Twig Adventures

Day 97: Survivor SOBO

October 10th, 2018
Gamble Spring Canyon Mm 545 to HWY 138 mm 517.5, then ride to Weeville Market and Grill
Distance: 27.5 miles
0605 – 1500

I packed faster than usual and was on the trail by 6 am. With 8 of us at camp and a few more just ahead and behind, I worried there might not be enough water at the next cache. I laughed to myself that going southbound was suddenly starting to become competitive…but not really. It was nice to enjoy the sunrise over the desert. I had to walk across a portion of the Mojave today. It’s notoriously hot and windy, so many walk it at night. There was no need for such measures, as the temps never got too bad on this day.

I walked past more wind turbines and came to a place where sheep were grazing underneath…multi-use land. I came to the water cache just at the beginning of the aqueduct. There was plenty of water for everyone, so that was a relief. While I was there, a guy walked by going NOBO, carrying only a daypack. He didn’t come down to check out the cache and then told Kuba, who was still a mile behind, that there were only a few gallons left. Take home lesson: fearmongers sometimes don’t even know what they’re talking about.

I began an 18 mile road walk along a capped aqueduct. It’s a feeder pipe that goes to the main LA aqueduct. Much of the water supplying the metropolis has to be piped in from far away, including what’s left of the Colorado river. I didn’t mind this road walk, since I got used to such conditions in NZ. There were virtually no cars and it was easy to zone out and get in a groove. The dirt road was easy on my feet. I also walked directly on top the aqueduct for a bit, just to say that I had.

It started to get a little hot in the afternoon but by then, a nice breeze started to blow. I didn’t even need my umbrella. Though it was useful during breaks, since there was no shade along the way. The only disappointment was that I didn’t see any Green Mojave rattlesnakes, which are apparently quite aggressive and venomous. Oh well.

Some of us made it to the highway and a place called Hikertown by 3 pm. It’s a collection of buildings made to look like an old western town. Having grown up near a western theme park called Buckskin Joe’s, I was rather unimpressed with this little place. It was capitalizing off its proximity to the PCT by renting bungalows and selling some resupplies…not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it felt like a tourist trap, only for hikers. It appeared mostly shut down for the season.

I didn’t need resupplies, but I was enticed by the prospect of some real food. We called a number for the owner of the convenience store and grill about 10 miles down the road. He came to pick us up. We all got burgers and shared a 6-pack. The owner said we could camp for free in the nice, grassy plot next to the store and they even had free hot showers. Sold!

He could also give us a ride back to the trail early, after we got huge breakfast burritos the next morning, of course. We got to hang out inside until they closed at 9 pm, using the wifi, buying stuff, and staying warm. All the staff were super friendly and accommodating. The best were the many and elaborate Halloween decorations inside the store. We all posed with the huge werewolf. Who knew a convenience store could be so entertaining?

It’s hard to tell the difference between Hikertrash and a werewolf…Salty especially bears a striking resemblance.

At bedtime, I worried that I might not sleep well. The place was right on the busy highway with lots of truck noise. But with my full stomach and earplugs, I slept just fine. I highly recommend a stop by this place!

Kuba is good with pets.


  1. So “Salty” is the hiker’s name who told me he’s done 20 k miles of trails—of course you’ve hiked with him before!

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