PCT 2018: Days 33-38, miles 474.2-558.2
Hiked 0 | at 474.2
Hiker Heaven sucked us into the vortex. Giancarlo bought a turkey and brined it in oranges and onions.
We debated leaving after the turkey—to at least hike a nearo (I guess I’ll switch to PCTA-approved spelling, sigh)—but that didn’t happen. Tryptophan happened, and wine. Giancarlo’s turkey was glorious. Mashed potatoes and roasted honey glazed carrots complemented our feast, also very tasty.
A fire followed, and a starry night closed out our stay.
Hiked 20.4 | at 474.2
There were whispers that we were entering a “cold snap” for the next week. 65-70 degrees would be the average temperature for the next seven days, a rarity as we approached the Mojave. However, no one mentioned precipitation. We left Agua Dulce in a misty cloud. At first I hiked alone admiring the bedewed flora. I scoffed at the mist, “I’m from New England. I don’t need my rain jacket for this mere sprinkle.” But the mist grew thick and dense. I was wrong. By the end of the day I was soaked, miserable, and cold.
The highlight of my day was eating a butterfinger after my dinner—it’s the small things. Nicholas claimed it was his, but I’m 99% sure it was mine. I laughed in between bites, spewing bits of butterfinger on Nicholas’s beard as he begged for a bite. I gave him the last morsel.
Hiked 4 | at 478.2
A 4-mile soggy trek awaited us the next morning. Our wet, pebble-encrusted tent and packs made for cringe worthy morning.
We arrived at Casa De Luna at 9 a.m. I helped myself to hot coffee while Nicholas and Milkshake scored pancakes. Hikers cozied on couches in the front yard. Pop-up tarps shielded us from the rain, or mist.
Donned in the signature Hawaiian shirts of Casa De Luna, Nicholas and I carried our packs to the backyard. Painted rocks were scattered everywhere. Mountain scenes, quotes, peace signs—they were tucked into tree branches and at the base of trunks. Deeper into the labyrinth of medrone trees revealed tiny camp spots. We claimed a site but continued touring the maze. It was a fantastic tent village woven together under a roof of branches and leaves.
We headed to the Heart ‘n Soul Cafe down the street. They had 25 milkshake flavors. I ordered a Funky Monkey milkshake, and admittedly, I drank it too fast. The cafe and their milkshakes were popular among the hikers as we saw majority of Casa De Luna there.
An unexpected bit of fun was painting a rock. They had a massive collection of painted rocks dispersed around the yard and throughout the tent village. I painted two (I was really into it) and later placed mine deep in the maze of tents, one in between a tree’s branches and the other settled at a trunk.
The evening gave way to the famous taco salad that the Andersons served to hikers. We all stood in a line loading beans, cheese, onions, olives, jalapeños on our plates. Our plates were not allowed to overhang the main food or else Terri slaps her yard stick on hikers’ butts.
We danced for our PCT 2018 bandana, another tradition, and took our yearbook photo.
Hiked 15.2 | at 493.4
We tore ourselves from the vortex of Casa De Luna and began another misty trek. By late afternoon the sky cracked with blue; the sun returned.
Nicholas suggested we camp off trail. Turned out the spot was an abandoned campground, featuring overgrown fire rings and a horrific pit toilet.
Hiked 24.2 | at 517.6
In 24 miles there was Hikertown. A property converted into a miniature Wild West town. We pushed the whole way because there was promise of town food and a shower.
By the time we arrived, the shuttle to town had stopped. A bunch of us wanted to get real food, not another meal of ramen or instant mashed potatoes. Nicholas was especially adamant about town food. We tried hitching but failed. Nicholas talked to the groundskeeper into using his pickup truck. 60 bucks split between 9 hikers bought us a ride to The Ranch, a western themed diner. The ride was eventful in itself. Nine hikers jammed into a 3-speed Chevy, three of us in the cab while six faced the wind in the bed.
Hot food was divine. The shower that followed our meal exploration was divine too.
Hiked 17.3 | at 534.9
The Los Angeles aqueduct was our next stretch. I hiked solo into the flat lands, following a large black pipe. The hiking was easy but boring, really boring. Large Joshua trees covered the desert land. Aside from studying the crooked, angular Joshua trees, I had my audiobook to pacify me. I made camp in a dried creek bed with Milkshake and was later joined by the Breaker Boys, Nicholas, Hobbit, Cowboy, Clean Turkey, and Cashew.
Hiked 23.3 | at 558.2
A hiking haiku:
A day of windmills
Long fingered shadows swirling
Sore limbs, grumpy feet
Hiked 8.2 | at 566.4
Eight miles, through yet another wind farm, remained between us and Tehachapi. Luckily the miles melted away and a quick hitch greeted us on the highway.
Kmart and pizza were our first stops. Then we met others at the hotel; all the luxuries at last: a shower, laundry, a hot tub, a pool, and a stroll to the movies for a viewing of Isle of Dogs.