I get to wake up to this smile every morning. It’s pretty hard to beat that start to my day.
After our one Zero at Casa de Luna, it was time to get back on the trail. Since the trail was closed where we needed to get back on at mile 478, we had a few options to consider. None included hiking the closed section as it was still recovering from a large fire a couple of years ago. Never mind the damage, but the very large fines are enough to keep us away.
The closed section of the trail is just over 15 miles long. A trailhead 12 miles away by road gave us access to the other side of the closure where we could continue our hike on the PCT. Some folks opted to catch a ride to that trailhead, but we stuck to our goal of continuous footsteps and made the road hike. It wasn’t exciting, just like the other road hikes we’ve had to do, but it kept us moving toward our goal of hiking all of the way from Mexico to Canada, without an asterisk.
One advantage of the road hike is that it took us through the little town of Lake Hughes. A small town that most wouldn’t look twice at, but we had word that we needed to stop in at the Rock Inn and gave burgers. We were not disappointed, nor were the dozens of motorcyclists who had stopped by during their Memorial Day Poker Run.
A few more miles on the road past a wolf conservatory and an ostrich farm and we were back to dodging poison oak on our way back up to meet the PCT.
Being the late afternoon hours on the last day of the long weekend, it was good to run into families out using the trail. That slowed our progress, since everyone had questions, especially the kida. But those are good, welcome breaks.
Then we were back into the oak forest in late afternoon light on our way to camp.
Day 44 – 18 / 498
A cool early morning got us here.
Funny enough, it’s actually at mile 502.0, which shows the fluid nature of the trail from year to year. With the closures and detours so far, it could be mile 520, depending on routes chosen.
But we don’t get wrapped up in that. We just keep moving forward.
A slow transition from oak forests to grasslands to desert through the day as we dropped from the ridgelines down to the far western arm of the Mojave Desert in the Antelope Valley.
On the way down through some sharp, steep terrain, Jen led the way. She turned a sharp turn and stopped dead in her tracks; I almost bumped into her as she backed up and I heard grasshoppers in the brush. Except those weren’t grasshoppers, as the view over her shoulder became apparent.
Our progress was blocked by a very large diamondback rattlesnake. It wasn’t in a hurry to move out of our way, but finally moved off trail, buzzing as it went. Several good whacks of the trekking poles of the grass and bushes to keep it moving and we could finally get going. Later on we ran into other hikers who had similar run-in with the snake, including an unconfirmed stand-off of a “full 20 minutes”. To me it was just odd that it would remain in an area with so much traffic.
After several more hours of decreasing elevation and increasing temperatures, we reached our goal, a location right off the trail called Hiker Town.
A large property with trailers for tired hikers, it’s built up to look like and old western town. An interesting place to sleep off some miles.
And to be awakened by the roosters.
Day 45 – 20 / 518
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