Mile 444 To 462
The KOA is full of cub scouts and boy scouts. Last night was their loud movie night, projected on a giant sheet and definitely cranked to 11. The grass area is full of thru-hikers who normally go to sleep with the sun. It is funny watching the party age beer drinkers grousing about being kept up past their bedtime by a bunch of 8 year olds.
It has been very hot and I want to beat the heat up the big climb. I start packing up in the last of the setting moonlight. I make instant coffee and chomp on the last slice of cold pizza. It is delicious. As I pack up my stove, I notice a stream of ants on the table. What are they doing? They appear to be headed towards the pizza box. When I shine my light on the pizza, I see a massive crowd of angry ants wondering what monster just ate half their friends? I remember the time my brother Rob ate ant infested Almond Roca. We laughed and laughed about that. Somehow this time is not quite so funny. Todd tries to give me the trail name “Anteater,” which I graciously decline.
Leaving the KOA we pass the PCT golden spike monument. I guess this is where the final trail connection was made. On the way up the hill I keep hearing strange haunting sounds, but not clearly enough to know if they are coming from down in the valley, or just in my head. Todd reminds me there is some wild animal shelter and they even have Michael Jackson’s old leopards or similar cats. He said he thought the noise was the animals being fed, or someone playing adult videos way too loud.
We hike under Highway 14 and through and around the amazing Vasquez Rocks. If not on a mission, this is definitely a place to rock scramble on massive tilted formations.
In Agua Dulce I have a great meal, resupply food, then chill at the grocery store for about 4 hours in front of the no loitering sign. It is just way too hot to hike, and being well below the tree line, there is no shade in sight. At 4:00 pm. I start to hike. It is still hot, but not like it was at 1:00 pm. Several hours of walking later, I crash at the top of a ridge, where about a half dozen other thru-hiker’s are huddled. It may be my last cell service for a while. I do not even cook, but just eat bars and globs of peanut butter. I try to sleep, cowboy style, under the full moon.