As planned Peaks, Rocky and I were ready to hit the trail early. We are still planning for a 30 miler. The sun was just starting to rise as we approached the canal portion of the aqueduct and its reflection on the water was stunning. Each time I get to watch the sunrise out here is a gift. I love how it transforms the ordinary and at times it’s wonderfully overwhelming.
We all too quickly passed the waterway and started to walk literally on top of the LA aqueduct. At first it felt so exciting but all too soon it became too long. Along the aqueduct they had spiney rivets that were near impossible to avoid. I tried walking beside it but the sand was too soft.
As the aqueduct went underground, we soon found ourselves presented with 2 options to walk on a compacted gravel or a cemented roadway. At first it was nice to have options but all too soon it too was feeling too long. I would switch from cement to gravel and back but found the the flat terrain was the problem. To date, we have become accustomed to thousands of feet of elevation change several times a day and this was FLAT! We passed by numerous Joshua Trees, many of which were flowering and we learned that the trees to produce a sweet fruit that is edible. Thanks to Peaks’ love for technology we knew by a beep each mile that had passed and our pace constantly throughout the day. 17 miles in was our first water source where we took our second break for the day and it was starting to warm up. The next source was uphill in 6.6 miles but I still carried 2 liters of water, I have this strange anxiety of running out of water especially our here. What if the next source was dry?? I knew it wasn’t, but what if? We then walked among the wind turbines which are massive as the trail got you up close and personal with them. It was slow going and soon felt too long as well, thankfully there was wind and clouds intermittently as this whole stretch has no shade. At the next water source I was determined to set mini goals to get myself to the 30 mile mark and to prevent the this is too long from developing.
The next 3.5 miles were rolling ups and downs but after 23+ miles, sometimes the elevation gain felt more extreme. I made it to 27.5 miles, but at this point the trail started to show more signs of erosion and a missed step could become treacherous. The next campsite according to Halfmile and Guthooks would require hiking 4 more miles and gaining nearly 2,000 feet of elevation for at total of 31.4 miles. Given the degree of erosion in the last few miles and from what I could see of the trail going up, it was apparent that I would be dealing with similar conditions and I didn’t want to risk it as it would soon be dark. When Peaks and Rocky arrived they felt the same so we set up camp. I felt very satisfied even though I didn’t hit my goal of 30 miles. Another time perhaps.
We all ate dinner together commiserating on how sore our feet were and feeling proud of our perfected hiker hobble.