19 May Down Towards the Dust, Towards the Heat
It gets closer each day. At mile 430, we look down to the great flat expanse of the Mojave desert. The wind whips up violent dust devils and storms that we can see easily from 40 miles away. I look forward to facing those head on in a couple days.
Now though, we battle a different beast. We’re wading through a sea of poodle dog bush. Supposedly worse than poison oak, the stuff smells of cannibus and leans out over the trail reaching for you with its furry green leaves. I’ve accidentally brushed it a number of times and am just waiting and hoping nothing comes of it. I’d hate to explain, looking leprous, that I got “poodled”.
The going has been easy since leaving Wrightwood. Mostly downhill, Birdman and I had some key stops to increase enjoyment along the way. We tacked on a few extra miles to grab burgers, beers and a whiskey at Newcomb Ranch Inn, a sweet biker bar on Highway 2. After that, we cranked out another 10 mi on a whiskey wander.
We slowed down a few days to time a meet up with BirdMan’s significant other and get a lift to LA. I got some quality time with friends, ate some amazing Italian food, made an amazing trail mix from the farmers market, and got a Thai foot massage. It was the first full day without hiking and my feet needed it. That said, I was anxious today to get back to walking.
After being surrounded by familiar faces for a month on the trail, things have changed. Slowing down and taking a day off have put us behind all of the great people we’ve met. Tons of unfamiliar faces and names on the trail today. Wasn’t feeling very social but will make the effort tomorrow. If we can’t make up some time this will be the new herd we’re with.
Tomorrow we inch closer to the dusty hot flats of the desert and leave the poodle dog bush behind us. Agua Dulce on Tuesday. The Andersen’s on Thursday. And scorpion hunting through the Mojave after that.
Stay safe out there.