Wow, I can’t believe how many days it has been since I posted a travel story – my best excuse – I was out of range most of that time.
So, for those who didn’t see my facebook page here are a few stats:
I push a cart of 75-90 pounds depending on how much food and water is on the cart.
I started my walk 13 days ago at sea level
Since then I have walked 60 miles
The highest point I walked on my way to Acton was approximately 3258 ft
I am currently at elevation 2710 ft.
We left off in Newhall when I had made my illegal, but quite well hidden camp. In front of me that morning was another long hill, and I continued my dogged progression up it. I had started setting a goal at the bottom of the hill which was either Steps of 20, 30, 40 or 50. Essentially taking that many steps, then a break, a zip of water and another set of steps. When I had looked at google earth with my walk I had not seen all these significant hills, but I think I should have known. I was essentially traveling through the California foot hills. And this day became not just 1 hill, but 2 hills, and the second hill was without a doubt the worst I had so far seen.
I had already started my regime of getting up with the birdies, hitting the road at day break, and taking a long 5+ hour break at 10-11 in the morning, just to walk a few more hours after 3-4 pm, to avoid that midday heat. Today’s walk took me in to Canyon Country and Friendly Valley. This was pure, unadulterated suburbia, and I am sure a very high percentage of these folks worked in LA. What really struck me as I was walking through this area around the time for my noon time break I wanted a decent lunch, and found a lot of eateries – every single one of them chains and / or fastfood. Sheesh! Subway is always an option, and so it was.
That evening finding a spot to sleep was a bit of a challenge. I was still deep in suburbia, but really only 1-2 miles away from leaving the built up areas. I found a spot by a dried up river bed on the “wrong” side of the freeway, it was exceptionally hidden, at least in the dark.
The next morning continued with more long and tall hills. I finally got out of suburbia and into something that was much more “wilderness”. The hills remained murderous tall, but I was starting to do more steps of 30 or even steps of 50. By 9:30 I was incredibly sore and exhausted. When I saw an amazing little green oasis in the middle of the arid desert and realized it was an RV park, I simply couldn’t pass up the option for some shady, grassy rest. Into the RV park I asked for permission to rest, and it was given right away. After a few hours of snoozing a lady came and asked me if I wanted to swim in their cold water river basin, and btw, they were planning a chicken bbq for later if I wanted to join them. She didn’t have to ask me twice! That day became a half day walking as I had a marvelous time with this huge family living in the RV park. Limited connectivity meant that my book really got enjoyed as I completely relaxed and got away from the bustle of the city.
The next morning started with yet another big hill up. After about 30 minutes of warming up something happened. I realized it was no longer steps of 30, but rather steps of 50, 60 or even 75. Yay Me! My stamina was building. My noon day break was under these delicious shady trees, and I was completely out of phone range. Relaxing with my book was such a treat as I read and dozed. I had a great excuse to not work on trip planning, route planning or couch surfing, not to mention blogging, facebooking or picture editing – I was out of range!! This afternoon I knew I wouldnt completely reach Acton, but I wanted to get within a half day’s walk from it, so I pushed myself as hard as I could. Those hills though, man, those hills never seemed to end. I got within a 1/2 mile of my goal for the afternoon when I realized I was absolutely, truly, 100% beat, and a little worried about the ache in my lower back, so I started to look for a camping spot. Of course, there wasn’t anything even remotely “right” that I could find. Finally, I pulled over at a break spot in the road and sank down on my pack, absolutely exhausted. It wasn’t an ideal camping spot, but if I set up after dark, behind some stones I probably wouldn’t be spotted. So there I sat, exhausted and a little dejected by the lack of hiding spots, and so, so, so sore. When a car pulled up. A really nice lady asked if I was ok. She had seen me walking the road when going to work that morning, and here I was again. I told her what I was doing, and her first answer was “wow, how can I help?” I asked for a couch, and was instantly invited to spend the evening with her and her german shepards. I think I am regaining some trust in angels! Lisa and I had a fabulous night, although we talked till way too late in the evening. The next morning Lisa dropped me off at my pick up spot at around 8 am, before returning to work. I had about 5 miles before Acton and had set the goal of reaching it before my noon day break. Thank God Lisa had shown me a road to take that would avoid two HUGE hills, or I would not have made that goal. I dragged my sore, exhausted self into Acton at around 12:30, proud as punch I had made those hills, but God awful sore. I sank down on the nearest stone that functioned as a shady resting spot and just sat there contemplating that I was hungry and tired for a little while. Lisa had shown me a Sushi place a solid mile up the road, and that was my lunch goal. As I sat there so sore a nice spot across the street offering Mexican food offered a much closer option. I didn’t make the additional mile hike! After some food in me I started making phone calls and again relaxing with my book. My next host John picked me up at 4:30.
I stayed with John that night and yesterday doing trip planning, couch surfing requests and other out reach tasks. As well as fixing John’s computers and cooking a nice meal. I didn’t get everything I needed to do done, so it was an excuse to stay with John again today.
Tomorrow starts my trek to Victorville. It is a 60 mile trek, but except for the first half day it is mainly flat. I made my walk through the California foothills folks. Yes, it was with plenty of stops and sometimes in just steps of 30, but I did it! look for pictures coming up!