Day 36 (May 13): Mile 444.2 – 454.5

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before…

Beginning Elevation = 2,250
Peak Elevation = 3,100
Ending Elevation = 2,500
Weather: Sunny, high of 80°F, blue sky

What a night staying at the KOA. We’d been warned that it’s a tad loud here and that proved to be truthful. An uneven yet continuous compilation of noise came from the camera crew, the occasional life-threatened shriek from an actress (it appears it was a horror film haha… seriously!), the owls, crows, and rooster calling, the frogs croaking, the trains blowing their whistles and chugging along by, and the cars driving by on the other side of us. I did have a window between 2-6am when I slept good though!

I enjoyed relaxing in the morning. I went over near the camp store and sat outside connected to their WiFi. Got to upload some posts and perused the social media for a bit. That was when I received a crushing blow…

I learned that the University of Michigan’s basketball coach, John Belien, was leaving to coach in the NBA. 😢😢😭. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but this guy was amazing. Very classy, recruited some great, good-charactered and talented kids, and transformed his teams to accomplish goals well-above what others expected of them. He will be missed and overnight I’ve become a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Ok, as my Geography 101 professor used to say incessantly, “I digress…”. I quite slowly packed up my tent and things, had some breakfast (Fruit Rings and a muffin from the camp store and complimentary coffee), bought some lunch food for the hike, and prepared to get back to the trail. Everyone had cleared out by the time I was ready except Salsa who was waiting to make a phone call before hiking again.

I did bump in Snickers on my way out. He smartly was tenting on the opposite, more secluded, side of the campground. He planned to stay another day relaxing at the KOA before moving on. After chatting for a bit, I made my way to the trail and started hiking around 9:45am.

Already it felt warm on the verge of hot. Very soon I came across this. I almost missed it, but was glad I didn’t.

This unremarkable little monument marks the point where/when the PCT was completed. The last connection to make it “one continuous trail” from Mexico to Canada. Looks like that was on June 5, 1993. Pretty neat.

This would be the start of a pretty neat day for me on the trail. I started walking up into these dry grassy hills and enjoyed seeing lovely flowers and some unique conglomerate outcrops.

I was putzing around through this section taking lots of videos and pictures. I still see lizards all the time and this is usually their pattern: I startle them, they cruise down the trail in front for a bit, then dive left or right into a hidey hole.

Late morning, as I was finishing up a tele convo with mother Sheryl a group of hikers came by: Brian/Kool-Aid, Calzone, and Carol! Eventually, I caught up and we loosely stuck around each other for the rest of the day.

I hadn’t seen Kool-Aid since our stay in Big Bear Lake, so we had some catching up to do (pack thievery, rain storms, new shoes for him, etc…). After trucking along at a good pace for a bit, we came to this tunnel to go underneath Highway 14.

It’s kind of hard to hear, but someone on the other end of the tunnel was signalling to us as supporters of the Mockingjay rebellion. I responded accordingly.

On the other side of the tunnel, we had 1st lunch with some folks where I consumed my remaining Fruit Rings (these are Fruit Loops off-brand, not actual good healthy fruit). The crew I was with was quite spent having started earlier and done more miles than I already. We trekked on through a new strange world with some very cool geology (that’s Kool-Aid striking a pose for us).

We had 2nd lunch at some picnic tables where I cooked up some ramen and cup-of-noodles.

Then, we came up to this site…

These are part of the Vasquez Rocks County Park and this particular spot is where a lot of movies have shot scenes…

We were pretty stoked to try and check out what was going on and what they were currently filming! When we got up there a security guy stopped us, but then brought us to the side so we could have a view.

He was cool about it and said he couldn’t say what was being filmed, but hinted that the original was filmed here 😉. If I was by myself I wouldn’t have known, but Kool-Aid being a super “Treky,” figured it out right away! There’s a famous (some might say famously bad) fight scene at these rocks between Captain Kirk and a Lizard-like alien.

We had to be silent while they yelled “Rolling!” And a few minutes after I captured this video

Its a bit far away, but maybe some of you can tell who that bald headed man is! To me, he’s Professor X, but also known as Patrick Stewart/Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. So cool haha! Especially for Kool-Aid who’s watched all the various seasons/variations of the show. So anyway, we believe this is yet another reboot of the Star Trek: The Next Generation. We passed by the set and confirmed that it was indeed him.

Next up was following the trail on a road walk into the town of Agua Dulce. We saw these cool (although maybe invasive?) flowers and then a coyote crossing the road!

We got into the small town and then took a left to head a mile off-trail to Hiker Heaven. Hiker Heaven is an amazing place! The home of the Saufley’s who host gobs of hikers in their yard every evening. They are organized, have everything covered, and all that we hikers want/need. Right away I loved it and felt so welcome as I did at Scout and Frodo’s. Unbelievable hospitality!

I had a resupply package sent here! Thanks to Father David and Mother Sheryl for packing everything up!

And we all piled into this truck to head into town for dinner!

The food was superb! And very filling.

Then, we had a “fire!”

Another very fun day night!

4 thoughts on “Day 36 (May 13): Mile 444.2 – 454.5

  1. Emily Brittenham

    Really awesome rock formations!

    Chuckled at the Mockingjay whistles :). Fun that you caught that on video.

    Yay for hiker heaven, and a resupply package! Hopefully your glasses are in there!?


  2. So hiker heaven looks just as it sounds. Gotta be a good time to enjoy a large group of crazies once and awhile!! Catching some film on the random isn’t a bad gig either. Seemed like a pretty amazing day if I may say so.


  3. Luke Medema

    It’s wonderful to know you all seem to be one district watching out for each other even as you make your way through cold dark tunnels haha! I’ll be looking for you in the back ground when that flick comes out.


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