Mile 517 to 541
The door to my Hiker Town bungalow does not latch and the wind bangs it open and closed all night. I am just thankful not to be cowboy camping, with desert sand blowing all in my face. I get up early to take advantage of the kitchen. I make and consume 4 servings of four-cheese instant mashed potatoes for breakfast.
We leave Hiker Town before sunrise to walk the aqueducts. The first is open water and we wish we had a canoe. I chuckle at a warning sign that says I “may” drown. Apparently, after serious consideration, permission to drown has been granted.
The second is a buried pipe, which I hike directly on top of for miles and miles. Eventually I come to a sign painted on the pipe that warns it is under extreme pressure, stay 100 feet away. We are fenced in by local property owners and we could not be 100 feet away from the pipe if we wanted. We wonder if we may die from an explosion, or perhaps that permission paperwork is still being processed.
Although we are walking next to and directly on top of enough water for all of Southern California, we have no access to any of it. There used to be access holes where PCT hikers could lower a scooper, but those have all been sealed. Our next water source, a leaking plastic blue drum, is 16 miles away. Most of the hike is flat, through sandy aqueduct access roads, surrounded by shrubs and Joshua trees.
After getting water, we snack and sleep under a bridge in true hobo fashion. There are eight of us, and we look like a homeless encampment, minus the shopping carts. We are resting up for a big windy climb through a massive alternative energy windmill farm. Again there is a warning about no trespassing because of extremely dangerous wind turbines and underground power lines, and a special note saying open to PCT hikers. Apparently our permission to die has been granted here as well.
We stop to camp at a tiny trickle of oh so yummy seriously needs to be filtered water. There is no more water for the next 28 miles, unless someone has set up a cache, but those are difficult to count on. So I guess we may actually die.