Day 43- Vortexed in the Twilight Zone

Hikertown is definitely a unique place along the trail. Located at PCT mile 517.6 where the trail crosses highway 138, it was an old movie set for westerns- complete with store fronts, a schoolhouse and a post office. Of course none of these were functional buildings, just flat surfaces for show. When the current owner purchased the property, his wife noticed some “vagrants” at their outdoor water spigot so he spoke with them. Learning that the “vagrants” were actually hikers on the PCT, the property owners decided to upgrade the old set into actual buildings and provide a place for hikers to stay the night.

The rooms they created are essentially just basic sheds attached to each storefront, a window without a screen in one wall, and a hole drilled in the side with an extension cord run through it for electricity. When we showed up yesterday, we wandered around for a few minutes, unsure where to go or who to talk to. Eventually someone came out and we got a room -the schoolhouse- for the night. It was clean enough and we didn’t mind all sharing the king-sized as long as everyone could get a shower to remove the stench of hikertrash.

We asked about showers and were handed 1/4 of a bath towel and directed to a fence line a good distance from the main compound in a field. There was a showerhead mounted on a pole next to a chain-link fence with a piece of astroturf strapped to the fence for “privacy” and a plastic chair nearby. This was our shower? We sucked it up- I mean, it’s better than a week’s worth of dirt, grime and sweat, right?

Unknown critter on the bathroom wall at Hikertown

There were no laundry facilities around and no tub to soak our clothes so we threw everything that needed washed (so everything we had) on the plastic chair while we all showered. We were so dazed by the situation that we didn’t think about what we would wear after our shower while our clothes dried, so we looked like hobos in a random combination of spare underwear and rain gear for hours while our clothes sat in the sun on a fence.

Jailbreak’s GOOD foot

Once we were dressed like somewhat normal people again, we started looking for a ride to “town”. The people who own Hikertown also own a gas station with a shop and a restaurant and our hiker hunger was fierce. We looked around the compound and found a familiar face- trail angel Forklift who had brightened our day with trail magic before Casa de Luna. He gave us a ride to the store/cafe/gas station and stuck around to have lunch with us. Today’s word of the day was “calories” and we all ended up doing pushups on the cafe floor, causing much confusion.

Waiting for it to cool off behind the cafe

We grabbed some groceries for a quick resupply (very expensive for what it was) and lounged out back through the heat. Our plan was to get a ride back to the trail in the early evening and hike the LA Aqueduct overnight to avoid the scorching heat without shade.

When the time came, we called Hikertown for a ride and they said they were on their way. We waited and waited but no ride. Finally someone showed up just to tell us that they couldn’t drive us back because they had to take a hiker to the hospital. They told us someone else would come by soon so we waited some more. It was getting late so we ordered food for dinner but the kitchen was so slow that the food didn’t come out until well after the cafe closed. A ride showed up about the same time as our food and we got back to Hikertown after dark, crabby and hungry with our food in boxes.

We were so discombobulated that we just stayed a second night- our room hadn’t even been cleaned yet so our trash bag and bundle of sheets was still there, the key still in the door. The various stray cats followed us in to welcome us back and we groggily ate our food before making hard plans to leave in the early morning. How are we back here??

Miles: 0 (stuck in Hikertown)

Hiked with: n/a

Camped with: Bandaid, Jailbreak


    • Yes it was most certainly NOT what I expected, especially indoors! Fortunately I am well aware of what a midnight cat trampling feels like, keeping that kitty from being flung across the room.


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