PCT Day 20: Endless road walks/A 40-mile day

May 11

Mile 478.2-537.9 (40.7 +2)

Our alarm went off at 4am and we were packed by 4:30am. We left Casa de Luna in the pitch dark and began our day.

First up was two bonus miles up the road back to the trail. We felt sluggish and sleepy, jarred by the cars rushing past so early in the morning. When we reached the trail, we had to stay on the road for a long alternate around the Powerhouse fire closure.

So we’re road walking. The sun came up. The traffic eased. We talked most of the morning, making each other laugh, pointing out strange features of the landscape. Dry lakes, mysterious fences, bits of trash. We looked out for a place to get coffee and finally saw a gas station in Lake Hughes. I had iced coffee and an ice cream sandwich for breakfast. It already felt hot.

Road walking got boring quickly. We tried to keep our minds off the tedium. We stopped in front of a place that keeps wolves and howled with them. We walked by an ostrich farm and the ostriches rotated their wings as if shooing us along. A car pulled over and a woman asked us how we are doing, said she saw us pass her house earlier this morning closer to town. “This is the PCT now!” Spider said, and we waved as she drives away.

Somehow more hours passed. I got cell phone reception and called REI to order gear for the Sierras. Bugs came out and drove us to hike faster. Just past 12pm, we turned onto a busy highway and walked another mile to Hikertown.

I’m not totally sure what Hikertown is. We got water there and sat in the shade a while to eat lunch and rest a while. There were a dozen hikers there in the compound, some sitting in front of mock storefronts, some resting in trailers, everyone else under the “City Hall” pavilion.

We hiked out a little after 2pm, happy to be back on the PCT. The trail cut over to a river flowing down a concrete channel, followed it upstream briefly, then turned left to follow the LA Aqueduct. We walked on top of the big round pipe for a while until it got annoying and we hopped down to follow the dirt road next to it. The trail followed the aqueduct all afternoon. I listened to podcasts to pass the time. It was flat and hot and a little boring, though the landscape was pretty. We saw our first Joshua trees, and the sky was bright and there were mountains on the horizon.

We hiked this way until 8pm, when we stopped to fill up on water and eat dinner in the remaining daylight. Packed up again at 9pm and night hiked for an hour, zombies making miles. It was cool and pleasant and we hiked through a wind farm with giant turbines silently generating electricity.


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