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Walking on Water

May 4, 2018

The wind shook our one room shelter last night, waking me twice with its fierce determination to get inside. Sturdy construction thwarted the gale, and Jay and I slept peacefully.

This morning we took the shuttle to Neenach Cafe and Market, where we bought delicious giant breakfast burritos, called “piglets”, and food to get us to Tehachapi. We were grateful for the shuttle up and down Highway 138, an extremely busy, rather dangerous road. Hikertown is not a place I would want to linger, but I did appreciate the help this strategically placed hostel offered.

The PCT crosses the western tip of the Mojave Desert, following the Los Angeles Aqueduct through Antelope Valley for much of the day. This valley is known and sometimes dreaded by PCT hikers for its unobstructed wind and high temperatures. Many hikers choose to cross the valley at night, to avoid sun exposure. Today, however, temperatures are in the 70’s, perfect for a gentle stroll through the desert. As the picture shows, we have 17 miles of very flat walking ahead of us!

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We’ve left the San Gabriel Mountains, and now have to cross a small corner of the Mohave Desert before climbing into the Tehachapi Mountains.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct brings water from the Owens Valley, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to Los Angeles. First completed in 1913, with 233 miles of pipes and channels, the well-engineered design allows water to move by gravity alone. There are many opinions concerning depriving Owens Valley of water in order to facilitate the growth of Los Angeles. I, being a lowly hiker, have no political opinions. Walking beside a piece of living history did interest me, however.

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My first sight of the aqueduct surprised me with open water!

Soon the trail made a 90 degree turn, following the aqueduct in the form of a giant pipe half buried in dirt and sand.

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A single raven sits atop the pipe full of water, while we traverse the dirt road beside it.

Many hikers complain of the boredom of this day’s hike. I admit, I wouldn’t want to cross this valley every day. But after days of winding through hills and mountains, the novelty of flat and straight entertained me for hours. This picture shows Joshua trees on Jay’s right.

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Jay maintains that a successful thru-hiker must have a high tolerance for monotony. I agree, and add that it’s fun to find the entertainment factor in said monotony!

A few days ago, a local man had told Jay and me stories of his childhood, driving across the desert with his father, getting water through access ports in the aqueduct. He described the awe of peering down into the black moving water, fishing for liquid with a water bottle tied to a string.

After a few miles, the round pipe we had been following disappeared completely underground, replaced by a concrete road. I was disappointed to find the access ports firmly locked with no-nonsense official padlocks. Modern day mistrust can remove a bit of the wonder from life. My imagination, however, enjoyed free reign as I walked above all those gallons of flowing water.

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Access boxes to the water below were spaced at regular intervals along the aqueduct.

People do live in Antelope Valley, and signs of habitation gave me another thing to watch as we passed at walking pace.

We saw fences, a few cattle, and even some houses in the first five miles of the walk.

And so the day continued. We were grateful for beautiful weather. In the afternoon, the wind began to pick up a bit, but remained much gentler than last night’s gale!

I noticed bird tracks in the sandy dirt, and wondered which bird had run across the path. The footprints were too large for quail. Perhaps a roadrunner? Maybe a swaggering raven? (Upon looking it up later, I learned that roadrunner tracks form an X shape, while ravens have more of a classic bird print. I probably saw raven tracks.)

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For the most part, solitude reigned.

As we neared the foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains, we saw solar farms, more properly known as photovoltaic power stations, on our right, and windmills ahead.

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Evening brought welcome shadows to our walk.

The day ended at Cottonwood Creek, where a faucet taps into the aqueduct. We also found a 55 gallon blue barrel full of water, provided by Bob from Hikertown. Gratefully, we filled our bottles, then crossed the dry creek to pitch our tent on a flat sandbar while the sunset misted the sky with pink and peach colors.

Contentment

May 2, 2017

This morning brought the delight of a hot shower, delicious breakfast, and Jay feeling much better after a sound night’s sleep. The Rock Inn had provided just the medicine needed!

It was with reluctance that we left this haven of warmth and friendliness to face the inhospitable wind once again as we walked two miles back to the PCT. Clouds still hugged the mountain tops, which was where the PCT quickly took us.

