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Begins: May 13, 2008
Date: Wed, Jun 11th, 2008
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What's in a Name?
Hike Town, USA-
In Lancaster just outside of Palmdale. Yes, I have had the Afroman song stuck in my head for days now. I’ve been with a group since the Saufleys’: Sleep Ninja, Cpt. Stick-Kicker (together they form the “Stash Bros”), PopTart, and his girlfriend ColorBlind. I believe we all decided to rest here during the day and pull an all-nighter tonight through the Mojave.
On Monday I rode into LA (actually, I drove) w/another group from the Saufleys’. I got back in touch with my recruiter, who still (after four days of notice) couldn’t give me a date for when I could swear in. So I told him that I was just gonna’ keep going, and we could try this again in Portland in a couple of months.
Tonight I plan to walk the furthest distance I’ve ever walked; thirty-five, maybe even forty miles. The conditions are right- flat and straight. For the first portion of the trail I’ll be following the LA aqueduct, which has certain places to get water. It used to be that you could just open it up, but they sealed it and installed faucets: LA’s contribution to anti-terrorism. Anyway, eventually the trail breaks away from the aqueduct and shoots for a highway. If I can do all forty miles tonight then by this time tomorrow I will be sleeping (hopefully in an air conditioned building) at my next re-supply: the town of Mojave.
So a couple of things happened yesterday. One, I made 500 miles; I am officially a real hiker. Two, I received a trail name: “Alabama Jammer”. Like the alcoholic beverage, but “J” instead of “SL”. I was given this name because of my tendency to jam out to myself while hiking. Singing out loud and whistling, that kind of thing. People always know when I’m near.
Hiker Town is pretty cool; it’s the last-chance stop before jumping on the aqueduct. I’ll take a picture. It consists of Old Western movie prop buildings.
My morale is great. I now know everybody immediately ahead of and immediately behind me. I can’t remember the last full day I’ve hiked without seeing at least one person I know. I definitely want to hike into the Sierras with somebody (or even a group) for safety and also just to have someone to share the first-hand experience with. Everyone has told me that the things you see in the Sierras are of the most powerful nature.
It feels really good to be out here. There is a real sense of pride I take in every step. If I can do this, what is left that is harder? When I figure that out I will have a new adventure.
I felt really sad leaving the Saufleys’. I felt like family there, and when I left I recognized the feeling (excited/sad) from when I left Alabama. I was grateful, though. Not just for the hospitality (which all hikers receive) but more for the company. Because there were so few hikers there I got a chance to really talk to the Saufleys. And I learned some incredible things from them. Also, everyone chipped in for dinner one night and we all sat down as a family and ate and talked: wonderful.
I skipped staying at the infamous Andersons’. They are much like the Saufleys in their generosity and goodwill to hikers, but with more of a party edge. I saw hikers there that seemed to have gotten that far and just settled in the back yard for daily parties. I didn’t meet the Andersons, because they had driven out in the middle of the desert to throw a hiker a birthday party (with an ice-cream-maker and everything). Their home is known as Casa de Luna- I’ll let your imagination figure that one out.
I finally got a chance to check out the online version of my journal. I was impressed- my sister has done a really good job. (thank you) I also noticed that what she edits and puts up in no way resembles what I actually write. For example, when I write “Blah blah scribble scribble *picture of an alligator biting a stick man* wiggle-line, blah” she translates it into a well-crafted, thoughtful piece of adventure-prose. This writing thing is easy as long as you have a good editor. I might have found my calling! J Seriously, tho’- ya’ll have no idea how inconsistent, chick-scribble, and confounding my journal entries are. She does a hell of a job. And probably spends more time editing than I do writing. (and this particular paragraph was in no way awkward for me to transcribe. Nope, not at all…)
Change of plans. ColorBlind says that if I hang back with them I am welcome to split a room. I am definitely going to take them up on that. They want to tackle the Mojave in two segments rather than in one all-nighter. Whatever: but mark my words- before this trip is over I will walk forty miles in one day with a load!
I need to get packed up and do some stretching. I miss everyone and I wish so dearly I could bring you all out here to experience these amazing things.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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