The Audacious Aqueduct and the Whimsical Wind Farm
Beginning Elevation = 3,050
Ending Elevation = 4,350
Weather: Cloudy at times, sunny at times, 50-60°F
I had a bit of an early start to the day. Turns out that Highway 138 can get pretty busy on Monday mornings and despite the wooden fence, it was a tad noisy. Lots of semi’s. I was fine with it though. I got to see a bit of the sun rise and had some more time to relax.
Around 6:00am, I went inside the market/grill and ordered some French toast and a coffee. I added some cinnamon roll flavored creamer to my coffee and some banana slices to my french toast that I’d bought yesterday and hadn’t eaten. Calzone joined midway through, and Pierre from Quebec too. He’d been trying to get a hitch back to the trail, but no luck. So instead, gave up to have a breakfast burrito and ride in with us at 8:00am. That’s when the store worker who drove us yesterday arrives to start for the day.
After breakfast, I cleaned up a bit around the hiker area. I think some animals got into the garbage! And then packed up.
The four of us hikers (Cheer, Calzone, Pierre, and myself) got a ride from Victor a little after 8, and just like that we were at the trail, ready to continue on our way. First though, Calzone went to search for her camp sandal by the roadside and found it! Hooray. Prior to getting picked up yesterday, we’d unloaded a bit of stuff and it must’ve fallen out then. After recovering the sandal and putting on our wind gear on, we took off. Pierre went right away and I wouldn’t see him the rest of the day.
The trail was flat and cutting across edges of people’s property going north. And it was super windy. It popped out onto a dirt road. Here, the trail tried to trick me and make me think I had finished, that I’d reached he end and made it to Canada. I didn’t fall for the trick, but continued on past.
On the other side, where the trail slightly elevates, was the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which transports water from somewhere far away to the folks of L.A.? Here it’s open to the air. We’d follow it like this for a couple miles.
Because it was so open and somewhat straight, I could see folks ahead and behind me. Eventually, we had a joyous reunion, where I caught up to Calzone and Cheer and 3 Bean and Foxtail caught up to us having stayed at Hiker Heaven the night before. I enjoyed getting 3 Beans take on the Game of Thrones final season (without spoilers…some day I’ll catch up). For most of the rest of the day, I walked along with these four.
Soon after, the aqueduct turned into a pipe and cut north (it had been going relatively east to west before). We had fun walking on top for a while, but eventually retreated down to the gravel road that ran parallel to it. That seemed to be easier on the feet and joints.
Next, we made it to the area where the streets have no name and the fields are covered with Joshua Trees! With or without each other, none of us had yet found what we were looking for. Thus, we continued onward.
Yes, U2 was discussed and I had to admit to my fellow hikers that the band is one of the few that I dislike in the world. I know that’s harsh, and I’m sorry, but I just can’t get on board people.
And then the aqueduct transformed yet again into a covered concrete form. At one point, I did lay down on the concrete with my ear to it and could hear the water rushing by below.
It was so nice to have a group to hike this stretch with! It was a tad monotonous, so it was good to have some conversation whilst walking. Most was light chattering, but I did enjoy getting into matters of more meaning as well.
We had a shorter lunch together. Usually, I take a nice long break, but I think the more common thing is for folks to take several smaller breaks and snack throughout the day rather than do a meal like I do. I was having my stomach pains that I get on occasion, so wasn’t too keen to eat all that much for lunch today anyway.
I don’t think this photo was of our lunch spot, but just a nice break to sit for a bit…
Something I should point out about this stretch today is that it’s typically one of the hottest of the entire PCT. At a high of around 60°F, that wasnt the case for us today (hence the hat, rain coats, and long pants). We actually made really good time because it was so flat and somewhat ideal hiking conditions.
The trail went away from the aqueduct for a bit along a dirt road, but returned to it again further ahead, about the time we reached some wind turbines!
After hiking approximately 17.6 miles, we reached a water source, which I assumed came right from the aqueduct below. This had been my goal to reach for the day, but everyone was continuing on and I felt good, so I did as well…
The hiking squad of 5 kind of split up after this water source. I really enjoyed hiking these next few mikes, one of my favorite walks thus far. I’m not even sure why. It was later afternoon/evening at this point and I was walking through the wind turbines out in these wide open fields. There was a mix of thick varying clouds and some sun shining through too and I had a good mix of tunes for some background listening.
My new goal was to get through the wind farm so that I could hopefully find a tent site that wasn’t so windy. I ended up stopping right at the end where the trail starts to climb into some mountains. I found a spot kind of tucked in, slightly out of the wind. The rest of the group continued ahead another two miles or so, but I was pretty spent and my feet were sore. I look forward to the new shoes I ordered because I think the padding in mine has worn down quite a lot!