May 18, 2017
Hikertown – Mile 529.9 (517.59-529.9)
Once again, I had trouble falling asleep last night due to the heavy winds that occasionally blasted my tent, causing it to flap around loudly. As I tossed and turned, trying to fall into slumber, I suddenly realized my hip bone was touching the ground. Then the rest of my body slowly lowered onto to the ground. My sleeping pad had deflated. Cons of camping in a junk yard: setting your tent up on top of broken glass. I got out and tried my best to sweep the offending material out from under my tent, then grabbed my repair kit to patch up my pad. Luckily, it was an easy fix and worked like a charm. I was able to fall asleep shortly afterwards, despite waking up a few times from nightmares of my tent floor being shredded by glass shards.
I tried my best to sleep in, but as usual it was in vain and I was up shortly after 6. I spent a couple of hours bumming around using the wifi, and then Gummies and I caught a shuttle to the nearby convenience store and café. The store runs a shuttle between their establishment and Hikertown every hour on the hour (or so they claim), which is probably an incredible business booster for them. Hikers cram into the back of a van that has no seats, but instead cushions to sit on on the floor. We got breakfast when we got there. I had their amazing chilaquiles (aka breakfast nachos) and coffee. They also had wifi, so we ended up bumming around there for a while, occasionally purchasing more snacks and drinks. We passed up the 9am and 10am shuttle rides, and then for some reason the shuttle just stopped running until 1pm, leaving us stuck at the store for a grand total of 5 hours. More and more hikers showed up as the day went on, packing into the dining room and using up all of the outlets.
When we finally got a ride back to Hikertown, I pressure washed my socks with the hose, and then attempted to have a nap before our evening hike of the LA aqueduct. Unfortunately, hanging out in a tent in the desert during the heat of the day isn’t the most comfortable experience, and I ended up just sweatily tossing and turning for an hour or so. When I gave up on the nap, I went back over to where all the other hikers were hanging out. Pretty much everyone was planning to evening/night hike the aqueduct, which is somewhat notorious for being one of the hottest, most exposed sections of the trail. Luckily, the weather during this section has actually been pretty cool for us so far.
On the aqueduct!
Around 4pm, Gummies and I stuffed ourselves with as many disgusting tortilla creations and snacks as we could, and then packed up our stuff. I was back out on the trail right around 5pm. We walked down the road for about a mile before we hit the aqueduct. It was an open canal at first, which was really cool. I also got to really test out my new ear buds for the first time, and they worked like a charm. I had so much fun finally being able to listen to music again.
After a while, the aqueduct entered a pipe that stuck up out of the ground, and we walked along it for several miles, which was really fun. The “trail” was bordered by forests of Joshua trees. Eventually, the pipe disappeared and we started walking along a flat road, although you could occasionally hear the water rushing along underneath which was pretty cool. By this time, the sun was starting to go down, and the desert was looking mighty fine. The hills ahead were coloured in dark indigo, the sky shaded a gradient of blue, pink, and yellow. The silhouettes of Joshua trees rose out of the flat ground.
There had been quite a crowd hiking along the road for a while, but as the sun went down and it began to get truly dark, everyone disappeared into the distance and it ended up being just Gummies and I. We got out our headlamps and continued hiking. This night hiking experience was much more enjoyable than my first, probably because I was doing it of my own volition and wasn’t in danger of getting blasted off the side of a ridge by gale force winds. We turned off of the aqueduct onto some other dirt road, and soon decided it was time to make camp. We climbed up off the road a bit, and set up for cowboy camping. Thankfully, it’s a calm night and not too cold, so it’s perfect. I’m currently snuggled into my quilt staring up at the amazing starry desert sky above.