Waking to the sounds of a lion grunting from the nearby cat rescue park, which I can tell you is not a normal wake up, we were looking forward to an easy day to Agua Dulce. I also thank my exposure to trains rumbling through the night in childhood allowing me to have a very restful sleep. Taking to the trail we hiked a short non-PCT section past a multitude of RVs, some vast in size. After a quick creek jump we breezed on by a small monument two other hikers were standing over. Only once we started climbing did we realize it was the golden spike, marking where the trail was finally completed. Based on the surrounding terrain it wasn’t hard to imagine why this section was last. Up into the desert hills while it was still cool, we could admire the scenery without cursing it yet. At the top we were presented with a view towards town and a major highway, in which one direction was completely gridlocked. Appreciating that we were hiking faster than traffic for once, we curled down to the road, hiking under a long tunnel to the other side. This took us into Vasquez Rocks, where very dramatic rock formations gave some character to the trail. Climbing over these hills, we took note of the signs labeling various desert plants, which we had seen for the last 450 miles. Apparently this park also forms the backdrop to Hollywood movies such as The Flintstones, Star Trek and Blazing Saddles. Through the park, we hit a small road section, before coming to a full size supermarket. Stocking up on food for the next six days we got our chores out of the way by lunch. Sandwiches from the diner across the street gave us the calories to walk the mile to the trail angels, the Saufleys. Here a very smooth operation of laundry, showers and other hiker amenities were provided. It is also the place where I acquired my first pair of new shoes for the trail, as my others had lost their tread, compression and shoelaces. New pants were also collected, as my others had begun to literally fall to pieces, with holes in the seams, on the knees and around the ankles. Lazing around waiting for showers, we heard they had reached capacity of fifty hikers for the night. With so many people around a fair share of trail gossip was being traded. Our lodgings, due to the fact that Rattles and I are a couple, were situated in an old RV. Sole Catcher found a spot on a small knoll above the horses. Tomorrow sees a cello concert from one of the hikers. Dinner was chips and dip from the store, with an early night and an early start.
Miles hiked – 11