Sunrise over Joshua Trees.
170th Street turns to dirt
as we head toward
Cottonwood Creek to
rendevous with the PCT.
Finally up off the desert floor,
we survey our night's work.
170th Street is visible below us
as a very faint stripe down the
center of the picture.
"Man, I am ready for
some shut-eye" says
25 rocks on the Tyvek oughta
hold it down...we hope.
We rose from our nap after a couple of hours and continued.
The road had become narrower and narrower and eventually pavement turned to dirt and our path began to rise up gradually from the desert floor as dawn approached. After what seemed like forever, we linked back up with the PCT.
Sometime during the night, two things had happened. First, we had crossed from L.A. County into Kern County and secondly, we had reached the 500 mile milestone in our hike. (-shortcut miles + detour miles) As we reached the next water source, we celebrated with what else but some Crystal Light and sang (cornily) "I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the man who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your door."
I'm not sure about the next 500 miles, but the falling down at the door part sounded accurate, especially this morning. After only 2 hours of sleep, we were bushed, but the morning was already turning hot and we needed to get up and out of the desert.
We continued walking eventually rising to a spot with a great view of the entire desert and beyond. We stood looking back over our night's work. During the recent weeks of our trip, we had been afforded numerous opportunities to look out over the Mojave, but always looking north, seeing what would come and wondering about it. Now, facing south, we could trace our path back across the desert and through the Sierra Pelona, the San Gabriels, Cajon Pass and the San Bernardinos. Our minds took us back further, reviewing our steps all the way back to the Mexican border. It seemed incredible to me that my two feet had brought me all the way here, but they had.
It was time to continue hiking. We only had 6 miles to go to a place with water and shade, but the heat, shadeless trail and our fatigue from the previous night's journey made the trip seem endless. When I was convinced I could not walk one more step, we arrived at pretty Tylerhorse Canyon containing a tiny stream. We found a shady spot and lay down for a long day of napping, eating and rejuvenating.
In the evening, our bodies and spirits mended, we decided to walk 5 miles further. During the afternoon, strong winds had come up and the air was cooler. We hiked until dusk and could not find a single flat spot. Finally we found one right on an unprotected ridge. The wind had increased and I thought all our things might blow over the ridge as we set up camp. At least there would be no mosquitoes. [In recent weeks Amy has impressed upon me the importance of sleeping in areas with ABSOLUTELY no mosquitoes. -Scott] As we lay there, the lights of Palmdale and Lancaster spread out before us in the dark night were the last sights we saw before falling into a deep sleep. (We are always looking at the lights of Palm Something, aren't we?)