Day 35 & 36 – A hunt club, Hiker Town and California Poppies

Sunday 2 June 2019
Day: 35
Location: Mile 493 to Mile 511.5
Distance travelled: 18.5 miles / 30 km

I woke up early this morning to get a head start on the sun and walk some miles in the relative cool of the morning.

I was happy to find that my food bag had survived the night hung in a tree. No bears visited our campsite in the end.

The morning’s walk was pleasant, through pine forest lined with wildflowers. I love walking through pine forest, its cool, protected and there are always plenty of critters about. I spotted lots of squirrels darting across the trail.

The miles went by quickly in the morning and by mid morning I had reached a big milestone of the trail, the 500 mile mark. It crept up on me. 500 miles is roughly 805km. It feels good to have reached this mark and I feel proud of how far I’ve come but it’s crazy to think that I still have over 2,000 miles ahead of me.

The sun had heated up by the afternoon and I really felt its effects. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to walking in the intense heat. Taking plenty of breaks in the shade helps but I find the renewed energy wears off relatively quickly when I step back out on trail.

There is cafe coming up in the next days walking, the thought of a good breakfast and an ice cream sandwich has been spurring me on. I wanted to make sure I walked far enough today to have a short walk to the cafe in the morning so I can enjoy a second breakfast. I have been ravenous with hunger over the last few days, eating a lot more than normal (which is already a lot) so a big serve of eggs will be good.

I ended up finding a small single campsite tucked into the bushes on the side of the trail. It will be nice to have a quiet night on my own. I know no one else will be able to come by late in the evening and set up camp right beside me.

Monday 3 June 2019
Day: 36
Location: Mile 511.5 to Mile 517.6
Distance travelled: 6.1 miles / 10 km

It was nice to wake up this morning knowing I only had 6 miles to walk until I reached Hiker Town, from which, an ice cream and a breakfast burrito were only a short car ride away.

Hiker Town is a slightly strange yet wonderful world smack bang on the PCT. I would later find out that Richard the owner was formerly a producer at Disney. Richard bought the land years ago with the intention of developing it, before he knew about the PCT. When his wife found out about the trail, she committed to helping hikers and bit by bit they built hiker town. A little ramshackle village of containers fit out like a country and western film set. They now maintain the property throughout hiker season, driving people back and forth to the cafe and store that they also own, feeding, cleaning and housing thousands of hikers each season.

It was a pretty morning walking through the rolling hills, watching the sun rise as I walked.

The closer I got to hiker town the more the scenery changed. I began descending into the desert floor and was blown away by the spectacular scenery.

Over the past few days I had begun tiring of the same scenery, mile after mile so the golden grasses and vibrant orange Californian poppies growing vibrantly in the distance were a welcome change.

I felt like I was in proper American desert country now.

As I reached the a junction where the trail intersected a major roadway I was surprised to learn that I was still walking through hunt club owned property. Although out of season I was glad to be leaving it as I crossed the road and headed straight for Hiker Town.

On arriving at Hiker Town I was greeted by Bob who let me know a shuttle to the cafe would be leaving soon. At this point I had intentions of eating and chilling for the rest of the day before heading out later that night to tackle the infamously hot dry section of the LA Aqueduct.

I was waiting for the shuttle when Rich, the owner of Hiker Town invited me inside. He generously fed me waffles, apple and coffee while I was waiting for the shuttle to the cafe and market. Exiting the house I found 15 people loaded up in trucks and cars ready to leave. Apparently I had received special treatment. It was very nice indeed. It was over the waffles and coffee that I decided to stay the night and hike out the next day. This place was too good not to make the most of.

I was driven to the cafe by one of Richards business advisors who had come in for a meeting. I was filthy and stunk and was being dropped off by a Jaguar. It felt so wrong to be sitting on the leather seats.

I felt like I was in some alternate universe or paradise. When I arrived at the cafe, Rich gave me a free ice cream as I wandered the store picking up a few resupply items.

I spent the afternoon eating and relaxing, watching movies before heading back to Hiker Town to find a bed for the night. Unfortunately all of the little themed houses were occupied but I managed to nab the last available bed in the back of an old camper trailer. It was a little grubby to say the least but it was nice to have a roof for the night. It worked out perfectly because it ended up being an extremely windy evening, even the trailer was being blown about by the wind.

I wasn’t going to bother doing my laundry since it had only been a few days since I’d last washed but when Bob offered me the washing machine I went for it. To have fresh smelling clothes is an absolutely luxury on this hike!

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