We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

May 26th

It was a restless night, with both traffic from the nearby highway and the wind rocking the RV trailer in which we tried to sleep. Normally, a very early start is recommended for this section as the next 20 miles crosses the high plains of the Antelope Valley referred to by may as the west end of the Mojave desert and one of the traditionally hottest and driest parts of the trail, with the least amount of shade. But an onshore breeze continues to bring a marine layer of clouds to the crest and cooler temps, thankfully, still prevail.

We left “Hiker Town” and headed north on as the trail follows roads, to the LA Aqueduct. There the trail turns abruptly east and follows a frontage road which parallels the aqueduct. As we walked along 2 coyotes appeared on the berm of the waterway and followed us for a few hundred yards, as if curious, yet keeping a courteous distance away.

Where the LA aqueduct meets the California aqueduct we turned north and followed the later, aware of the two great ironies: following water through the desert and not being able to get at it. This aqueduct is completely enclosed in pipes and cement.

After about 4 or 5 miles we came to a dry wash, where a large cottonwood tree was growing amidst the rubbish tossed out by locals and carried downstream with floods. We took advantage of the only real shade we would see for over 16 miles and had breakfast. A short while later a large black pick up truck rumbled by and the driver waived as he drove past. Then he stopped, backed up and hollered out the window if we were thirsty. We thanked him for asking and responded that we were carrying enough water. Then he said: “Well, do you want a beer?” Even though it was 9am we did not want to offend a local desert rat, so we said “sure”. Bob got out and pulled three ice cold “natural lights” out of a cooler and sat and rank our breakfast beer with us. He immediately confessed to being lonely and bored and just wanting someone to talk to. We obliged and chatted (or mostly listened) for awhile. As we were leaving he brought out a couple more beers “for the road” which we stuffed into the deepest interior of the packs to keep cool.

The trail more or less followed the paved surface of the aqueduct for another ten miles and we enjoyed the walk as the cooler temps, a few scattered clouds and a nice breeze made the lack of shade far less of a concern than it usually would be. Scattered houses or junkyards sometimes bein indistinguishable were broken up by bits of more natural desert. For the most part, this is not the desert of wildflowers, but rather the desert of tumbleweeds, sage, brittlebush, saltbrush and occasional joshua trees, mixed in with roads going to nowhere, power lines and aqueducts.

A bridge, which carries the aqueduct across Cottonwood canyon, beckons hikers with the first shade relief since the Cottonwood tree ten miles before. LA Water and power taps into the aqueduct through and provides water via an enclosed cement trough with a spigot. This water and the shade combine to create an oasis attracting all hikers. We joined several others already ensconced under the bridge for a long lunch. The wind raced beneath the bridge as if in a wind tunnel testing the aerodynamics of anything not weighted down with heavy rocks. Even with our relatively cooler weather the relief from the blazing sun was welcome and we waited about 3 hours, until almost 5pm, to hike on.

The trail climbs away from Cottonwood canyon and the aqueduct towards the Tehachapi Mountains. Battling a steep incline, head winds and sandy tough footing left by OHV abuse it was a slow and difficult climb.

Ten years ago this was all new trail tread, level and smooth, with no OHV ruts in sight. Now after repeated illegal use and abuse by ATVs and dirt bikes the trail is badly scarred, eroded, obscured, and molded into “moguls”. In short severely damaged.

This damage made for difficult footing and some directional confusion. We made it to Tylerhorse Canyon, with its vital water and some protection from wind just before dark.

We shared the campsite with several hikers arriving even later: Paul Griffith southbound section hiker we had met last fall at the ALDHA West, and arriving well after dark were Matt, Adam, Halftrack and Supertramp

After dinner we fell asleep to crickets chirping, water flowing and wind blowing around the canyon’s rim.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

CDT20101_NMWCWMCDT2010_TheTrailCDT2010_NMWC-1Carrot After a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #3,768Carrot on the Trail stillCarrot takes a Trail BathCarrot Stream Crossing #5.875Carrot on the TrailCliff Dwelling SignCarrot takes a PhotoCarrot Stream Crossing # 2,115

Scenic Shots

CDT2010-valleyCDT2010_yellowflowersCarrot on the Trail 3ScenicPotty BreakScenicCliff Dwelling Stream Vast DesertPrickly Pear 2Prickly PearPlateau at Sunset

Flora & Fauna

CDT2010_treesCDT2010_yellowflowersCDT2010-purpleflowersAngry MarmotFlora 3FloraBeaverButterfly 2FloraButterfly