Hello again, writing to you from the start of the Mojave desert section at Hikertown, yet another trail angel/ hostel that, in traditional Southern California fashion, is totally quirky. The establishment is owned and operated by a man who, like many people in the are, works in the television industry. As such, it looks something like a movie set, with a large courtyard area surrounded by small theme-ish buildings. Everything is kind of half built and haphazard, like it was thrown up with little plan or order to it, and tools are randomly strewn throughout the place. A little wierd, but hey, it gets the job done. Oh, and there are baby kittens, which obviously makes this a must-stop place for the night.
Its sort of like an oasis for hikers in the middle of the desert, given that there has been very little water for the last few days. After leaving Casa de Luna, the trail climbs into some low hills overlooking the desert, but is surprisingly well shaded with trees and long grass. Several of the water resupply tanks placed along the trail were dry and I, along with the other hikers I've been travelling with, were almost caught unaware. Only a little used tank had enough water to draw from which thankfully saved me from having to hike into the night to refill.
Unfortunately the trail leading down to the desert is one of the most oft maligned on the trail; it is forcedfto take a hugh turn around a ranch, resulting in many additional miles through poorly marked scrub up and down hot, shadeless hills. All with the ultimate goal seemlingly so close it is ridiculous. Sigh. For now everyone seems to be content resting for the remainder of the day before setting off to cross the desert tomorrow. I have been trying to arrange some trail maintinence work that would eat up a few days, and 2 of the older hikers here now, Handyman and Bruce, both live in the area and have offered to take us off trail for awhile in order to buy us time before the Sierras. All the reports we've been getting say the snow is just as bad as ever and a June 12th start date is the earliest people should be attempting the climb, but seeing as I could concievably be there in about 10 days, I might just try and force my way through earlier. Seeing as Bruce owns a boat in Santa Barbara, however, taking a trip to the coast doesn't seem like a bad idea. Only time will tell I suppose. Talk to you later, as always.