Thursday, May 31, 2012

Days 31 - 35: Real Deal

PCT Mile: 558.5

Well, this week has been wild. We traveled from the Anderson's into some beautiful forest just before dropping down into the real deal desert.  We passed mile 500 which felt monumental. (And now you can all simultaneously get this song stuck in your heads.) I cannot believe my little feet have carried me this far. I can't believe that we are chipping at way at this incredible undertaking. For the first time it really felt like we are getting somewhere. And man, that feels awesome.

There were a couple of days that were a strange juxtaposition between wilderness/trail life and the marvels of the modern world.  One day we walked along aide the L.A. Aqueduct for about 15 miles.  The next day humongous wind turbines turned above us like giant, whirling daisies.

Due to lack of water sources and the escalating heat, one morning we were up and walking by 3:20 AM. Yes, that's correct. Three twenty. In the morning.  By 6:30 we'd done 10 miles and we were at our camping spot by 1:30.  We rested, ate and napped in the shade and were in our bags by 6:15 PM.  The desert is tough, and the lure of the Sierras in just over a week is overwhelming. As we look at the next stretch from here to Kennedy Meadows, we know we're in for some extreme heat, limited water sources and high winds. It's real deal desert time.

One of the best and most joyous moments happened this week. From the top of a hill, as we made our first decent into the desert, we saw a large group of people standing in some shade. A volunteer group of some kind.  As we came down the switchbacks, they too started walking the trail in front of us. We were unsure how we'd be able to pass such a large group. The looked about 40 people strong. As we got closer to them on the trail, one man from the back of the line saw us and SPRINTED to the front of the like, yelling excitedly in Korean. Then, within a split second, all 42 of them lined the sides of the trail and made us a tunnel to pass through! They cheered and hooted as we passed beneath their arms. They were so pumped. As we arrived at the parking lot with them, we learned that they are a group of senior citizens from Koreatown in LA who come up twice a month to do work in the park. And let me tell you what, they LOVE hikers. We felt like celebrities. Once at their vans they, literally, started FILLING our arms with goodies: watermelon, apples, instant Korean coffee, prune candy, granola bars, coffee candies, beef jerky, bottled water, and on and on. Many, many thanks to all 42 of them who made our day!

Pumping water from a fire tank

Whoop whoop!

Down to the desert we go...

Tunnel of love!

Trail Magic! Korean Senior Style!

Hanging at Hiker Town

Walking along the L.A. Aqueduct

Into the wind

Whirling daisy

Desert sunrise

Beetle yoga

Joshua Trees

We are zeroing here in Mojave then off we go again. Wish us luck in our LAST WEEK of the desert! Trees, shade, lakes, rivers and more await us after Kennedy Meadows. 


  1. Looks hot!! Those joshua trees are beautiful! I love the human tunnel, SO GLAD you got a photo! What fun experiences xoxo

  2. That whole tunnel love is awesome. . . the other day, out of nowhere, Matty and I started singing "500 Miles" and it's been pretty consistently stuck in our heads before I even saw your post. I guess we were channeling y'all. Good luck getting to the mountains!

  3. Yes! Beetle yoga.. great post!!

  4. a gauntlet of generosity! that watermelon looks amazing, and i love love love the sunrise pic!

    500 miles looks great on you guys.



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