't like taking Neros or Zeros if I don't have to. (Hiker jargon for either no miles or almost no miles.) The forecast said 3 days of rain and snow, but I decided to continue on........
The section Dick is hiking this month.

BOO enjoys watching Chick Flicks with me!
St. Patrick's Day lunch at the Senior Center with mom.
(She's the good-looking one with the white sweater)
Happy hour with our Canadian friends. We connect every year when we're in the south.


FOOTNOTES:
**That night out of Mohave I camped on an exposed ridge about 10 miles south surrounded by a forest of wind generators. It's almost like sleeping in a railyard full of trains going through. I didn’t realize how much noise they make and each one seems to have its own tone. Over the years they’ve grown bigger with each generator and I could see all the generators from my perch. The newest ones are as large as redwood trees.
Some windmills are actually broken like skeletons and others are wounded, with blades missing almost as if they’ve been sheared off.  I ran into a firefighter doing trail maintenance on the way up and he explained to me that what happens is the bearings go out on them occasionally and they start free wheeling. In a bad windstorm they sometimes shut the highways down because the blades will break off and can actually travel a mile or more and do a lot of damage.


***Hiker town (not to be confused with Hiker Heaven) is a goofy little place and looks like a movie set - churches, saloon with a dozen little false facade houses. The guy who lives there lets PCT hikers camp there for a fee which supports him a bit. I needed water otherwise this is a place I would have passed by. There was a Do not Disturb sign on his door so I just took water and headed up the trail hiking the distance needed to get off the Tejon Ranch where I could camp. (An agreement between the Tejon Ranch Company and a coalition of environmental groups is designed to permanently protect 240,000 acres of the historic ranch. It is the largest conservation and land-use pact in California history.)

4 comments:

  1. I can't get enough of your stories!

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  2. We've stayed at Acton KOA, mined for Acton Agates, and hiked the Vasquez Rocks section of the PCT with our grandpuppy (see http://davenkathy.blogspot.com/2016/03/hiking-pacific-crest-trail-into-san.html?m=1) We love that area!

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    1. P.S. Sorry the owner of the KOA was so crappy to you. We'll have a word with him about that. 😎

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  3. We hope it's warmer now for Dick. It's still mighty chilly here in Ohio so we love following along.

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