Near noon, the clouds lifted, revealing blue sky and sunshine! When we saw two hikers, Cheetoh and Ruby, eating lunch in the lee of a rock escarpment, we decided to join them. We enjoyed the conversation as much as the food, once again trading hiker stories. The end of lunch was marked by a western tanager, first sighted by Cheetoh. We all paused, captivated with its bright colors of yellow body, black wings, and red head. These birds have my all time approval, because not only are they beautiful, but during breeding season, they eat many insects, including wasps!

Lifting clouds reveal azure sky – at least for a few moments!

Soon after we began hiking again, the clouds returned, making our sunny lunch just a memory.

Water today came from a spring at Upper Shake Campground. Trail crews have put a great deal of work into this portion of the PCT, creating a lovely detour to fetch life-giving liquid! Live oaks and Coulter pines became more numerous, paving the trail with cushiony pine needles peppered with rolling acorns.

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Pollen (male) cones on a Coulter pine

Near the end of the day, we came across this hiker-made sign. Seeing miles marked in kilometers reinforced the knowledge that we shared the PCT with many people from other countries.

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800 kilometers = 497 miles

We pitched our tent a half mile south of Sawmill Campground, once again choosing solitude over the companionship of other hikers. Temperatures had dropped precipitously since our sunny lunch, and I crawled into my sleeping bag wearing all the clothes from my pack. I admit to harboring a few longing memories of last night’s comfort at The Rock Inn. However, as I reflected upon western tanagers, pollen cones from Coulter pines, and acorn signposts, serene tranquility filled my heart. (My nose, on the other hand, remained cold!) ๐Ÿ™‚

May 3, 2018

Early in our hike today we came across another hiker-made signpost. Five hundred miles seemed like a lot until I did the math and realized that we still had 1,150 miles to go!

500 miles! Worth celebrating!

A man offered us water and mints from his car as we crossed a dirt road. He was running support for another hiker, but had come prepared to help anyone he met. We ate the mints with gratitude and thanks. I’m now embarrassed to admit, I have forgotten this trail angel’s name.

An unexpected trail angel!

Live oaks and pines continued to line the trail, bathing us in beauty. The sunshine brought rising temperatures. With a mostly downhill slant to our path, miles flew by!

Blue skies and sunshine filter through the canopy of oaks and pines, with green ground cover delighting the eyes!

“Enjoy the trees,” Jay warned. “We’ll be hitting Antelope Valley this evening, and it will be a while before we see such lush vegetation again.”

Our first good look at Antelope Valley, notorious for wind and high temperatures.

As the afternoon progressed, the ubiquitous wind began to strengthen. Chamise chaparral and dry grasses became the major life forms around us. Though we had not planned to reach Antelope Valley today, our light packs and the easy trail kept urging us forward.

Nearing the valley floor, our oak and pine cover was left behind.

Just on the other side of Highway 138, a sizeable piece of property has been turned into a hiker hostel. The owner, Richard, and the caretaker, Bob, are happy to have hikers take shelter here for a donation of $10 per person. They provide a shuttle to Neenach Cafe and Market, which is owned by Richard, but we arrived just as the last shuttle was returning.

Hikers are welcome to pitch their tent on the bare dirt anywhere on the property. There are many small buildings with beds available on a first come, first served basis. One bathroom serves all hikers (about 30 that night). The wind, which was rapidly approaching gale force on the sweeping valley floor, convinced Jay and me to take shelter in a room. Not too clean, but it was private, with walls sturdy enough to block the wind, which was all I asked.

A sprawl of small rooms house either none-to-clean beds, or a jumble of junk.

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Hikertown
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Another view of this hiker hostel.

Unplanned

May 1, 2018

The Green Valley Fire Station at San Fransquito Canyon Rd makes a water spigot available to PCT hikers, and thus became our first objective of the day, even before breakfast. Our online map and water report informed us that we would have to hike nearly 15 miles before reaching the next reliable water on the PCT. With a sigh for weight, but grateful nonetheless for this water spigot, we each filled three liters.

A nine hundred foot climb, over the course of 1.5 miles, was the next job for the day, bringing us out of San Fransquito Canyon. Lowering clouds and cold wind, with a few spatters of raindrops, rewarded us at the top of the ‘highlands’.

Nothing can compare with hiking into the cloud ceiling!

Once again the trail wound up and down and around, following the contours of the landscape.

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The clouds followed us into the sheltering oaks on the sides of the ridges.

