May 24, 2019
Running total: 567.3
Today was the dreaded LA aqueduct day- miles upon miles (an estimated 17?) of walking on flat land/cement OVER the LA aqueduct through the Mojave desert with no water access for 18 miles!! Historically people opt to cover this section overnight to avoid the high temps (90’s-100’s!), blazing sun, and lack of shade & water. Weeks ago Matt and I had talked about night hiking through the Mojave section, and yet today we tackled it in the middle of the day! We were blessed with temps in the 60’s-70’s with partly cloudy skies and a nice, cool breeze for the entire day!
And then…the aqueduct. You can only actually see the water in the first little section
And then, pipes.
And then, cement.
I could totally see how the aqueduct section plays mind games with people- first, it’s completely flat, which is a nice change from the climbs and descents for, like, 5 miles- BUT, after miles upon miles of the same, flat terrain with the same cement road, it can get very monotonous. Then, add in the heat and water factor: typically you’re walking in 100° temps under the blistering sun with no shade for respite (hence the sun umbrellas we have carried for over 500 miles and never used!!), AND you’re bloody thirsty but can only humanly carry so much water- and you can HEAR the friggin water underneath you but can’t get to it! I’d go mad!
Even with the amazing temps and occasional clouds, I felt like I was sleep walking. I was psyched when Big Momma texted to coordinate a break spot- Matt and I had 1.7 miles to go before second breakfast/first lunch!
Another car soon passed and slowed. Disheartened from Mr. Jehovah’s Witness I didn’t think much of it, but it turns out the man was checking to make sure we had enough water! He was also wondering if the trail magic was out yet- he was bringing more ice for the cooler! He asked how our hike was going and offered us a beer before carrying on.
The Joshua Trees were so cool! And we officially completed 20% of the trail!
We met up with Arc, Big Momma, and others (including Joe Dirt, Chief Lizard, Bambi, & Uno Socko- who looks so much like my cousin John that he started answering to “Cousin John”) for second lunch at our first water source of the day. It was a welcomed break before the last 6.6 miles of the day, which included about 2000ft of elevation gain. In talking to everybody at the water source, most people were planning to camp where we had wanted to, where according to our app there were only enough spots for 5 tents…this was gonna get interesting!!
The last 2 miles were pretty steep, but we were rewarded with beautiful views…and as we neared the canyon we planned to camp in, views of a ton of tents below! I saw a spec that resembled Arc, so from above I called out to her asking if there was room for us. With the thumbs up, we finished up the day with a descent down into the canyon with Big Momma, rolling into camp around 7:15pm.
Happiness is: the weather finally working out in our favor!!