Miles: 21
Camping: PCT mile 245
Hikers seen on trail: 8

If the places we end up keep getting stranger, I think we’ll be on Mars by June. We woke up in our orchard at 5:15 and drowsily limped down the road to Hiker town. My blisters were screaming and not allowing me to walk a normal stride. All I wanted was food and more sleep, but walking is the only way to get things done, and I was too close at that point to hitch. If nothing else, I’m getting stronger, and eventually the blister days will be but a memory.

Immediately upon arriving at Hikertown, a man came out of what looked like the only actual residence there. He asked where we were from and what we did there. He only seemed to be interested in Ninja’s answer, but that was fine with me. I was too busy taking in the interesting surroundings. The whole place looked like a mini town of the old west, with a post office, sheriff, city hall, doctors office, etc. Some of these buildings housed cats or chickens, and some actually had beds for us to use. It was a $5 donation to use the facilities, which included laundry and a cold shower. There was also a litter of 11 2 week old puppies! Holy cuteness!

Several other hikers were there as well, and we were offered a ride to the store/restaurant 3 miles up the road by the man from the house. The store wasn’t open when we arrived, so we were put in a large office to wait. There were pictures of the man who gave us the ride with celebrities (cool one’s like Al Pacino), and it turns out he worked for a production agency on films like Scarface and Goodfellas. Very cool!

Once the store opened we all ordered breakfast burritos and were told to take what we wanted, but just save the wrappers to ring in later. We all took nice cool beverages from the coolers and shared a pack of mini donuts while our food cooked. It was nice to eat hot breakfast, but with only 3 hours of sleep I wanted to get a nap in ASAP.

That I did in the “doctor’s office,” until the heat of the day made it impossible to sleep. We all spent the rest of the afternoon in couches and chairs in a hiker lounge, playing with puppies, listening to music and trading food until it was cool enough to hike.

Around 5, a group of us headed out to hit the aqueduct, a 10+ mile section walking along LA’s water source. It is kind of cool knowing that we are headed to the source, soon we won’t have to worry about water as much. For now though, we walk 17 waterless miles atop a flowing river encased in concrete.

After walking the aqueduct and dirt road under the stars, we were suddenly surrounded by windmills. They were large and humming structures waving giant arms against the night. We were growing very tired as real midnight approached (hiker midnight is 9pm). Finally, we saw 4 of our friends lining up to cowboy camp beneath the machines and we rolled out next to them. Crackerjack, Landfill, Stampede, Cheeseburger, Ninja and I; under the stars, under the windmills, over the moon.