As we hiked, the wind became stronger, bringing downright frigid temperatures sweeping across the terrain.

After seven miles, Jay began shivering, and admitted that he felt rather under the weather, with a persistent headache and deep-seated chill. Our planned destination, a back country campground at 5,000 feet in elevation, was 8 miles further. Suspiciously, I eyed the clouds wisping around us. Camping inside this fog seemed a recipe for illness.

A few days earlier, on Half Miles’s PCT notes, Jay had read about a place called The Rock Inn, a restaurant and bar that also rented a few upstairs rooms. We had discussed stopping there, but decided it sounded rather noisy, since it advertised live music every night.

But now, with chilled water spitting on us from clammy clouds, and Jay shiveringly miserable, it seemed time to reconsider. I checked the map, and realized we were only one mile from the road leading to this possible oasis of warmth. I checked my phone, and was delighted to find that I had coverage! I called the inn, and confirmed that they not only had room, but tonight was acoustic night, guaranteed, the lady told me, to be quieter than usual!

So Jay and I turned off the PCT at Hughes Lake Road, committing ourselves to a two mile road walk in hopes of finding warm shelter and hot food at the other end.

The Rock Inn, completely built of stone, provided a private room with a double bed, a shared bathroom, laundry, and a restaurant full of delicious food. The owner and waitresses were exceptionally friendly, encouraging us to choose our own room, then helpfully packing food to be carried upstairs for a quiet meal. I felt as if I had walked through a time warp, transitioning so suddenly from bone-chilling wind-swept countryside to old-fashioned, paint-chipped, luxurious comfort.

A postcard shows the incredible rock work that gave the Rock Inn its name. On this chilly night, the bar and restaurant were busy, but the upstairs had only ourselves and two other thru-hikers, a couple from Hong Kong.

The Hike Continues

April 29, 2018

We were awake and packing our tent at 6:30 a.m., surrounded by many other hikers engaged in the same activity. Weeks on the trail had conditioned us to rise with the sun, even when camping at a hiker hostel.

Two early morning hours passed quickly at Hiker Heaven. We recharged our phones and talked with other hikers. I introduced one hiker, Special K, to the delights of eating corn chips spread with butter. “Oh, if my friends could see me now!” she exclaimed. “Hiker health food!”

The 8:30 a.m. shuttle carried us to the well stocked Agua Dulce General Store, where we bought breakfast and supplies for the next few days. To make up for my pre-breakfast “health food” snack, our morning town meal was the epitome of healthy; a salad of spinach, goat cheese, boiled eggs, and avocado, with blueberry yogurt for desert.

We sat at tables on the porch of the general store while we ate and organized our food, talking with locals and other hikers. Time flew by as we shared hiker stories until, at 1:00 p.m., the sun, at its zenith, began signaling that it was more than past time for us to get hiking!

Accompanied by a cool mid-day breeze, we set off through 2.5 miles of town, heading for the hills. Two miles later, still surrounded by civilization, I found myself in desperate need of a toilet. Frantically, I scanned the surrounding houses and buildings. I knew I wasn’t going to last another half mile to the relative privacy of trailside bushes. Fortunately, the Shepherd of the Hills Church had open doors and friendly people who gladly let us use their restrooms. I am forever grateful to these cordial and gracious people, and their open door policy!

Once out of town, we enjoyed views of clouds, hills, and bushes while the trail gained altitude.

A hiker named King Kong, from South Korea, took our picture at a bend in the trail.

The trail gained the ridge top, but kept on climbing. The cool wind, so welcome in Agua Dulce, became a bit insistent, prompting me to wear warm hat and coat.

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On top of the ridge, but still climbing.

After climbing 2,300 feet, we finally dropped over the ridge edge, meeting a few welcoming groves of live oak trees. Many old cow patties attested to the shelter provided by these trees. The view was spectacular, miles of bushes and oaks, with not another tent in sight. Gratefully, we pitched our own tent and turned in for the night, a nearby screech owl sending us to sleep with an unusual lullaby.

April 30, 2018

Gray sky put a definite tinge of humidity in the cold, early morning breeze. The trail wound around the sides of hills, occasionally crossing a ridge top, sometimes diving through an oak grove. Poodle dog bush and poison oak abounded, slowing our progress often as we stepped carefully to avoid these plants.

