Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 34 - Oasis cache to the middle of the Mojave

A very very long, and different, day.
It all started with a nice walk down towards the Green Valley Road, where Casa de Luna is. The trail was easy, and I especially enjoyed watching the trail climb up the mountain on the other side of the road, knowing that it was inside a fire closure, and I won't have to climb it.
We got to the road at about 10:00, and Cheese came in just after. Terry Anderson, the owner of Casa de Luna, just passed by with her car, and picked us up to the famous hostel.
Butters and Idan in Casa de Luna
Upon reaching Casa de Luna I was immediately given a beer. Then I was led to the Hawaiian shirt rack, where I picked one up for the duration of my stay there. The whole atmosphere was very laid back and relaxed, and it is really easy to decide to just stay there for a day or two. Every night is taco salad night, and the party is always on in the front yard, but at the back there is a manzanita grove, for quiet camping and sleeping.
We resisted the temptation and headed out at about noon, planning to hitch around the closure (no road walk for us). We met Sunbeam and Arctic at the gas station, eating ice cream, so we bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's as well, and shared it. It was a hot day.
Hitching the ride out of Green Valley wasn't easy. It took us about half an hour, when finally the local plumber stopped and took us to Lake Hughes. There it got worse - we tried hitching along with the Australian Girls (Mozi and Emu), but nobody stopped. Probably because we were too many. After we split, and headed down the road a bit, we finally got a ride in a pick up. The driver then also stopped for Mozi and Emu, and later for Alpine Start and French Toast as well. So we all got our ride into Hiker Town - our second trail Angel of the day.
Alpine Start, French Toast and Mozi on the ride to Hiker Town
On the ride to Hiker Town
Hiker Town is a bit different. We just went to the common area, and sat on the sofas until the heat of the day passed. The place was packed with hikers, some who actually did the road walk, and many were heading out at the evening.
Snail Trainer met a friend of his there, who bought a lot of beer and curry take out for everyone. After he left, Idan said he looked like the head guard from Prison Break. And then Snail Trainer said it was indeed Wade Williams - the actor from Prison Break. So Idan scored some points there. Apparently Snail Trainer used to date the actress from the ah-ha video "Take On Me", and she was friends with Wade's wife, and that's how they met. Funny story.
Anyway, we left Hiker Town at about 18:30, heading out for our first night hiking. The trail is all flat and boring for the following 17 miles, and quite terrible in the daily heat.
The open LA aqueduct
At dusk it was much more bearable. We got to the open LA aqueduct, and walked along it for a short while, and then headed into the Mojave desert on the aqueduct road. The sun set, and it was still quite warm, and we just kept on walking on those roads. When the moon rose, we didn't even need our head lamps. But it still felt like we were hiking extra miles at the end of the day, and not like we only did 7 before that. So every step hurt.
I took some ibuprofen, and was surprised to find out how that chemistry really does make the pain go away. But when we reached the point where the trail left the aqueduct road, at 22:20, we called it a night, and set up camp. Along with some other hikers who stopped here before.
Well, that was an experience.