500 miles: Big Days, Big Wind & Big Desert

Well we did it- we passed the 500 mile mark! Hooray! Oh wait- we still have 2160 miles to go! We are currently in Tehachapi and we have just passed over 550 miles hiked and are still having an amazing time. Hermes and I left Agua Dulce a few days ago with the intention of “maybe” stopping at The Andersons, or Casa de Luna. The Andersons are amazing trail angels located just 24 miles from the Saufleys (where we took our first zero day), and there is a reputation of it being a big non stop party. We were a little wary of this because after all of the fun we had at the Saufley’s we were ready for a good night of sleep. Our friend, Yusuke, caught up with us just as we arrived at the trail head and after a short time of trying for a hitch we were picked up by a woman and her sleeping baby and immediately shuttled off to the Andersons.

Waiting for a hitch to the Andersons.

Waiting for a hitch to the Andersons.

Although it was definitely a party scene it was also a blast. Terrie served up a huge round of taco salad and we caught up with a bunch of people we hadn’t seen in a few days and met some new hikers. We headed off to bed early, ready to leave and hike the next morning….but that didn’t happen! The next day started off with pancakes and coffee and after Hermes ate five pancakes we looked at each other and decided to go find somewhere to set our tent back up.

Tent sites in the manzanillo forest behind Casa de Luna

Tent sites in the manzanillo forest behind Casa de Luna

We took our second zero at the Anderson’s and had a great time hanging out, doing some yoga, resting up and we were even treated to a cello concert that evening by Cuddles– “possibly the foremost cello playing thru hiker on the PCT.”

Hanging out at Casa de Luna

Hanging out at Casa de Luna

We left the Anderson’s the next morning on May 24th- our one month Trailversary! We headed out with our friend Chad, or Happy Feet/iChad/Chadderz, who we left Kick Off with on our first night hike almost a month before. We planned to try and push the 40 miles from the Anderons all the way to Hikertown. We had a full moon that night, and although we didn’t leave the Andersons until after 9 am that day, we thought we could do it. We started the hike with a climb, and then kept climbing slowly up for most of the day. Around dinner time the three of us stopped on the side of the trail to cook dinner and shortly we were joined by Hummingbird and Wildcat. 

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After dinner we made it past the 500 mile mark (!) and kept on going.

500 miles in!!

500 miles in!!

 We reached the top of a ridge as the sun was setting and the moon made it’s appearance behind us. We were treated to a gorgeous view of sunset and moonrise at the same time. We didn’t make it the full 40 miles to Hikertown, but we did manage to do our first 30 mile day, which left us an easy 10 miles into Hikertown the next morning.

Moonrise!

Moonrise!

Hikertown is full of old movie set discards and is set up to look like an old western style town. We hung out for the heat of the day before heading off to hike the 30ish mile section that is the official Mojave Desert.

Hikertown! So sad that we missed our care package there!

Hikertown! So sad that we missed our care package there!

The first 16 miles or so is along the LA Aquaduct..some of which is open water, other parts are a giant black metal pipe, and the majority is buried underground and covered over with smooth concrete. It was straight, flat and easy walking especially in the cool of the evening and the lower than average temperatures we had for that section.

LA Aquaduct

LA Aquaduct

A few miles into our hike we were met by Cartwheel, a PCT hiker who was taking time off to be in a friends wedding and trail angeling in his down time. Cartwheel fed us watermelon, ice cold beers and gave us chairs to sit while we enjoyed his generosity. Awesome trail angel!

Watermelon & Beer!

Watermelon & Beer!

Thanks Cartwheel!

Thanks Cartwheel!

Leaving Hikertown, we planned to hike 10 or so miles, but six miles in we were pooped. The 30 miler the day before had left me exhausted. We called it a day with a total of 16 miles and went to sleep ready to finish the aquaduct and desert section early the next morning.

Over the next day and a half we walked through huge numbers of wind turbines, which were beautiful to look at from afar. But it turns out that these wind turbines were sited perfectly- the wind didn’t stop as we walked through these fields of turbines.

Turbines!

Turbines!

We seemed to have a constant wind of 30ish mph with gusts up to 65mph. I was getting tossed around on the trail and we made some slow time through there. At one point, Hermes turned to me and said he could understand why Don Quixote had gone crazy with all of the windmills. We kept pushing on though, knowing that Tehachapi wasn’t far and that when we got there we would be visiting Blue Ginger Pho for Vietnamese food!!

Once we arrived at the trail head to hitch in Tehachapi, we were instantly greated by a trail angel dropping three hikers off and who offered us a ride into Tehachapi. We were dropped off in Tehachapi in front of two Best Westerns and a Fairfield Inn. We knew this would be our last chance for a hotel like this for many miles and had decided we would stay at the cheapest of the three. Shortly after calling my mom for her help checking rates at the Fairfield, she had booked us a room using her Marriot points. WOW! We have so enjoyed our clean, comfortable and quiet room- thank you Mom!!

After checking in we got a quick hitch over Blue Ginger Pho and enjoyed an amazing and vegan town meal! So far I have been eating veggie burgers and fries, but this time I was able to eat as much Vietnamese food as I could. Tehachapi is definitely a vegan friendly town. We had no trouble resupplying hear and found some great dinners to take out on the trail!

We had a huge contintental breakfast this morning and are currently looking outside at a rain and cloud filled day with a high wind warning. We plan to hit the trail tonight because as unpleasant as rain and wind seems, the temperature is still below 70 and it will be a treat to not hike this section in the 90+ heat that is normal for this time of year.

Two notes- please email us if you do send a care package, we very sadly missed one in Hikertown. Second- the pictures below are all out of order and I had a hard time captioning  them with the hotel computers..sorry about that!

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Our huge lunch at Blue Ginger Pho in Tehachapi!

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More turbines…

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More turbines.

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Moon view.

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Wind turbines in the distance.

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Incredibly windy section full of wind farms.

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The desert.

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Orange moon rise in the Mojave.

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Desert walking…

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Joshua Trees.

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Aquaduct.

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Walking on the closed aquaduct.

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Updog.

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Downdog.

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The first portion of the LA Aquaduct..open water in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

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Oh..good!

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Moonrise!

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Moonrise

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The official PCT 500 mile marker- actually at mile 502..

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Break time!

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Trailside cave

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Phat-man-do arriving in full hiking gear…his neighbor was the person that Crocodile Dundee is based on!

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Wheelbarrow full of beer courtesy of Casa de Luna.

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Care package from Keen! Thank you!!!

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6 thoughts on “500 miles: Big Days, Big Wind & Big Desert

  1. Enjoying following your adventure through the story and photos. I like seeing how well you’ve been blending in with the trail and its demands and “mood swings” (desert fires and wind turbines). Keep on marking the trail with yoga asanas and be safe!

    P.S. The moon rise over Mojave photo is very beautiful!

  2. Becky! This is amazing!! I meant to email you and send you well wishes when I got your original email. I can’t believe how cool this is! Best of love & laughter on your adventures… Jamaica

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