6:00 p.m. brought us near San Francisquito Canyon Road. Beyond it, the trail headed uphill again, with no feasible campsites for several miles. A hiker hostel named Casa de la Luna offered shelter and companionship just a couple of miles down the road. But after 15 miles of hiking, all I truly wanted was a flat spot out of the wind. Hiker Heaven and Agua Dulce had given us plenty of companionship, and we were still enjoying our solitude. We found a flat bit of dry creek bed at the bottom of a very short sandy draw and quickly put up the tent, appreciative of the shelter from ever present gusts of chilled air.

Groves of live oaks occasionally appeared over the edge of a ridge today.

Agua Dulce and Vasquez Rocks

April 28, 2018

Happy birdsong woke us at daybreak, and we were on the trail by 6:30 a.m., hiking out of Mattox Creek Canyon in the cool of the morning. We passed a great deal of poodle dog bush in bloom. This plant, endemic to southern California, flourishes for a few years after a forest fire. Pretty as it is, we were careful to avoid touching it, as it can cause a serious rash.

Poodle dog bush. Pretty, but dangerous!

We consumed the last of our food at breakfast, eaten in early sunshine at the top of the canyon. Two tablespoons of peanut butter and a handful of mixed raisins, nuts, and pumpkin seeds would have to last us three and a half miles until we reached a KOA at Soledad Canyon Road.

The trail circled up and over and around dry ridges until suddenly diving over the edge to descend into Soledad Canyon. At the KOA, we bought more breakfast, and lunch to go, while we watched a crowd of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts assemble for morning instructions, then mingle. About a dozen more thru-hikers arrived as we ate our second breakfast, until the porch of the store was crowded with packs.

Nine miles later, we hiked into Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park. This 932 acre park has a rare beauty. The rocks are mostly made of coarse-grained conglomerate and breccia sediments. Their fantastical shapes were formed by active fault uplift combined with rapid erosion of the San Gabriel Mountains. Many films have been set here, including several episodes of Star Trek.

Jay and I enjoyed our walk through this whimsical land. A few pictures might show it better than my words.

The PCT enters Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.

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Jay stands beside a wall of layered stone.

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Lunch break in an eroded alcove
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Indian paintbrush accents the desert.
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Cliff and tree bring grace and beauty together.
Tilted rocks provide a background for a yucca in bloom.

A mile and a half after leaving this fanciful landscape, Jay and I walked into the small town of Agua Dulce. This town has a wonderful grocery store, but is too small to support a hotel.

For the last 20+ years, lodging for hikers has been provided by the Saufley family, on their land, nicknamed Hiker Heaven. There is a suggested donation of $20 per person and a limit of two nights. This money doesn’t begin to cover the ‘luxuries’ provided for hikers!

The Saufleys are incredibly organized, with showers, shelves of loaner clothes, several rented porta potties, chairs for relaxing, a kitchen open to hiker use, and a spacious yard for tenting.

Jay and I set up our tent, took showers, then caught the shuttle back to town to get dinner at the local Mexican restaurant, Casa Bonita. What a treat, to be clean, eat delicious food, then toddle back to our tent for the night!

The moon shone over twenty-six tents that night.

Packs are hung neatly at the organized Hiker Heaven.
The moon glows above many tents!

They’re fast, and they’re deadly!

April 26, 2018

In late afternoon, as I was descending a dry, exposed section of trail, I was startled by a rattling sound, behind me, approaching fast. Adrenaline flooded my body as I jumped to one side, just in time for a bicycle to whiz past, inches from my pack! Terrified and outraged, I managed to yell to the back of the receding cyclist, ” You don’t belong here!”

The PCT is closed to all wheeled vehicles. There are some parts of the trail where a bicycle could cause serious danger to hikers. Closing the trail to mountain bikes helps to protect fragile trail tread as well as provide a unique, safe place for hikers and equestrians.

As I continued hiking, and my heart rate slowly returned to normal, I fantasized of things I could have done. My fantasies ranged from throwing rocks at the bicycle wheels (perhaps a bit violent) to haranguing the hapless cyclist in my best teacher voice (definitely less violent).

Later, when I caught up with Jay, we discussed possible actions that would be safe for us as well as good for the cyclists.

The PCTA and the US Forest Service make the rules of trail use pretty clear!

