Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 36 - Rock Inn

We had another easy day of hiking, leaving Casa de Luna about 8:30 am and arriving in Lake Hughes before noon. 9.9 miles of mostly road walking. Wide shoulders that were fairly flat so we didn't have to do too much dodging of cars and trucks or feel like we were walking on the side of a hill. 

This is why we are road walking...

This was a nice change of pace for me because as beautiful as the hills are, it was nice to be looking at other things for a bit. Here are some of the cool things I saw and imaged. 
Abandoned gas station

Sense of humor. 

Stone building. 

We arrived just in time for lunch at the historic Rock Inn where we then decided to get a room for the night. We really don't want to arrive at our next stop before late tomorrow so this means going slow. 
The exterior of this building is stunning and apparently there are, not one but two ghosts living here as well. I'll let you know about any encounters I might have while I stay here...

The band just started up downstairs. Good thing I have earplugs...

(Next morning) While the Rock Inn is nice and all, if you expect to sleep in the room you rent for the night, sleeping under a tree outside might be a better option. Apparently the band was set up directly under our room downstairs and my ear plugs had little or no effect on my ability to sleep. The physical vibrations alone were strong enough to awaken a dragon.  When the band finally stopped playing at about 12:30am, the jute box wasn't as loud, but was almost agitating. 

Altogether an interesting experience but one I wouldn't recommend if you enjoy sleep. 

Day 35 - Casa de Luna

The Anderson's are folks who've been hosting hikers for more than 15 years. They live in Green Valley, about two miles off the trail, and invite hikers to their home for camping and they serve a big taco salad every night for folks who show up here, foot sore and weary. 

In addition they maintain two water cashes along the trail and we got to experience The Oasis this morning. 


We finally arrived here about 3pm and joined the hikers sitting about in their front yard. 

Finally tiring of yacking about this and that we took off to the Manzanita Forest up in the back part of the property. They've created many small niches in their wood for tents and I found the best spot, for me. 

Later I wandered down to the local store to buy some beer and found a couple if hikers there who asked f they could follow me back to the Luna. "Of course", I said and I led Bulldog II and The Big CZ back to the Anderson's. 

Much more yacking occurred and we found out who was where on the trail.  "Have you seen the Germans? Where's Shadowfax? I heard _____ got of trail for a while..." This is a very social trail, even if one doesn't see people often, you can always tell who is where in the path. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that when you arrive you are supposed to take a Hawaiian shirt off a rack to wear while you are here. For relaxation I understand. 
Nice eh? My colors. 

Day 34 - Mile 468

We were women of leisure today. Had a nice and simple breakfast at Monamie on the way out of town, with two cups of GOOD coffee. Yum. Since we only needed to go a short (relatively) way today there was lots of lingering and on my part, lolly gagging. 

We leap frogged with a woman named Blue Yonder for much of the day but she went on a few miles beyond our stopping point. Here are BY and Tidy Camper at lunch. 
And here again stepping over one of the anti-bike/motorcycle contraptions. 
The day was pretty uneventful and our total miles ended up being 14 miles. We got into camp about five and fiddled about till dusk. 

Today was the first day we've hiked without Dirty Girl as she left yesterday for a five day accupuncture training in Portland. So it's just the two of us to get into trouble. I'm sure we'll manage. 

Tomorrow it's a short day of ten miles and a stay over at Casa de Luna. This spot couldn't be more different than the Saufleys and it should be an interesting cultural experience. A full report will be forthcoming. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 33 - Eating

I haven't done much of note today except eat. And eat. Three meals out and the last one of the day was the best. There's a little place called "Monamie" just at the end of the street and it's run by a couple with definite European food tastes and talents. Tonight I had...
a great fresh salad with lots of yummy things stashed inside. Then I had a huge plate of penne pasta with chicken in Alfredo sauce. I could only eat a third...
But the best part was the bun that came with dinner. Those who know me know I'm not much of a bread head. This, however, was not to be believed...
Hot out of the oven drizzled with olive oil and herbs and spices. I don't believe I will ever forget that bun. OMG!

How to field fix a trekking pole without tools

On day 30 one of my trekking poles failed me. The plastic tightening mechanism would no longer tighten...
and I don't carry a heavy duty Phillips screwdriver with me on the trail. When the thing won't tighten it flops around and alternately gets longer and shorter. 
I puzzled this one a while and came up with some complicated fixes but nothing that was easy to do. Then I looked at the ground and saw gravel and realized I could fill the cavity in the pole to the right height...
and tape that sucker tight. It worked!
I love fixing stuff!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 32 - Hiker Heaven

It's hard to really describe Hiker Heaven. Donna and Jeff Saufley are two folks who open their place to hikers, horses and stray critters of every sort. Dogs, cats, stinky people all have a place to rest and recuperate here while on their journeys. The four legged critters don't usually leave but the stinky hikers are limited to three days and two nights. Understandably because it is kind of hard to leave this spot. 

So this is what happens. You come in the gate and are greeted by a host of volunteers who give you the dirt on how things go here. 

First there is the shower process. They give you clothes to change into...
Then you shower in the trailer...
And wait till your clothes dry. While all of this is happening you can look through all the boxes sent here for the stuff you sent. For me this was three boxes...
Then you can choose a spot to pitch your tent or, in my case, I was upgraded to an RV...
It pays to know the volunteers...

There is a fire pit (which isn't being used now due to extreme fire problems)
If you are linked in there is a spot to connect your devices (I dropped of my old laptop here in March for hiker use) and the internet is free..,
If you have a need to leave gear, or get some gear, here is your spot...
In between all of this is the beauty....

Oh, did I mention I had a crown fall off two weeks ago? Well today I went to the dentist and got it reglued...
The dentist is a friend of Donnas. And a Tri-athlete...she did a good job I think...
It's the one at the back, far right. TMI?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 31 - To Agua Dulce

Another 19.5 mile day. All things considered it was a pretty good hiking day. After the first five miles the trail noticeably improved and the actual act of hiking was easier. Over the past few days the trail was so beat up and trashed that to have easy tread was quite a gift. Thank you trail maintainers!

Here is a bug that I counted upwards of 70 within a one hour time frame. Someone says it's a Sphinx caterpillar. Anyone out there know? This sucker was three inches long!
We also passed the "golden spike" place where the PCT was finalized and dedicated in 1995. Just a little history for ya. Though I suppose it should be herstory since the whole idea for the PCT came from a woman. 
I didn't get any close up images of the many wild flowers I walked through today but here is a hillside. See if you can spot the hikers. 
The tunnel under highway 14. Kind of spooky cause it's really dark inside!
Vasques Park with wonderful rocks!
Tonight I'm staying at Hiker Heaven. A full on report will be forthcoming soon

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day 30 - North Fork Ranger Station

Today was a fairly easy day, mostly because I chose to do the road walk around the intense PDB infestation. I don't want to risk getting dosed with that stuff so I opted for safety instead of purity. 

Because of this I was able to see some things others walking the trail miss. Plus I was mostly in the open till the last four miles when I rejoined the trail. 

9am snack break. In the far distance is Mt Wilson
A huge tree to be taken down with flowers and a chared log. 
Stark and sad
Memorial for the two firefighters who were killed fighting this massive blaze. 
PDB grows even in the cracks of the asphalt road. Beastly stuff. 
Helpful path assistance. 
PCT campsites aren't always the best in terms of wilderness experiences and setting.  
Too tired to continue for much longer. Goodnight for now.