Casa de Luna
May 18: We have been very lucky with the weather on this hike. Though we have had some unexpected late season snowstorms that have held us up a bit, we have also had some unseasonably cooler temperatures. Which makes desert hiking better. Especially in a drought year.
Today's hiking brought us along some exposed ridges, much like the hiking we had done out of Julian. However, this time around, we weren't shade hopping and resting in the afternoon until the heat dissipated. We were putting on and taking off layers, taking short frequent breaks, and moving on when the wind made it too cool to stay still.
We got a later than usual start, so that when we went through the town of Agua Dulce (the trail goes right down Main Street) we could stop for a pastry and hot chocolate. Agua Dulce is a very small ranching town. We walked in and out of the downtown in less than 5 minutes. I had heard Mama Goose and the warrior hikers were in town, but somehow, despite our late start, we ended up hiking past them without seeing them.
Once out of town, we continued road walking for a while, and then climbed up a jeep road near some power lines, overlooking horse corrals and barrel racing set ups. And then we were into the hills and on the ridges.
For a while, we were all going around the same pace and meeting up for breaks together- me, Silver, Velcro, Skyline, and Secret. But as the day went on, Quick Silver started pulling ahead (he had mentioned going 28+ miles today) and Secret & Skyline started falling behind.
As for me, though I was grateful for the cooler temps, I was starting to feel the way you do in the spring when it's been overcast and rainy for weeks. Everything seemed gray. And 28+ miles seemed like unpaid overtime and a pop quiz rolled up into one.
Fortunately, at mile 26, there was our saving grace- the Casa de Luna. Local trail angels who let hikers sleep in their back yard and provided dinner and breakfast. Velcro and I reached the road, I put out my little thumb, and 2 minutes later, we had a ride from another hiker.
The Casa de Luna is run from the Anderson home, Terrie and Joe are two hiker/trail Angels who run what they refer to as the "hippie daycare"
Once settled in the manzanita brush in the back yard, Velcro and I walked to the gas station for frozen burritos, soda, and ice cream. Unable to wait the duration of the walk back, we microwaved them at the convenience store and proceeded to walk back, eating a molten-lava-hot burrito from the wrapper while dressed in long underwear and crocs-with-socks. Transition to hiker trash complete! (Extra points for passing said burrito back and forth with Skyline, who does not posses my magic thumb and ended up walking from the trail to town)
Shortly after getting back to the house, Terrie came out with several plates and platters. She ordered everyone to wash their hands and line up for taco salad. There were very specific rules regarding accessing the food to prevent cross contamination. If you slipped up, Terrie would whack you with a yardstick. (Yes-i got swatted!) and I ate two heaping plates of taco salad.
After dinner, we all hung out and chatted for a while, but not too late- we are hikers after all. Nice night of sleep under the manzanitas out back!
In the morning, I had two plates of pancakes the size of hubcaps, courtesy of Joe's culinary skill!