Crossing the Mojave. May 26

Day 35

Start – Mile 511 7:00 am

End – Mile 535 6:00 pm

Miles – 24

Got up at 6:00 and Karen already had breakfast ready for my. In addition to sending me out with a full stomach, she also prepared a sandwich and gave me a bag of fruit. I really can’t thank her enough.

My plan for the day was to take advantage of the unseasonably mild weather to make the bulk of the Mojave Crossing in one day before it jumps back up into triple digits. I’ve gotten pretty lucky with the weather so far and didn’t want to lose this opportunity since the temp was supposed to jump 20 degrees by the next day.

By the time we were loading the car to hear back to the trail it had started to rain very slightly. As I set out on the trail to cross the last few hills before dropping to the floor of the Antelope Valley the wind and rain picked up to where I had to put on my rain gear. At one point the wind was so strong I almost tripped on the side of a hill but I eventually made it down into the valley.

The first stop was Hiker Town. This is another hostel with a mixed reputation for Bering kind of seedy. Karen told me some stories about the owner and I can see why. I only stopped in briefly to see what it was and get water. There was hardly anyone around so either they were still sleeping or had gone into town for food.

Either way there wasn’t any reason for me to stay as my plan was to get moving ASAP so that I could take advantage of the cloud cover for as long as possible.

This section of the trail is mainly across private land, and most of it is contained on dirt roads. The first couple miles take you along a few ranches and by an abandoned school, and then you ascend a small ridge to come face to face with your companion for the day, the LA aqueduct. For the rest of the day you’re walking next to or on top of this river, but only the first couple miles are open air. After that it’s either in a tube or under a concrete lid.

Most people complain about this section because of the heat and the monotony. In fact a lot hike it at night to avoid the heat and because there isn’t anything to look at. I didn’t have the heat to worry about and actually found the landscape pretty interesting at first.

The open channel was nice to walk along and the pipe led me by a Joshua Tree forest. But after about six miles the river is under concrete and you’re just walking a dirt road in the desert so I lost interest. In fact the only thing I was focused on was my feet hurting. That blister is still bothering me and making me walk funny, which adds to my fatigue.

After several hours and one long break to rest my feet I finally came to the largest wind farm in the country, which signaled I was close to my destination – a small bridge with a water pipe that LA dept of water and power leaves on sometimes for hikers. I didn’t actually need water but figured I’d resupply in the morning before heading into the Tehachapi and it just seemed safer to camp near water in the desert.

As I was trudging along the last quarter mile what I though was wishful thinking or a mirage turned out to be the largest trail magic set up I’ve ever seen. It was put on by a Burning Man camp who decided to come out here for Memorial Day weekend with a smaller version of what they bring to Nevada in order to bbq for hikers.

So at the end of a long day with weary feet I got to sit in a big tent in a chair and relax with a bunch of nice folks. Today was great for being bookended by great and generous people.

The desert section isn’t quite done. There are a few more miles before the Tehachapi but the worst is over. I’m camped with the largest wind farm in the country so it’s pretty blustery but my tent is holding up. Hopefully only a day and half to the town of Tehachapi.

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