15th May 2015
Mileage 42.9 (69km)
Casa de Luna (478.6) to Aquaduct Camp (521.5)
Miles and Smiles
Anybody looking at the mileage I covered today might be thinking what is Shepherd doing! 42.9 miles or 69km. Truth is I really walked a little bit less than that, closer to 25 miles. I spent almost all day walking on a road, not the PCT which is closed due to a fire in recent years. When I did rejoin the PCT I had covered many more PCT miles than actual miles hiked on the road. I hope that makes sense. By the way I didn’t hitch or skip any section of my unbroken walk from Mexico to Canada.
Over the last several weeks I’ve met many new hikers but my most common hiking buddies have been Tink, Stonefoot and Zig Zag. We joined forces today. For the last several weeks we have been either hiking or camping together. Since starting the hike Tink and I have probably spent the most time together, closely followed by Stonefoot then Zig Zag. We all agreed that we hike at about the same pace and cover about the same distance each day. We all suspect that we will see a lot of each other in the coming four months.
Back to the road walk. Not much to report other than it was rather boring. On days like this I listen to audiobooks. Already on this hike I’ve listened to Walden by Henry Thoreau, South by Ernest Shackleton, Tracks by Robyn Davidson, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Currently I’m listening to Skywalker, Highs and Lows of the Pacific Crest Trail by Bill Walker. All amazing intellectual stimulation for different reasons. I needed that today. Not everyday on this trip is going to be amazing and today will hopefully rate as one of the worst.
Late in the afternoon we finished the road walk and rejoined the PCT. It coincided with the start of the most feared section of the whole trail. The crossing of the Mojave Desert. I’ve been intensely looking forward to this section and fearing this section. But fortune is favouring us, the weather is cold. For many hikers this section is very dangerous and to minimise risk hikers travel at night. For us the weather is so mild we are complaining about the cold weather.
I love the diversity and contradiction of this trail. We might just be 4 of the most fortunate hikers ever. Well, so far anyway. Initially we followed the Aquaduct. This feeds the water supply for Los Angeles. We may have allegedly gathered water from the Aquaduct. This engineering masterpiece transfers the snow melt in the Sierras and transfers it to the city. And we are walking on it.
After our long hike today we found a semi sheltered spot among a large strand of Joshua Trees. A rather grotesque looking desert tree that I learned only a short time ago can be very painful. I had a rather urgent need to escape the tent and dig a hole in the ground. In my haste I stumbled into the said Joshua Trees.
I learned that not only do they have sharp spines but they have a tendency to break off and lodge in the flesh. The tweezers in my first aid kit are for the first time proving their worth. Despite this I think this is my favourite campsite so far. Oh and I forgot to mention, at sometime today I hiked past the 500 mile mark, as I was on the road I missed it!