April 28, 2018

Two days later, we heard another bicycle coming down the trail. Since we were together, and not quite as startled as last time, Jay and I spread out, effectively blocking the narrow path. The cyclist slowed to a stop, probably puzzling over the sight of two grubby hikers grinning at him as if he were a much anticipated Christmas present. We’d had a lot of time to think of what we should say to cyclists on the PCT. But now that we had our chance, how to start?

I took the conversational plunge. “What are you doing here?”

“Same as you, enjoying the trail,” the young man replied.

“But you’re on wheels.” My hands made circling motions.

“And you’re on foot.” The cyclist didn’t get my point.

“And you’re illegal,” Jay joined the conversation.

A look of impatience crossed the young man’s face. “Oh, we’re all illegal sometime. Look at the cars on the freeway going 80 mph. I’m sure you’ve been out there breaking the speed limit.”

“Actually, no, I don’t speed. I stick to 55 mph,” Jay grinned.

“Oh, you’re THAT one,” the cyclist began.

I interrupted him, “Yes, and it saves lots of gas that way.”

The young man turned and grinned at me, diverted from his rant. “That’s true! Especially if you drive a Prius! Do you have a Prius? What do you drive?”

I shook my head, and Jay spoke. “We don’t have a car at the moment.”

This was beyond the cyclist’s comprehension. “What do you mean? How did you get here?”

“We walked,” Jay grinned.

“You walked.” The cyclist sounded impatient again. “Where did you walk from?”

Oh, how we love that question! Jay’s grinned broadened as he gave our favorite one word answer. “Mexico.”

“What?!!” The cyclist turned towards me. I nodded vigorously. “Well, I am impressed,” he conceded.

Jay, pressing our advantage, explained more. “This is the Pacific Crest Trail, 2,640 miles from Mexico to Canada. It was planned and built for hikers and equestrians. You see, there are so few trails reserved just for walkers. People come from all over the world to walk the PCT. It’s kind of like a sanctuary to us. When we see a bicycle tearing down the trail, it ruins the experience.”

The cyclist slowly edged his bicycle around us. “Well, I just moved here. I’ve never heard of the Pacific Rim Trail. But now I know.”

“There’s lots of dirt roads in this area,” I contributed helpfully. “You can ride for miles on them.”

“Well, thanks. Good luck on your hike.” The cyclist prepared to push off.

“Take care,” we replied, parting amicably. Maybe we had helped one cyclist think a bit.

April 30, 2018

Today much of the trail wound around the hillsides, taking sharp corners and carrying us across steep, slippery slopes.

At one point, the terrain flattened, and the trail meandered between groves of live oak trees accented with green grass and small bushes.

Jay and I were enjoying the change of pace, when suddenly we saw two bicycles headed towards us on the path. We spread out, hoping to slow the cyclists and talk with them.

I was ahead of Jay, so I held out my hands in the classic ‘stop’ signal. The cyclists did slow down, and the second man actually got off his bike. The first man just steered slowly around me, since the trail wasn’t steep at that point.

“Do you know where you are?” I asked the first man, turning as he passed me.

“Yeah, we’re on the PCT,” the man replied.

“Bicycles are not allowed here,” I exclaimed indignantly. I turned to the second man as he approached. “There are places on this trail where it is very dangerous for bicycles to meet hikers,” I tried to explain.

“I’m just following my friend,” the man said apologetically as he walked his bike around me and mounted again. “He says we only have another mile before hooking up with a road again.”

Just then I heard the first cyclist telling Jay, “Hey, I’ve done a lot of trail maintenance out here.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Jay replied, but it was a futile effort, the man was already past, heading down the trail.

Jay and I felt frustrated from this encounter. The first man knew he was breaking the rules and did it anyway! I wanted to tell him, “So you’re being a jerk by not having the courtesy of listening to us, AND you’re being an idiot by cycling here when you know the rules!” But I suppose calling him names wouldn’t have helped anything. Regarding the second man, Jay later thought of an appropriate quote from the TV show, Lonesome Dove. “You ride with him, you hang with him!”

We’ll keep trying to be cordial and informative. We don’t want to be judgemental, we want to help others see the hiker point of view.

Much of the PCT is not conducive or safe for sharing with wheeled vehicles!

P.S. If you are a mountain biker, know that I think there is a place and time for that exciting sport. But if you are a mountain biker who feels that you have a right to be on the PCT, well, you do … just leave your bike at home!

