Coming out of Vasquez Rocks, we hit the town of Agua Dulce and a 3 mile road walk. Road walking is not my favourite: cars and bikes roaring by, nothing to see, and the soles of my feet turning into hamburger quicker.
Eventually the trail wound into green brushy hills. The trail is visible in hillsides that are otherwise unbroken green. The initial climb was irritating my right ankle where I had rolled it during the negotiations with the poodle dog bush. It is a problem on uphill sections where my right foot is the downhill foot. I’ve also noticed that my pack is causing issues on my left shoulder. I think it is because I have cinched the belt around my waist which is now smaller and my pack is riding higher so the straps are pulling on my shoulders. I need to take a photo so I can do some engineering works on it at the next town stop.
We reconvened at a water source and various stops during the afternoon but hiked individually for most of the day. I put the music back on and enjoyed the climbs in the sun. We decided to head for the Andersons’ home in Green Valley where they host hikers each year. They are famed for being laid back and welcoming, providing taco salad and hugs. We weren’t disappointed. The hikertrash lounging in the front yard gave a round of applause as we jumped down from our ride, and several people pointed us at Hawaiian shirts and ice chests. It was nice to catch up with FM who had left Acton slightly before us, and Velcro who I haven’t seen since Big Bear. He’s got shin splints so he’s resting up here for a bit. I also caught up with Windscreen, who I don’t think I’ve seen since Warner Springs! Nice crowd to run into.
We took our tents into the back yard where we found a forest! The manzanita trees made for a fairylike vibe, and we saw several tents and cowboy camps set up in the small clearings dotted here and there. We pitched opposite GoalTech who is doing the Tehachapi to Vasquez Rocks section southbound. He is handing out trail magic to all the northbounders he sees, and gave me a Starbucks Via pack so I can have a much improved coffee one morning on trail. He has good info on the water and trail closure north of here, so we should all be able to plan a bit better tomorrow.
Out in front of the Andersons’ house, the hikertrash had congregated in anticipation of taco salad. Terrie wielded a two by four to keep people in line whilst helping themselves to food, but really they have very few rules. Rule 1, “don’t be a dick” sort of covers it, so they don’t really need any more than that. It’s a nice atmosphere, people lounging, a stereo playing music and people singing and dancing along, food and drink, and welcoming hosts. Best of all it is barely possible to hear the noise from more than 10m down the street, way closer than any of the neighbours. Hikers are generally respectful folk, I’m finding. The ones that aren’t don’t last long out here.
Camping: mile 478 the Andersons’ Casa de Luna/Hippie Daycare