Day 41 – Hiker Town to Tyler Horse Canyon – 39kms

We always knew this day would be intense. We had all, especially Layers (now Princess Layer) has been worried about it. We got up at 3am at Hiker Town. None of us had slept very well. We packed up silently, surrounded by cowboy campers and snuck away within 30 minutes. I am feeling very excited about the adventure of walking at night, however this quickly wears off when I realise the length of the day ahead. 

Joshua Trees at Sunrise. 

The first 8km were walked in darkness. We head up a bitumen road that lead us across the desert floor until we reached the open LA aqueduct with the sounds of rushing water. We turned east and head along the aqueduct for a couple of km. The road walking is easy at night and there are large signs painted on the pavement for PCT hikers. The temperature is perfect and there is a slight breeze. We turn off our head torches and gaze at the stars. After a while, (distance and time is difficult to tell at night) we reach an intersection in the water channel. We turn north and walk on top of the aqueduct now covered in a large rust coloured mental pipe and partially submerged.


Enclosed metal pipe aqueduct. 


Bizarre structure in the middle of the Mojave. 

As we walk north the light begins in change. Joshua trees emerge on the horizon and we realise we are surrounded by them. We decide to stop and have breakfast where the pipe ends and our path turns east again. 

The sun rises and we follow the aqueduct which now appears to be fully submerged under a paved road. There are openings every so often where you can hear the sounds of rushing water, which is very bizarre in the dry hot desert. This is the most monotonous part of the day, we break for 40 mins in some shade at 8:30 and keep trekking.


Enclosed aqueduct.

At 9:30 the path diverts from the aqueduct down a dirt road and starts to climb. The weather is heating up and we find ourselves walking in the Manzana Wind Farm Project. At 11am the warmth is nearly excruciating and we reach Cottonwood Creek 27kms, where there is a bridge we can sit under for the heat of the midday sun. 


Manzana Wild Project.


Cottonwood Creek Bridge.

We hang out and doze under the bridge for 6 hours. There is a small Creek running to our surprise, which, according to a Canadian couple, was dry 30 minutes earlier. We think that maybe there is a dam upstream, however later on we are told that when the temperature changes in the mountains, they let out water which would otherwise be subterranean. At 1pm the stream stops flowing and at 5pm we decide it’s ok to walk again and head off for the last 7 miles. 


Manzana Wind Project in all its glory.

About a mile in I realise how exhausted I am. I feel a strange sensation where I can’t feel my body, and it feels slow and weak, but it keeps walking and I take it very slowly. The slow climb out of the desert floor slowly increases to a steep trudge. We climb 600m and look down over the first ridge and I see tents pitched around a small creek. I have never been this happy to reach camp!! It’s 8pm and we set up for our first cowboy camp. We are all emotionally exhausted and mechanically make our way into bed.  

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7 thoughts on “Day 41 – Hiker Town to Tyler Horse Canyon – 39kms

  1. Princess Layers – may the (Wind) Force be with you and whoever those other critters from Star Wars may be that journey across the desert with you! Only 3km more and you’ve notched up a marathon.

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  2. Have you guys decided on your Sierra strategy? I was up two weeks ago with snowshoes, and might do Whitney this week before the snow completely degrades. People are already pushing over and establishing a track. That means pristine, trackless conditions are being pounded into a compressed path. This is what you’re looking for if you want to hike the PCT/JMT in snow.

    You have no idea of how incredible it truly is. All your hard work to get there, and you’re almost at the gates of wonderland. Bishop pass (PCT mile 831):

    IMG950505

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    • Hey Hobbes. Thanks for the photo link! It sounds and looks amazing, and we are definitely feeling like a change after all this desert hiking. Our friend who is experienced with snow hiking is hopefully catching up with us and we are going to embark as a team of 5 or so ppl and see how it goes. I guess thru-hiking will mean camping on snow a lot of the time and navigating the rivers (not sure how they are looking at the moment) which is what we are anticipating might be daunting. I have reading blogs of folk who are getting 50/100 miles in and then deciding to come back in late summer so we are not sure what to expect really and how fast the conditions are changing.

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      • Camping on snow is easy – you just need to double up your pads. That is, you need around a 4-5+ r-value for proper insulation: Z-lite is 2.6, Neo 3.2.

        The only really significant water crossings are the Kings south fork (between Pinchot & Mather), Evolution (after Muir) & Bear (after Selden). Just like the passes, plan your days so that you’re crossing these obstacles early around 6-9am.

        The first major challenge after KM is Forester – if you get turned around, Horseshoe is the exit. (Even though the road is closed right now, it’s supposed to be open within a week.) Don’t be tempted to try Shepherd however; it’s a mountaineers cliff with snow.

        I would exit @ Kearsarge for re-supply. If you take an extra day of food, you can hang out somewhere (like Chickenspring) and practice various skills. You’re lucky that you have a friend with snow experience to show you the ropes.

        I’m confident your group can take on this challenge because you seem to be physically, emotionally & psychologically fit. You’re putting up really good numbers and dealing with any suck with a stiff upper lip.

        You came a long way to do this hike, and you l lucked into once-in-a-generation epic conditions in perhaps the most astounding mountain range in the world. If you pull this off, you’ll be telling your grandchildren some day.

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