‘Mile 500. I should be excited right now, but I feel miserable.’ That’s all Backtrack had to say about that.
I caught a cold during our break at Hikerheaven, and passed it on to Backtrack. We also hadn’t slept well the past couple nights thanks to an obnoxious character called Gonzo and then an accidental night hike.
Yet there we sat at mile 500. We’ve finally gotten somewhere! We feel the excitement, somewhere buried nearby.
This past week has been a wonderful hop, skip, and stumble between some amazing Trail Angels.
First stop: Hikerheaven. Mile 454.5, Every amenity a hiker needs. Shower. Someone does your laundry for you! A guest trailer with kitchen, couches and classic VHS to play. Volunteers giving rides to REI. Bicycles to coast down the hill to the pizza place and grocery store. A pile of dogs to play with. We happily stayed there a few days.
24 miles later we get to Casa de Luna, mile 478, thanks to a truck that turns around on the highway at dusk to deliver us there.
Hippie Daycare. We sit down in The Vortex and don’t move for two days. (except to dish up taco salad and pancakes). Everyone dons a Hawaiian shirt and we just hang out. (The shirt is for returning lost hikers who have wandered to the store back to Casa de Luna. Everyone knows to bring you to the lady who takes care of all those hikers.)
We finally escape The Vortex and continue through the heat. What was supposed to be a 15 mile day gets a lot longer as we can’t find a water source and keep trudging on at dusk… 3.5 more miles. I can’t say we enjoyed our accidental hike during the night, but we did see a bobcat! That was pretty cool. Dad says ‘eyes’, and we stop and see a cat the size of a medium dog on a rock. A moment later it slinks back into the night.
Two nights after Hippie Daycare, we straggle into Hikertown, mile 517, hot, tired and thirsty. This place is a bit of a trip. Old West themed buildings in the middle of the desert. Blaze and I get a bed in ‘City Hall’ and it is the most comfortable bed I have slept in over the last two months. Debbie (one of the caretakers) cooks us a wonderful spread for dinner: salad, watermelon, garlic bread, baked beans, roasted potatoes,bbq chicken, garlic bread and dessert. (This is perhaps the best meal I have had all trip; although I tend to think this thought at every good meal). There is also a pile of dogs to play with here.
The next day we sit in The Lounge at Hikertown and prep for a real night hike. (We are done with finding ourselves somewhere hot,midday with no shade). Our prep,mostly involves sitting on couches, eating, rehydrating, eating icecream, laying on couches, and playing with the puppy.
Rather than hiking at dark because we need water and are hiking with a steep edge on both sides with nowhere to camp, tonight it is planned. We are hiking across 16 miles of flat open desert. The corner of the Mojave. Not somewhere I want to be when it is 100 plus degrees out. (I’m not sure I want to be there at midnight either.)
I feel the pull of the Sierras. One more desert to cross and I’ll be home in mountain country again.
Thankful for the care we’ve been given from all the Trail Angels. Sometimes, having a home cooked meal rather than my rehydrated glop, is the best motivator to get me through the next stretch (the promise of a cold beer at the next stop is a good motivator too).