DESERT.. MOUNTAINS.. WOLVES AND JOSHUA TREES

PCT DAY 27.. May 2nd Mile 468.. 4000 feet.

Had an easy morning cleaning up at ‘Hiker Heaven’ in Água Dulce.. went down to the local bar for brunch and some supplies at the nearby General Store before leaving to face another day in the furnace.. albeit a short one as we had planned only 14 miles for today..

Unfortunately for us the day was practically all uphill.. so we loaded up with water (5 liters a piece) and proceeded at a very measured pace from 2500 feet to over 4500 feet!

Without shade the whole way and very little breeze.. it was like walking in a oven! The temperature was in the low 40C range and before long we were drenched! We made the summit just after 3pm and continued in an up and down fashion to our campsite by 7.30pm.. just in time to set up and cook dinner! Luckily we managed to collect a further 4 liters of water from a barely dribbling and rather silty pipe spring along the way so should be fine for water through to the next catchment?!

Today’s climb was hard.. but the trail in the afternoon helped increase spirits.. along with the discovery of water on route! A gorgeous campsite up in the mountains looking over a lake far below.. unfortunately the water is well beyond reach some 2000 feet below!

Tomorrow up at 5 as we’ve decided to split the day.. walking early morning and late afternoon to avoid the mid day heat.. this will mean less water required.. more miles covered.. and we can rest up for 3 to 4 hours during the worse heat of the day.. Goodnight all!

PCT DAY 28.. May 3rd 22 miles.. 4500 feet

Left one mountain this morning at 5am.. and climbed a thousand others! We seemed to be up and down all day! Finally at 2pm and with the prospect of another 2000 foot climb in searing heat.. we decided to hitch to a nearby town.. Lake Hughs and wait out the heat.. enjoying lunch at the only restaurant there at the same time!

Left Lake Hughs at 5pm and scaled the last mountain for the day.. setting up camp at the top under some bushes which were consequently ridden with mosquitoes.. so secured ourselves inside at the earliest opportunity to avoid the clouds of bugs attacking us!

Another loooong day tomorrow through to the desert flats and Hiker Town.. and leaving at 4am.. so asleep I am.. NOW!

PCT DAY 29.. May 4th 27.6 miles 3000 feet ‘Hiker Town’!

Woke at 4am this morning with the intent to hike till noon and then take 3 to 4 hours break in the heat of the day.. before hiking on towards Hiker Town..

Actually we hiked all morning and most the afternoon before I stopped under a cistern with a corrugated roof for shade.. had lunch and filtered water.. then slept for an hour before continuing on!

Motzart and Marlin continued on without me and made it to Hiker Town but at a huge cost.. with Marlin (who is 60) having a dose of heat stroke and blistered feet! He is now out and resting for the next few days and might join us at Tehachapi!

I took it easier in the afternoon and finally arrived at Hiker Town around 7.30pm.. also shattered and with a mild dose of heat stroke! The heat here over the last few days has been ferocious.. but a cold front and subsequent cooling trend is due in over the next few days.. with new snow on the surrounding mountains at elevations of 4000 feet! We might encounter that as we move on tomorrow night?!

Now planning to rest up tomorrow during the day.. and ‘night hike’ the lowlands of the desert! NEED to sleep.. Hiker Town is pleasant but a bit bug worn.. I hope I don’t get a repeat of the bed bugs I had on the Camino Santiago?? Too tired to worry now.. Goodnight!

PCT DAY 30.. May 5th Night hike to mile 530..

Took the day to relax at Hiker Town and avoid the heat of mid day! Rehydrated.. Motzart and myself set off at 7pm walking first the California.. and then the LA Aqueduct!

With head lamps alight we then took off across the desert and hiked for around 13 miles before meeting Mark.. who appeared out of the dark on his dirt bike.. (he was heading home after a party at friends) and offered us a flat spot to pitch our tents for the night! We accepted and spent the night at his place in the desert..

PCT DAY 31.. May 6th Mile 552.. 6000 feet.. SNOW!

Awoke at Marks place at 7am.. packed up.. thanked him and left.. Motzart went on ahead so today was a solo day’s hike for me.

As the temperature had dropped due to the passing cold front.. it meant a very comfortable day’s hike through the remainder of the flat desert section and up into the Tehachapi mountains! I passed the Manzana wind farm and climbed slowly into the mountains stopping at Tylerhorse Canyon and associated Creek to fill up on water and have lunch.

Shortly after lunch as I climbed out of the canyon I found myself being observed by 2 wolves.. who ran across my path and then paced the horizon some distance away.. before slinking off over the ridge! Quite an encounter!

