Start: casa de Luna, mile 478
End: camp at mile 542
Miles hiked: 24, with detour around burn zone.

Ahhhhh. Slept in till 6:30 and moseyed my way to pancakes being served in the driveway. Mrs Anderson brought Sherrif, carrot, Sherpa, and the boss to the trailhead around 9. We hitched in the back of two pick up trucks roughly 20 miles north to hiker town. The pct is closed in the section between the Anderson’s and hiker town due to a fire last year. Nearly 40 miles of the trail is closed. Real bummer. It’s the 4th and final closure of the trail through the desert. Unfortunate, as carrot said those miles were beautiful last year. It’s just a perfect fire zone out here. extremely hot, dry, and windy. Wouldn’t take much to start a fire.

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Map to get around the closed burn zone

After hitching in the truck beds of two different trucks, we made it to hiker town. In front of us lay the Mohave desert. Dry, shadeless, and brutal. It was 10:30, and we debated if it would be wise to leave as hike in the heat of the day. We decided to go for it, and all loaded up with several liters of water for the first 18 miles without any water and nearly no shade. We started walking next to the open aqueduct. A river fully encased in pavement. Soon we split off onto a large metal tube that carried the water above ground. After several miles of that, it became a below ground aqueduct that we simply followed the dirt road above it. Again, I felt loopy and out of it. Constantly drinking, yet constantly dehydrated. My mouth was dry, and the sand got between my teeth as I gasped for air.

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A lot of this through the Mohave.

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Sheriff and some Joshua trees

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Soooo hot. Need shade and water!

After 18 boiling miles, we finally made it to a water cache, next to a bridge that cast a great shadow to hide from the bloating sun. We sat here for over an hour hydrating and snacking. Other hikers had spent nearly 6 hours here! It’s about the only shade you can find out here.

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The boss, sheriff, twinkle, carrot, and coffee.

Our group is really starting to take shape. It ebbs and flows, but the past week I’ve been with Sherpa and the boss, a nice couple from Burlington Vermont. They’re both real strong hikers, super fun, and always having a good time. They’ve been nothing but a pleasure to hike with, and I’m glad they’re with us. Coffee is a local, from Palm Springs. He looks like the type of guy you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Big and strong, tattoos covering his arms and legs. Though his personality couldn’t be further from the opposite. One of the most genuine, nice guys on the trail. Always asking how everyone is doing, and offering to help anyone out with food or carrying any pack weight. Mack from New Zealand has worn sandals the entire trail, yet he’s kept up with us. Tiny from Portland is a huge man, built to play hockey (which he is very good at) and Guthrie from Texas, who is also extremely nice. Theme of the trail, everyone is so nice, and so willing to help each other out.

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Wind turbine and Joshua tree. Quite the contrast out here.

After our nice shades break we’re back on the trail, hiking another 8 miles to camp near a tiny little stream. Just barely enough to get water from. We scatter and cowboy camp on any level surface we can find. We cook food, get organized and quickly go to bed as we are getting in after dark. What a wild day it had been. Sure took a toll on my body being in the sun. I am exhausted, as ready for some cooler weather.

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So many wind mills

May 17
Start: camp at mile 542
End: unknown

I woke up at 4 am and was on the trail by 4:20, hiking purely by moonlight. It’s 18 miles to a road where I will hitch into Tehachapi. I cruise miles in the dark, quickly putting my number to 10. As the day heats up, I put in the headphones and enter zombie mode, where I get irrationally pumped up by music and hike without thought. I pass by 2 horned toads ad three snakes. I catch both toads, and photograph the little snakes. One snake had a belly full of something, and wouldn’t move off the trail. I wonder what he got. Probably a lizard.

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Sunrise this morning over the Mohave.

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Hey dude! These are by far my favorite animals on the trail. Their entire body is covered with spikes, including horns out the back of their head. They can shoot blood out of their eyes. And they have long, sharp nails. Little demons, they are!

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This snake had just eaten, and wouldn’t move off of the trail.

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More windmills today.

I got a ride from Jo into town. She’s a trail angel in her 80’s who just wants to help hikers in any way she can. I had fun chatting with her as she drove me to town. Soon after carrot met met at a bakery. Then sheriff, the boss, Sherpa, and shortly after came not a chance, tiny, and Mack. A big hiker hang out at the burger spot. Were discussing what to do tonight, and how to approach the 40 mile waterless stretch. I’m not looking forward to it. My pack is going to be extremely heavy on my shoulders with 5 days of food and 8 liters of water. Yuck. We’re all dreaming of the sierras. Only 140 or so more miles. We’re hoping to chug through real fast. Done with the desert, we are.