The views from last nights spot are amazing. Had a good nights sleep and awoke to StormTrooper sleeping in a bit. He’s oddly happy with his spot.
I pull down the tent and pack for the journey to Mikes Place. StormTrooper gets motivated and is packed around the same time. I’ve been regaling him with stories of “Desert People”. Today he gets to meet some of them first hand. He’s not sure what he’s in for, but pretty excited. He will not be disappointed.
We walk together through some easy terrain to 127.3. There it is a small side trail past the water tanks to Mike’s Place. We walk in and are greeted by Waters and Medicine Man who are taking a couple of zeros there. The caretaker is out so Waters shows us around. We grab a couple warm beers and join them on the shady back deck to relax and chat.
Medicine Man is a 60 something experienced hiker who is laid up with a foot injury. He is awaiting a ride from Waters friend tomorrow after which he will heal up and meet Waters back on the trail further North. These two are pretty interesting guys. Waters is retired Air Force who is doing logistics consulting for the armed services. He’s the contractor who helps set up bases in various armpits of the world. Medicine Man is Navy who spent his later years in electronic warfare systems for the navy’s AEGIS destroyers and cruisers. We spend the afternoon geeking out on various war stories.
Spirit was the last caretaker and did a pretty good job of running the place. Well Spirit left the day before we arrived and handed it over to a “friend” of his. The guys keep warning me that this gal, Alice, is an odd one. They are not kidding. When she turns up later in the morning with half-assed supply run, she starts running around barking semi-coherent requests about cleaning the place up, cooking breakfast with a handful of eggs and some random veggies, while saying how much she loves you. Her jeans keep falling off her waist revealing a unflattering view of her wrinkly emancipated butt crack.
Through trial and error I learned how to stay mostly out of her focus, so I can carry on my chat with my new friends on the back deck. So we have a decent afternoon chatting with occasion interruptions from Alice. My tipping point is reached around 3pm when she thrusts 3 potatoes into my hands and asks me to make dinner. I pass that one off to Bryan and Gourmet who are more enthusiastic.
I have to give StormTrooper credit, he hangs out taking it all in. He mostly hangs with the younger folks and gets extra duty with Alice’s Meth induced visions of order. Joe, a psychiatrist, is not so lucky. Joe asks Alice too many questions after which she lights him up calling him Mr Inquisitive. Joe runs away trying to join my group, but Alice follows him maniacally shouting obscenities. Exit Joe. I’ll never know his clinical assessment.
Bryan and Gourmet managed to make their evening meal which is a soup made from the 3 potatoes, a few other vegatables, and a half-eaten chicken they boiled to make broth. It taste like good effort…..I make a Mountain House on my stove. Bryan seems bummed at my decision.
At 4, Storm and I decided we’ve had enough fun. I’ve been working him on the idea that this next stretch sucks and that we need to night hike it. There is little water and what little there is will taste like ass or worse. Think dead varmints floating in a dirty pit. He’s game, but the other folks in our loose group are unconvinced. They want to do 5 to 8 miles more and camp.
He and I pull out, passing Anthony and Bryan who have picked up a couple of stray gals (Amy and Powerbutt). They seem to want to stay together so Storm and I leave them behind. The hike through the remaining daylight is uneventful. We pass Vincent who is camping around 130 and hang out with some French gal around 8 while making some dinner. After that we are on headlamps.
Night hiking through the desert is one of the best parts of hiking Southern California, in my opinion. The temps are cool but not cold. The sky is clear with tons of stars. It is super quiet. Plus you run into a bunch of weird critters doing there night desert thing. We saw a huge jack rabbit that we followed with our headlamps for a bit. I came over a ridge and spotlighted a set of orange eyes looking at us from a bolder. It ran off making some kind of screetching sound (it was probably a bobcat, not sure). Then there was this guy.
This stupid bird was sitting in on the trail and would not move. I squatted down like 12 inches away and the thing starts hissing at me. Wow. That bird had some stones. It was the size of an orange acting like it owned the trail. We finally nudged it and it flew away.
Later in the evening a heavy helicopter flies by at low altitude shining a spot light on the trail and surrounding hillsides. We shut our headlamps off and just watched it for a while. Never found out what that was all about. Like I said, night hiking is awesome !!!
Around 11, I was nearing the end of my tank. I was stumbling way to much and generally getting sloppy with my foot and pole placement. We still had another 4 miles to go for our goal and I knew Storm really wanted it. Hell I wanted it. So I took a few more breaks, ate a bunch of trail mix, and pulled on the body reserves. Actually speeded up a bit for the last ups and downs making 145.4’s water cache a little after Midnight. We found a spot near the water tank, setup and went to sleep. I got my 25 miler today, Hell Ya!