As I reached the summit.. dark clouds were rolling in and I tried to make it at least part way down the other side before the skies opened! I found a flat spot and pitched my tent in a maelstrom of rain.. sleet and ice! Inside I stripped off all wet clothing and climbed into my sleeping bag.. listening to the wind.. howling like a freight train through the surrounding canyons.. and eventually got warm enough and fell asleep!

22 miles covered today.. I hope tomorrow clears?!

PCT DAY 32.. May 7th Mile 566.. Highway 58..

Awoke to a snow covered tent.. cloud cover but no wind! Pulled on my wet and mostly frozen clothes and packed up as fast as was possible.. to head on down the mountain.. and to a more comfortable temperature!

Once at the bottom close to Willow Spring Road.. I stopped in the sun to eat and dry out all my frozen camping gear.. Then set out once again over the somewhat lesser hills between Willow Spring and Highway 58.. On the way I encountered a scout group out maintaining and fixing up the trail.. we chatted and had pictures before I continued on to finish at Highway 58 where Dave.. a kind gentleman offered me a lift into Tehachapi where I met up with Motzart at Burger King and we shared a room at Best Western Mountain Inn.. BLISS!!

15 thoughts on “DESERT.. MOUNTAINS.. WOLVES AND JOSHUA TREES

  1. Hi Chris. You seem to be flying along! Are you ahead of schedule? Loving your blog and amazing photos. Until the next one, stay safe xx

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  2. Chris , the diversity of plant life , climate and views in one days trekking are staggering , encapsulating and mind blowing .Thank you to take time our of each day to not only take photos but at the end of those what must be very tiring days recount for all of us your thoughts and observations ,
    Keep it up we love it thank you ,,
    Roll on tomorrow

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    • So much thinking of your every step on my mini walks daily…very mini relatively ha ha. So glad you can find a bit easier hours in various camp sites or in civilisation. Thanks for enhancing our already wonderful days…You must be enjoying food very much as you need all the fuel you can get!

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  3. Hey Chris
    What an amazing weekwith all 4 seasons and new wild life. Stunning photos and great read as always so inspiring that you have taken us with you on your journey.
    🤗😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did I miss something? What is a Joshua tree? And aspousing to the theory the only stupid question is the one u don’t ask… how well signposted is the trail. I can’t imagine there are markers at every 100m?

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    • Hey Belinda.. great question.. n was thinking of just that today?! Sometimes they seem to have a marker about 20 to 30 meters apart.. but extremely rare! Most are about 10 to 20 kilometers apart.. n definitely not even.. extremely random it seems?! Look up the Joshua tree part 😊 Hope all well there n thanks for all the comments! Love to everyone 😘

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  5. What crazy landscape! Snow then searing heat! Love the photos…Joshua tree national park was one of our favourite campsites, strange trees!:)
    Keep njoying and look after those feet!:) xxx

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  6. Another great effort Chris. That’s pretty harsh stuff sleeping out wet, cold in freezing conditions, and painful starting out again in those stiff wet clothes – takes a “bit” of determination!! Well done on the extremes of those different 7 days. Look forward to reading the next few day’s jaunt!! xx

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  7. Hahó Chris, your adventures seem to be crazily challenging sometimes. Gosh! You are doing very well, and meeting those nice and unexpected characters on your way… Curious wolves, Party Mark on a dirt bike and the scoutboys. All sounds great. Cheers from here, a different wilderness called Civilisation. Fingers crossed, also by Bob Marley: let your feet be your carriage helping you to push on through😊 Happy Trail, stay safe and found!

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  8. So enjoying your journey, Chris – and the continuing wonderful photos. Crazy temperatures you have to cope with – and wolves! Enjoy every moment (if possible!) and stay safe. D&Sxx

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  9. It’s amazing to see such beauty of our world, thank you for experiencing and sharing it! Hoping you are planning on writing a book at the end of it all? Look forward to reading more of your travels soon xx

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  10. Greetings Forest G number 2, I am loving the fabulous landscapes and your dialogue. The snap of the tent looking so lonely and soooo cold made me appreciate my warm surrounds, not for me though, yours truly prefers sand and palm trees!! I could only be enticed to the snow with promises of mulled wine, good company and a roaring fire. So you have taken to staring down wolves, Bear Grylls will be jealous, your own tv programme perhaps?? Take care my amazing brother in law, we look forward to YOUR adventures. xx Kaz, Rob and fam

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  11. Hi Chris- I have no idea if you have got any of my messages? But all I can say is; wow! Wow, wow! I thought the weather was crazy in U.K. But where you’re hiking it changes every few miles. The pictures are amazing and you sound in good spirits. Keep going;- we are really looking forward to the next update!! Xx

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