21 miles (Miles 504.6 – 525.6)
Liebre Mtn. Truck Trail – LA Aquaduct PCT Mile 525.6
I didn’t even know it was light outside when I woke up this morning. It was really windy all night, so I had my head tucked all the way inside my sleeping bag. It was pitch black in there. I heard Tears rustling around so I poked my head out and was blinded by light that I didn’t quite expect. Time to get up! It was a chilly morning, but as soon as we started hiking I was a perfect hiking temperature. It was another really amazing morning hiking.
Our first break was at a water source. This one was a cache, which was still different than any other cache we’ve had so far. It was a big, blue barrel on its side with a hose to pour with. The folks at Hikertown supply this one and we are so thankful! We treated it because we weren’t sure, but it tasted great! We had a nice shoe-off break there and had a big snack before moving on. We also were able to chat with six other hikers, so that was nice.
Onward eight miles from that break was Hikertown. I remember seeing photos and reading tidbits about this place, and I had no idea what to expect. I think there’s sort of a hostel there – ? I was there today and I’m still not completely sure what the whole situation is. I do know that it was an oasis in a very good place. Just as you hike out of the hills and down to the desert floor, you go almost right into Hikertown. It’s a fenced-in area that looks like a mini town with fake store-fronts… like a movie set, sort of. I don’t really know how to describe it! It was really quirky. There were chickens, roosters, a couple of dogs, food, water, a toilet, and a hiker shower.
We hung out in the garage and ate our lunch. They were grilling up burgers, sandwiches, corn on the cob, and even serving ice cream for a small cost, but we held off and just got a soda. We wanted to eat some of the heavy food from our food bags. We’ll have town food in a couple of days…
We stayed at Hikertown for our siesta. It was a really nice break from the heat. We filled our water all to the top and hit the trail again at 4pm when it was cooler out. Our next stretch is along the Los Angeles Aquaduct and is known to be HOT, dry, flat and long – we’re in the Mojave desert now. In fact, a lot of people make this 20+ mile stretch at night to avoid the glaring sun and heat. Since we’ve gotten to camp, three people have already hiked past. We’re going to try to stay on our body’s current sleep schedule, so we decided against the night-hike. And there’s snakes…
After hiking along the open aquaduct for a little while, the trail turned and followed a closed, large, partially-buried metal pipe… we didn’t have a water source for 20 miles, but we were hiking on thousands of gallons of the stuff that’s being piped to LA. It’s kind of weird to think about that! A large majority of the drinking water in that ginormous city… under our feet!
We noticed off in the hills where we came from earlier that there was a billow of something working its way into the sky. Fire? Sandstorm? We didn’t know. We just kept hoping it was a sandstorm. It was really windy, after all… but then it got bigger… and bigger… and finally we turned on our phones and found out we were looking at the smoke from the “Powerhouse Fire.” Oh no… and the article rattled off roads we knew. And then it said they evacuated Green Valley. Tears and I both just stared at each other for a moment… and we both got tears in our eyes. The Anderson’s – Casa de Luna – is in Green Valley… we were just there a couple of days ago. It’s hard to see this stuff happen. I hope they can contain it and no homes are damaged. And I pray no hikers (or anyone!) is caught up in it.
Sigh… lots of big prayers going out tonight! I do need to get to bed… oy, and it is so windy out here again! We hope to be up early to get moving. What a big day!
Tonight I love poor-man’s pad thai: Chicken Ramen + red pepper flakes + peanut butter + roasted peanuts. Delicious!