Westward with the Silver Moccasin

April 24, 2018

The PCT has taken a westward turn, and joined the Silver Moccasin Trail at Vincent Gap on Hwy 2. Named in 1942 by the Boy Scouts of America, this trail was created and used first by Native Americans, then settlers. This section of the PCT, in 1968, became a new designation of an old trail.

Mt Baden-Powell was our first event of the day. Named for Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, the trail took us to 9,399 feet in elevation, using gently sloping switchbacks.

Near the top, a delightful sight greeted us. A 1,500 year old limber pine, named for another Boy Scout, Wally Waldron, stood on the edge of the final ridge leading to the peak of the mountain.

Roots exposed, this ancient tree inspires awe!

On the top, we met Kristof, a PCT hiker from Germany.

“Isn’t this incredible?” I asked. “Sunshine, no wind, a view for miles. What do you think of this mountain?”

“Yes, it’s nice,” Kristof’s face was reserved. “But it is too…” his hands waved as he groped for the correct word. “Not clear.”

“Hazy,” I suggested.

“Smoggy,” Jay supplied.

We looked again at the view. Los Angeles was somewhere out there. But we had no expectations of seeing the city. We were just glad to be above the smog, happy in the crystal air.

On top of Mt Baden-Powell with incredibly beautiful weather!

The Boy Scouts placed a monument on top of the mountain with a quote from Lord Baden-Powell. Upon reading the words, I thought, ‘If only all children could learn in this way! And what a cool description of the inner workings and learnings of a thru-hiker!’

The Scout training is effected by encouraging the boy through his own enthusiasm to develop himself as an efficient citizen, to create his own character and his individual self-discipline from within. This is education.

-Robert Baden-Powell, July 4, 1916

The trail continued up and down along ridges for many miles. Near dinner time, we came to Little Jimmy Spring, a welcome source of clear, cold water.

Little Jimmy Spring

Soon after the spring, Jay stopped and pointed to several white-headed woodpeckers checking tree trunks for their own dinner!

Our last mountain of the day, Mt Williamson, set over-worked muscles to protesting. As we climbed, we were enchanted to see manzanita bushes, heavy with flowers, lining the path. Each set of bushes hosted a pair of hummingbirds, busy flitting in and out between branches and blossoms.

As evening tiptoed towards night, we found a flat spot on a small ridge edge halfway down Mt Williamson. A beautiful end to a very long and eventful day.

Home for the night!

P.S. Many people have commented on my shoes while hiking. However, when a hummingbird buzzed my feet today, I had to admit – perhaps these shoes are a bit bright!

April 25, 2018

We hiked through several elevations today, too high and dry for many flowers, but saw different pine trees, each kind in its own elevation niche.

bigcone Douglas-fir
Jeffrey pine
Coulter pine
Pinyon pine
Sugar pine

April 26, 2018

Today was notable for three large black and yellow butterflies (perhaps a type of swallowtail), a spotted towhee, a lizard willing to pose for the camera, and many beautiful wildflowers.

April 27, 2018

We chose to eat breakfast at a clearing on a hillside. While there, a hummingbird with an electric green back hovered in front of us, switching its tail back and forth, wings a blur of motion. We watched, enchanted, as it hovered for a few seconds, then darted away.

At lunch time, we stopped in the shade of an enormous live oak tree. A raven sat above us, making rhythmic sounds, not croaks or caws, just noises. Jay said it sounded like temple blocks. I felt we were being entertained with a percussion concert!

Sometime today I realized that the PCT was no longer sharing space with the Silver Moccasin Trail. In fact, the two trails had diverged at Three Points, several miles ago. I did enjoy feeling as if we were sharing Scouting history while the trails had been joined.

This evening we camped in Mattox Creek Canyon, on a flat sandbar. No water in the creek, but many birds and trees made this a lovely campsite. A couple from Germany, Thomas and Katrin, chose a nearby sandbar for their tent.

Two ravens had a great deal to say as we put up our tent and ate dinner. I’m sure they were commenting on the possibilities of stealing food from that group of two-leggers! As the evening progressed (and no food for birds materialized), the two ravens flew high above us, playing with the winds coming off the canyon rim. As I brushed my teeth, I watched shadows creep up the canyon wall while birds called good night.