Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell Acton Koa Campsite Agua Dulce Hikertown

Stretch 4: Siestas, oases and moonlight hiking in the desert

In Neil's PCT adventure by runhikelaugh

Days 21-29 of Yeti’s Pacific Crest Trail PCT blog 2017


191 miles from Wrightwood to Tehachapi

27 May 2017: Mile 369 to 384

Hitched a ride from Wrightwood to the trail, then it was straight into a climb up Mt Baden-Powell! There were lots of day hikers out, as it was the start of the Memorial Day long weekend. The climb and the summit were stunning. I had lunch on top with a big group of PCT hikers.

Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell

Group lunch on top of Mt Baden-Powell


Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell

USA flag on top of Mt Baden-Powell

From the summit, we went down across some stunning ridges until reaching Little Jimmy Camp ground, which was filled with scouts – Baden-Powell was the founder of the scout movement.

28 May 2017

<No diary entry>

Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell

Hiking in the hot dry desert


Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

400 miles


Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Surprise burger and beers!


Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Ridge camp sunset

 29 May 2017: Mile 404 to 428

After a bad day yesterday, I slept in to start fresh. Punched out some quick miles to reach a fire station. Walked with Frenchie and Broken Spoon off-and-on. Had a nap under a picnic table and was woken by Ken, whom I’d met the day before, offering some fruit.

Ken Trail angel Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Ken, local legend, trail angel and international runner back in the ’80s with a sub 30min 10km PB and a 2hr20min marathon PB

So great meeting Ken yesterday and again today. Local high school running coach, former elite sponsored runner in the ’80s.

Had about an hour chat yesterday and today he came out to find me and give me some fruit. He was out supporting some local runners training for the Angeles Crest 100mile race. Although never having been to Australia he knew about the Blue Mountains, and surprisingly Lamington National Park including the story of the Stinson plane crash. I told him all about the Lamington Classic, a great local race organised by our club. He’s also a big fan of Yiannis Kouros, the running god.

His parting advice after I told him I had a 39min PB for the 10km: “Good, very good. Not too many people can go faster. But now turn that 39 into 29, it’s all in the mind…”

I eventually got going again for another few hours. Kept walking past a large group of campers to find my own secluded spot with stunning sunset. Good to feel better.

30th May 2017: Mile 428 to 444

Acton Koa Campsite Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Camp sunrise

I was up and away early to quickly get down to the Acton Koa Campsite to see everybody.

Acton Koa Campsite Agua Dulce Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Sandy Mountains

I ran into Copper Tone again for another float. We had a nice long chat about ultra running.

I managed to get to the Acton Koa Campsite by lunch, then decided to stay to join everybody swimming and drinking beer. We got food delivered – ravioli!

Agua Dulce Acton Koa Campsite Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

8 days in the desert without laundry!

31st May 2017: Mile 444 to 459

It was a nice easy 10 mile hike into Agua Dulce past some cool rock formations that have been the setting for many western and space movies.

Hiker heaven Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Acton Koa Agua Dulce Hikertown

Cool rock formations


Hiker heaven Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Acton Koa Agua Dulce Hikertown

Cool rock formations

I caught up with a group, had some lunch and resupplied in Agua Dulce. Stopped in at Hiker Heaven, a campground/hotel/mail drop/resupply point for PCT hikers. I charged up a few devices, and caught up with other some hikers for a beer.

Then it was back on the trail for another 6 miles in the reduced heat of the evening.

I spent some time walking with James from Scotland. He retired at 42 after taking out as much money as the bank would loan and buying a block of apartments in Edinburgh. He’s done some amazing walks around the world, including a 100 day cross country ski in Northern Europe before jumping in a kayak to head back the other way! He’d also done some big trips in New Zealand including one where he had to carry 3 weeks of supplies – all off track in such tough terrain that he was only covering a few miles a day.

Ben, Flame, Gourmet and Broken Spoon all arrived later and joined me for a night of cowboy camping under the stars.

1st June 2017: Mile 459 to 486

Got away nice and early, heading up a big climb. Very hot day and was glad to make it to a fire station after 19 miles.

Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell Acton Koa Campsite Agua Dulce Hikertown

View off into the valley

Had a siesta during the heat of the day, before punching out another couple of hours.

2nd June 2017: Mile 486 to 507

Made it to the 500 mile mark. Yay! Long, hot day.

Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell Acton Koa Campsite Agua Dulce Hikertown

500 miles

Started at 8am after a late finish last night. Hiked until siesta-time at noon. Away again at 3:30pm across some beautiful grassy hills.

Stopped a mile shorter than planned as I couldn’t resist a higher campsite overlooking the flat valley below.

Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Hikertown

Camp sunset

3rd June 2017: Mile 507 to 536

I should’ve started earlier, as it was so hot. I made it into Hikertown by 10.30am. It’s a cool little property with heaps of little shacks you can stay in.

Got a lift from Hikertown to a café and had a huge 2lb burrito. But it wasn’t enough, so I just kept eating for the next few hours while everybody I knew started rolling in. A bunch of European hikers came in just in time to watch the Champions League soccer final.

Then it was back to the trail for some night-time hiking.

It’s a hot, dry, exposed 19 miles along an aquaduct pipe from Hikertown to the next water point. Most try to hike this stretch in the cool of the night – I headed off at 6:30pm.

Hikertown Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Walking the aquaduct


Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California Mt Baden-Powell Acton Koa Campsite Agua Dulce Hikertown

Walking the aquaduct pipeline

The moon was nearly full, so I walked in the moonlight without a headlamp. Even at night, it was hot! Fueled by Red Bull, I made it to water and a bridge at midnight.

I went another 1.5 miles beyond the bridge and found a spot out of the wind in a dry creek bed.

4th June 2017: Mile 536 to 560

After 3 hours sleep, I was away again at 5:30am. A big climb with very little shade made for tough going. I made it to an absolutely awesome stop on top of a hill which had fruit, juice and biscuits – Amazing!

Tehachapi Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Trail magic


Tehachapi Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Trail magic

Once I found some shade, I napped under a tree for a couple of hours. Got going again for 3 hours to finish up by the road into Tehachapi.

Tehachapi Pacific Crest Trail PCT 2017 blog Wrightwood to Tehachapi desert hiking southern California

Told you it was windy!

I ran into the trail angels Coppertone and Legend again for another chat. Got a lift into town pretty easily.

Straight into a bar to have some rums!

Maps

Where the bloody hell is he?
Pacific Crest Trail PCT thru-hike 2017 PCT blog 2017  Tehachapi

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