out of the vortex

Day 36

With last night's festivities, we woke up late, tired, and groggy. We had a grand ol' night, but were happy we turned in before everyone else, because we couldn't have imagined being in any worse shape to hike in! The Andersons sure do know how to make a hiker feel at home.

We packed up, got some breakfast, and sat around with everyone waiting for a chance to get a ride to the trail. Around noon, Terrie gave us a ride to the trailhead, and we were off once again.

It was nice being with a pack of hikers, hanging out and relaxing, but we are happy to be back on the trail and once again hiking North.

The day was overcast and cool, and with clouds threatening to rain-- we were happy it hasn't (yet... Cross your fingers!). The best part about today? We broke 500 miles! Yippee! Next mile marker will be in a few hundred when we have less than 2,000 to go.

Tonight we rest soundly and prepare for the Mojave Desert ahead. We could see the low, flat, desolate desert over the mountains, and all I could think of is the voice of the desert calling out "I'm waiting for you".

--Ian

slack pack, shin dig extravaganza

Day 35

Waking up a little groggy, everyone shuffled into the living room for some pancakes and coffee. We all sat around watching Jon Stewart rip up the new presidential candidates, downing cup after cup of caffeine.

Eventually, it was time for a slack pack! It sounds strange, but it's a simple concept. For people like the Andersons, keeping hikers happy and well-fed at your house is a goal. In order for us not to hike away without a second night, Terrie drove us ten miles north with some small day packs, so we left our big packs at the house. Walking south back towards the house we were able to move quickly and enjoy the day.

With the house bustling with about 25 hikers at any given moment we were feeling tired by the time we returned in the late afternoon.

Enjoying our new friends and some more taco salad we had a few beers and called it an early night as the festivities continued.

It's easy to see why people stay here when they get here. But for us the trail continues to call our name and tomorrow we will set back out again. We are a two day hike from the southern terminus of the great Mojave Desert!

- Andy