Saturday, January 07, 2017

Hot Springs Trail ~ Part 4 ~ Canton Canyon to Hiker Town

How Quickly one's environment can change from water over abundance to a true water deficit.

It was to be 38 miles to our next water source after our merger onto the Pacific Crest Trail where we will begin our crossing of the Mojave Desert before entering the Sierra Nevada Mountains .

This mileage between water sources could be cut down to 12 miles if one were to resupply in Castaic when one crossed under Interstate 5.

 Instead, we were carrying 108 miles of food from Ojai that would take us straight into Hikertown to resupply.

Turkey Vultures circled over our heads in 90 plus degree temperatures as we enjoyed expansive views of southern California.

Even though we were approaching a superhighway, the views from this Ridgeline trail were epic to say the least. However, with some pleasure there was also some minor pain. Pokey grasses by the thousands began to find their way into my shoes and socks.

And with a change in habitat, there were also new birds to be seen. Loggerhead Shrikes, probably out hunting crickets, visited us to see what we were doing. Fancy desert birds such as Phainopepla's became a part of our normal world as well as the fanciful and colorful Lazuli Bunting.

After enjoying the shade of the I-5 underpass, we continued on the closed and historic Ridge Route that used to be a two lane highway between Los Angles and the San Joaquin beginning way back in 1915. 

Evidence of old inns and gas stations were frequent upon the route.  

It seems as if only horses and the occasional motorcycle visits this section of the trail these days.

However, soon we merged with the PCT and the very first hiker we actually saw was the legendary 
Dirtmonger who had also just finished hiking Brett Tucker's Skyline Traverse Trail in Arizona. Interestingly, i had just been thinking of the possibility of hiking the mountains near Death Valley, and low and behold, Dirtmonger suggested that we could perhaps hike it together that autumn. I love synchronicities. 

Having arrived hydrated on the edge of the Mojave Desert at Hikertown, we had planned to stay only one night to resupply and to relax some before moving towards Tehachapi only 40 miles away. However in the morning, we met Richard Skaggs, the owner of Hikertown, who is a movie producer and a bigtime business man in Los Angeles. It was quite surreal helping him out on his property because while he was sorting out hiker business, he was also on the phone talking to state senators and lawyers and trying to get people elected. Phrases like, "i will get your people to talk with Schwartzenegger's people to get this deal moving.  It was too funny. The next thing we knew we were in his truck with two other PCT hikers weaving through traffic heading for the Hollywood Hills. He had an appointment with one of his partners who owned a home very near to the Griffith Observatory.

It was so bizarre coming out of the wilderness and into a multi million dollar home overlooking Hollywood with a swimming pool and an empty lot to boot.  "Kevin Bacon is our neighbor and if you look through that window you might see Meg Ryan." Wow.

Stacey and I found the time to hike to the Observatory where we saw the Hollywood sign and loads of tourists.  When we left the mansion... we actually saw Walowitz from the Big Bang Theory out for a jog. Then to top it off, we were dropped off to see some of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That night we all made dinner together back in Hikertown and spent the night in Richard's spare bedroom. Now that is some real contrast for us two smelly hikers who hadn't even taken a shower since we began hiking out of Santa Barbara.


Tap Here for Part 5



  1. Thanks for sharing your travels again,wonderful images and descriptions.Seems a shame that your adventures don't reach more people online as what you're doing is so inspiring.I've followed your adventures since 2011.
    Wishing you both happy trails for 2017,David

    1. Wow.. thanks David... I was having a hard time getting started with this photoblog for the HST this time around... wasn't sure if many people would be looking at it and so I wasn't sure if I wanted to put the time into it all. But it seems to be having good feedback so far. Plus it will be a good reference to others who want to hike the route since it is brand new and we were the first to hike it along with Zoner.. the creator of the route.


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