Chapter 5: Weedeater Eruption

Sheeeeeew… civilization does exist! It’s been a while since I’ve had the ability post an update. Not much cell/internet service the last two weeks. However, I’ve had a lot of civilization-type experiences out here…

I have had the opportunity to make a run to Burbank, CA and also stay at three different hostels during this 200 mile stretch. This means more showers, less water filtering, and more town food. Feels like cheating. About 566 miles deep thus far.

Like I said before, I’m trying to embrace all non-trail aspects out here. As luck would have it, a couple of super great thru-hikers offered to let me tag along to Burbank with them to get some new gear at REI. This was necessary. I needed another air mattress (mine had 13. Yes. 13 holes in it). Also needed some new tent stakes. Mine broke in the bedrock. Desert wind is relentless.

While looking like three homeless dudes in Burbank, we had a van pull up and ask us if we knew where the Social Security office was. This means we looked like we should know such things, ha!

After being back on the trail I ran across a tree that was over 1,500 years old.

(How does anything grow out here?!)

I eventually made it to the first hostel, Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce, CA. This place was like nothing I’d ever seen. A family had a trailer setup on their property for hikers to cook, shower, and sleep. They had tents setup for gear repair, post office, and shower stations. A back yard for tenting. All totally donation based and had been going on for decades.

(Tent city. Stink city.)

(I don’t trust this.)

(I do trust this. I mean, look at him. Doppelgänger?)

Eventually it was time to hike another 50 miles to the next hostel, Casa de Luna. Also, very unique. A lady and her husband made vegetable soup 19 years ago and offered some lost PCT hikers a bowl. Word spread. Hikers came and went. She now sees over 1,000 a year. Again, tenting on some unique property. She encourages rock painting and placing them in her back yard forest.

(This trail has been weird at times.)

(Yep. I’m an artist.)

(Filling up fast.)

After hiking out of the hostel, it was time to undecidedly and uncontrollably eat flies. Awesome.

(Lord of the Flies.)

For 30 miles, these little fellows flew up my nose, in my eyes, mouth, ear, everything. It was like nothing I’d ever dealt with. Even worse than the Appalachian Trail.

Then things got worse. As they tend to do out here haha.

I was camping that night laying on my side, ear against my air mattress like some quasi-hippie-native-american hearing something tunnel underneath my tent in the sand. At first I’m like, “Well, I have a leak in my air mattress. Let’s just total the car if I wreck it.” Terrible logic. So I eventually roll out of my tent, pick it up, move it 100ft or so. Sure enough, there was a mouse hole. So it wasn’t all for nothing. Then, as always, it gets worse…

I’m starting to doze off in my sweet new yard and begin to hear what sounds like a weedeater (trimmer) off in the distance. Knowing this isn’t even remotely a thing out here, I’m semi-sleepy and perplexed. The weedeater gets louder. I get more perplexed and begin hearing it loudly through my ear plugs. Finally I unzip my tent to investigate. Turns out my tent was apparently on the entire North American population of ground wasps. Thousands of weedeaters erupting from the ground. Not like I could do anything about it. Mother nature does what she wants man. So I crashed out to a unique form of white noise that night and they were gone by morning. Wish they could have worked in unison to give me a lift to Canada.

Yet again, it was time to keep heading to Canada. There were interesting sights on the hike out. Another cave and certain doom.

(I still think Ganon is in there.)

(Like I said. Certain doom.)

(Saving 15%.)

Next hostel on the agenda was Hiker Town. This was owned by some old Hollywood set designers. Each building was a 10ft x 10ft with a bed. Nothing else. Perfect.

(California is weird man.)

While at hiker town, I had this grand idea to hike the LA Aqueduct from 7pm to 7am. This would allow me avoid the heat and drink less water over a 25 miles stretch. Sounds good. In theory. I’m an idiot.

After trying to sleep during the afternoon noon (30mins successfully), I peaced out.

(My 30 mins of sleep face.)

I ended up hiking 28 miles. Made it to a canyon at 7am with intentions of sleeping during the day. Turns out. It get hot in the desert. Like 104.9F hot. Like I said. Idiot.

(This was a terrible decision.)

So I slept about an hour in the heat and magically I ran into water, fruit, etc. trail magic.

(Tear worthy. Seriously.)

(The beginning of a second night hike.)

(The middle of a second night hike.)

(The end of a second night hike. 7am at the road to town. I still hitch hiked. Cause adventures.)

For those keeping count. That’s 50 miles in 36 hours on 90 mins of sleep. Gross.

I left out an important part. During this second night hike, at 1am I had an interesting encounter. About 50ft in front of me, a mountain lion crossed the trail. Stopped. Looked at me. I blinded it with my head lamp. In what felt like hours, after a few seconds it jumped some tumbleweed, and ran into a ravine. For me, this is the worst animal to encounter. If it wants to ruin me. Turns out, it can. Nothing I can do but stand and get ruined.

I kept scanning the ravine with my light. Since they like to attack from behind, I was a little concerned to say the least. Eventually, I had to make the most critical decision every thru-hiker makes…keep hiking, or not? I reluctantly strolled on the Canada, constantly checking my backside. Shew.

More random non-story pics…

1 Comment

  1. Hey there, found this wonderful and have enjoyed every lingustic reference and the pix are clear and I feel I’m out west for a while since my western experiences have been pretty sparse. Just California. Vegas and colorado. Most just stopovers. But mom and dad did live in Arizona for a few yrs. Back in 70s. I am glad had the opportunity to talk to your mom now and then and.be hooked up to the link. You be safe and keep trekking. Barb Martin patterson here

    Like

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