Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 31. Roadwalking

mile 478 to mile 511

The Powerhouse fire damaged a large section of trail last year, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) described three alternative routes to get around the closed trail.
PCT is closed.
 The Anderson's gave us some info about each option. We ended up starting at PCT mile 478 and hiking along paved roads all day to get back to where the PCT is open at mile 511. Obviously we didn't hike that many miles on the roads though.
KimChi, Jolly, Ninja Tank, MeToo
Roadwalking can be tough physically on the feet.  And it can be tedious mentally.  Several times we wondered WHY we were doing this.  It's not exactly fun to be walking along the road.  And we could have hitchhiked- but instead we spent the entire day watching the cars zoom by, pounding our poor feet on the pavement or dirt and gravel of the shoulder.  Not the wilderness experience you imagine when dreaming of a national scenic trail.  Ninja Tank joked that we were on the Pacific Concrete Trail. Haha!

However, like most days on the PCT, I had an wonderful time because of fabulous hiking companions.  Our group consisted of Whitewater, Kimchi, Jolly, Ninja Tank, and MeToo, and later we were joined by Phantom (from England).  Awesome conversations made the miles fly by.

We had a leisurely stop at the store in Lake Hughes where we filled our water containers and got ice cream. Then we went across the street and got beverages and more food at the Historic Rock Inn. It felt strange to take such a long break in the middle if the day- all of us are very driven to do high miles- but sitting around we really had such a great time. Being with this group has been wonderful because it felt like I was truly around friends.
Ninja Tank, Jolly, Me, and Whitewater
There was much excitement when we finally saw the PCT sign at the end of the roadwalk. Don't know exactly how many miles we walked, but my feet are feeling more sore and tired than usual.

All day we've been talking about strategies for the next few days through the Mojave heat and long waterless stretches. Ninja Tank hiked this before, and MeToo has been mentored by an experienced hiking friend, and I've learned a lot talking to them. We decided to camp here at Pine Canyon Road since it puts is in good position for tomorrow. I found a sheltered spot out of the wind in a gully, but all the guys are camped out in the grass.
Hanging in a gully.
 The water cache here is empty but there is a lovely spring flowing a ways down from my campsite that didn't have an updated status on the water report- it's described in etrails (a great app that provides info on the PCT) as having columbines, which were in bloom. Such a pleasant surprise to find water here and MeToo is sending in the update to the water report so others behind us will know this spring is still flowing.
Columbines by the spring.
Today I felt so happy to be around such wonderful people, and even though it was a long day of roadwalking, it truly was another great day!


  1. Joan, I am enjoying reading your account of your hike. Like others I am hiking this trail vicariously through you. I am a recent convert to hammock camping and I hope to do the Colorado Trail later this summer and then possibly the PCT next year. I am very glad to see your hammock photos on almost every post. Keep up the good work! All the pictures are great.

    1. Thanks, Bill! Let me know if you have any questions about hanging on the PCT- would be happy to help you out any way I can. Glad you appreciate the hammock photos. I get so excited about every hang I just can't help but put the photos in here. Especially with all the people that said things like "there are no trees in the desert- don't take a hammock" to me. Though it's not always easy to find a hang spot, I've done well and only gone to ground that one night and that was for the full moon and I could have hung by the road if I'd wanted....

      Would love to hear how hammock camping along the Colorado Trail goes. Are you keeping a blog?

    2. If I can get out there I will definitely keep a blog. If that happens, I'll let you know. Thanks for the good hammock info for the PCT. Good luck. I'll keep following.