Day 29 (25/04/2018): Santa Clara River to Vasquez Rocks at Mile 453.5 (9.1 Miles)
What an inspiring morning. The geography around Vasquez Rocks is really something to behold. The way the sandstone is shaped into the coolest looking cliffs and hills with intricate little nooks and crannies everywhere is definitely one of the most unique places so far. My chafe from the day before subsided mid morning thankfully. In the afternoon just as the desert sun started becoming too much, I met my parents at the entrance to Vasquez Rocks where we hung out and walked around for a bit. Dad found a Gopher Snake coming out to warm up in the sun. After handing out a couple cold beers to hikers in need we went to get lunch at the local pizza joint in Agua Dulce. The pizza was incredible, or maybe the “hiker hunger” is starting to really set in. I dunno, but it sure was nice after eating Tuna wraps and Ramen day after day. At the General Store I bumped into Smiley and “Chip” which was really nice to see them again. Then we headed back to Canoga Park for a zero day at my parents house. Love having a nice, fun, short day of hiking!
Day 30 (26/04/2018): Zero Day with the parents
Decided to chill for the day and go to REI to purchase some new shoes (Altra “Lone Peak” 3.5) and other items I needed. The shoes were the biggest problem so far on trail as the pair of La Sportiva “Bushido”‘s I started hiking in had become too small for my swelling feet. This caused the back of my heel to rub against the heel cup and create blisters on both of my feet by the end of the first week. So very happy to get a bigger cushier pair of shoes! Great time hanging out with the parents as always. Back to Vasquez Rocks and the trail in the morning!
Day 31 (27/04/2018): Vasquez Rocks to Casa De Luna off Mile 478.2 (24.7 Miles)
Man oh man the grade of the trail was really messing with my right foot all day. Plus chafing at the end of the day deﬁnitely added to the pain. At the road leading in towards Green Valley, I met “Nancy Pants” who was at the trailhead handing out sodas and giving rides to Casa De Luna. After hanging out for a bit to see if more hikers showed up, we headed down the road towards the house of the moon. Not before a quick stop at the store for beer of course. Casa De Luna is super inviting with all the tent sites nestled amongst manzanita trees in Terry’s backyard. Terry is a jovial Trail Angel who has been offering shelter for PCT Hikers for the past seventeen years! She served up her famous taco salad (more like nachos) for dinner and after a little dance everyone was gifted this year’s PCT bandana! One side of the bandana (which is orange this year) shows all the most popular places to stop for resupply along the trail accompanied with the words “Hiker to Town” and “Hiker to Trail”. This is to aid in gaining hitches in and out of resupply locations. 20 miles hiking on sloped desert gravel today sure had my feet feeling it, hope I don’t chafe even more tomorrow.
Day 32 (28/04/2018): Casa De Luna to Sawmill Campground off Mile 498.2 (20 Miles)
The grade of the trail kind of did the same thing as yesterday, so my left ankle was hurting quite a bit by the end of the day. I also have two new blisters on my left foot. Joy! Other than that it was a stunning day. Pretty easy walking through old Sequoia and Oak forest. Everything is blooming, tons of ﬂowers… and pollen. The allergy medication I picked up at my parents place is working well during the afternoon. It’s just so much more pleasant to smell ﬂowers without sneezing. Tonight the campground is pretty windy and semi-exposed, but the water from the rain catchment tank up at the top of the hill is cold and clear. The desert is really growing on me. I began this trek thinking that it would be the worst part, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.
Day 33 (29/04/2018): Sawmill Campground to Parking Lot at Mile 510 (11.8 Miles)
Woke up to howling winds whipping at my tent, and when I opened my eyes everything was gray. I was sitting in a cloud… fantastic. Thankfully only the left side of my tent had condensation, plus my sleeping bag was dry also. Got lucky on that one. The wind subsided a bit as I began my descent towards the parking lot where my parents were planning to meet me and give out some more trail magic. Just before reaching the parking lot the sun came out and I got to enjoy some beers (courtesy of my awesome parents) with fellow hikers once again! It is so much fun meeting new people on the trail. Also pretty cool to realize how many others are out here perpetually hiking just a few miles ahead and behind.
Day 34 (30/04/2018): Zero Day
I did laundry and shopping for a resupply to send to Kennedy Meadows. Not much to really report other than a nice relaxing time!
Day 35 (01/05/2018): Parking Lot to Hikertown Water Cache at Mile 534.9 (24.9 Miles)
What a great day, even including the “dreadful” LA Aqueduct walk. The morning started off with a 7.5 mile hike with Dad over to Hikertown where Mom met us and we drove to Neenach Cafe for lunch. Then after a burger and snacks, I commenced the road walk. Made good time too. I think that the cloud cover and constant wind made what is arguably the most talked about and dreaded section of the desert not really so bad. Along the open water section of the aqueduct I spotted a coyote while walking with “Camo” and “Squeeks“. First coyote of the trip! I must say that I was very excited and grateful to see there was water at the first cache (courtesy of Hikertown) because I really didn’t feel like going another 6 miles to the next water source tonight. Tomorrow will be a lazy, chill day. About 15 miles to the trail magic water cache and maybe a bit further if I’m feeling frisky. We shall see. Hope it doesn’t rain on me though.
Camp near the Santa Clara RiverCommemoration of the official completion point on the PCT on June 5th, 1993Vasquez Rocks loomingCampsite at Case De Luna“MC Camel” and “Suavé”“Fez” and “Hummer”Gopher Snake!Expansive views, alwaysGorgeous sunset and full moon the night before waking up in a cloudI just walked 500 Miles…and I would walk…you get itI thought the desert was dry and brownOh, it still isLooking out towards the flat LA Aqueduct walk ahead, “Camo” and “Squeeks” are the two tiny specks in the middleDon’t drown in the aqueduct…This building was erected in 1926, for… some reasonAt least there is a street sign if you get lostThe land of gargantuan wind turbinesMonsters of the desert