The trail continued once again through beautiful changing landscapes.
Coming to the highway 138 crossing, I went with Tinkle to have a look at Hikertown. There were some rumors and discussions on Guthook (app) about Hikertown, so we decided to ask the people from Wee Vill Market for a pickup.
It was a good decision. The food was great (Double cheese and bacon burger), we got to pitch our tents next to the shop for free as well as hot showers.
The night would be short though since we planned an early start to walk the aquaduct and crossing the Mojave tomorrow.
May 22. There was breakfast offered at Casa de Luna at 6am with coffee, pancakes. Well fed, we quickly got a ride to the trail.
With the limited water availability, we planned another 20 miles day, heading to the Sawmill campground with water available from a nearby guzzler. The guzzler in this case was a tank that is fed with rainwater collected from the roof covering the tank. Getting water was a bit cumbersome… Crawling under the low roof, opening the tank and reaching low to get to the water.
In the water report, a pesky bear had been reported at this campground. So the bear was the topic of the evening… We pitched our tents closely together. Discussion about food storage… Hang it (if you know how), keep it in the tent? I decided to keep my food close to be in the tent. Others hanged their food in the trees – not so sure if I bear could not easily get there…
Fell asleep quickly despite the talk about the bear. He never showed. 😉
May 21. Woke up around 6am, still in the clouds. Breakfast in the tent. Left around 730am with Cactass, some of the others still in their tents due to the nasty weather.
There were 16 miles to go to for today, aiming to get to Greenvalley/Casa de Luna.
Casa de Luna is a special place. Together with Hiker Heaven one of the most famous trail angel places in California. Less organized than Hiker Heaven or Scout&Frodo, but very relaxed place. In the back a huge garden, tentsites everywhere. Decorated with hand painted stones, e.g.
What happens in the forest stays in the forest.
Next stone: Except herpes.
Next stone: Expect herpes.
Last stone: Accept herpes.
Taco salad in the evening. I got spanked by the trail angel and host Terry for not fully complying to the dinner table rules. 😂 Later the evening, everyone had to dance for her to receive the PCT Class of 2018 bandana. Holding the bandana felt a bit unreal. I remember it felt like yesterday when Scout&Frodo spoke about the bandana at mile 478 – it sounded so far away.
When taking the mandatory group photo, Terry had a surprise move to ensure smiles on everyone’s face.
The sky was covered with clouds in the morning. Hiking the first 10 miles to Aqua Dulce / Hiker Heaven took us into the clouds, but the temperature was really nice for hiking. I heard from other hikers that this section was much hotter with temperatures above 100 Fahrenheit/more than 35 degree last year around the same time.
Coming into Vasquez Rocks just before Aqua Dulce/Hiker Heaven.
Aqua Dulce is actually the first community that is located right on the trail – the PCT leads through the small town on the main street.
And again amazingly friendly people welcomed PCT hikers. We were all invited for a Taco Salad lunch in the community center.
After lunch, we were offered rides to the trail angels at Hiker Heaven right in town. It is as professionally organized as Scout and Frodo in San Diego. On arrival, we got a quick tour on all the offerings.
But with just 10 miles hiked, we left Hiker Heaven around 3pm to resupply and make more miles.
The weather kept changing. With the rather cold and wet air, we raced up the mountains to pitch the tents just before darkness at mile 462.
May 19. Woke up around 6am in the horse stalls with lots of condensation water on the inside of the tent and on my sleeping bag. I had pitched my tent on long grass – no wonder.
So we took our time with packing up, hoping the sun would dry our stuff soon. Had a chat over coffee with Artemis another hiker and Ron who volunteers at the ranger station. As a previous PCT and AT hiker, he enjoys feeding the hikers with goodies like soft drinks, apples and ice cream. In the morning, he prepared free hotdogs… Thank you! Had a chat with him about Germany. He had been stationed in Flensburg in the North of Germany so he spoke some German – so close to Eckernförde where I have been born. And Ron once met a celebrity from Flensburg – every man 18+ should know… Guess! 😂
So we had a really late and lazy start and started walking just around 9am.
Around 12pm, we came after 8 miles to the Acton KOA campground with a small shop, swimming pool…
The longer we enjoyed the pool, the clearer it became that today would become a Nero… Instead of hiking the planned 10 more miles into Aqua Dulce / Hiker Heaven, we decided to enjoy the rest of the day here on the lawn.
May 18. Started us usual around 7am. Planned to be at a fire station in 7 miles – there were supposed to be either softdrinks available or the opportunity to get pizza delivered. Arriving there, we realized that the station was basically dead. We could have ordered pizza, but considering opening hours and wait time, we just filled up water and moved on.
Camped at the North Fork ranger station at mile 436. Since the designated tentsites were full, we moved downhill into some old horse stalls. Everyone got his own little stall to set up his tent.
May 17. We left camp around 7am, walked two miles to a highway crossing. We decided for a 6 miles road walk to avoid the endangered species detour of the PCT.
The PCT itself is closed around here for several miles to protect the habitat of an endangered frog species actually. Walking along the highway was a new experience including some tunnels. Now I know why my headlamp has a blinking mode as well.
Coming back to trail, we quickly reached the 400 miles marker! That’s 640km… 😁👍🏻
The gang at mile 400 marker
We pushed on to water at mile 411, camped shortly after at 412.
That was a good and long day. I feel I keep pushing my limits. Good feeling to be really tired in the evening and looking back at a 20+ miles day.