It was a day of contrasts. Camped high above the desert floor, we had a cool and windy night. Awaking to the sun rising through the trees, we noted the profusion of tarp tents that had sprung up to the north of us over night. It is likely that they all came from the Anderson’s, a trail angel, that morning after being served their famous pancakes. Beginning with gusto, within two miles we crossed the 500 mile mark high in the mountains. It was a satisfactory feeling to know we hiked that through the desert and mountains in a month. Climbing shortly after we reached the highest point of the morning. The following miles took us through idyllic meadow glades and patches of pine and oak forest. This resulted in a profusion of chipmunks and squirrels for Rattles to admire. Reaching a road we turned north, headed for the desert below. This saw our first snake spotting of the day, a gopher lying contentedly across the road, dozing in the heat. Leaving him in peace, we switchbacked down into a small burnt section, coming to a water barrel by the only large tree for miles. Resting briefly in the shade, we took on the next hot section of rolling desert scrub before Hikertown. Our second spotting was of a rattle snake as it slowly climbed a tree next to the path. Sole Catcher only mentioned its presence after we had walked by. Convincing Rattles that it was mostly down for the next seven miles was unsuccessful, due to the notable tendency of the PCT to take you down and then back up a hill. Strolling through the low hills, we rounded a corner and could see the edge of the Mojave desert stretching into the distance. Down a dirt road and quickly crossing a highway, we stopped in at Hikertown, a place set up for hikers to refill and take shade. Finding some chairs out of the wind, we hunkered down and cooked our dinner. Three other hikers joined us. Willow and Turtle from Tennessee, and Packman from Tahoe. I asked Pacman how heavy his pack was, and he said that leaving the border it weighed 80 pounds, twice what mine weighed. He has every luxury he wants, including expensive cigars and a camp chair. His feet do seem to be suffering though. As the sun descended and the temperatures dropped, we hiked on into the desert. Following a long section of an aqueduct, it was somewhat unnerving to see a long strip of cool blue water heading out into the desert. This quickly became a covered pipe, which for a long time went extremely straight north. As the sun began to set, we pitched our tents in between Joshua trees, while I found a tendency to continually back into them. As we crawled into our tents after a long day, the full moon began to rise in the east, casting the sands in a moonlit glow.
Miles hiked – 27