4/17/23 Hikertown mile 518 to Tyler horse canyon, mile 542. The 24 hour challenge

After a day of rest, I was ready to start my version of the PCT 24 hour challenge. Hike as many miles as you can in 24 hours. This section of the trail, the California aqua duct, is often used for this challenge because it’s very flat and easy, even if at night) (and yes, I still got lost even in mid day)

Started the day at 4. Taped up, ate muffins, and drank water. Felt pretty good. No one else is starting for 2 hours, but I’m slower then them (especially the old codgers. 4 above 60 folks who post u tube videos on there hikes “hiking with the codgers”. We have been camping at the same spots for a few nights. They are funny and helpful. And they have 5000 followers.

No pictures for the 1st 2 hours since it’s dark. I tried to show a pic of the useless sliver of a moon I get, but it’s so weak it cannot show up

The 1st 13 miles is as advertised. Easy, flat, and no way to get lost.

1.5 hours in. Not to cold or windy. I feel great! (A day of rest and 3 real meals can do wonders for your energy. And trail angel Cindy brought by some tape and ointments that made this possible.

By the way, if you want some fun, ask 100 hikers the best thing to do for hikers rash. You will get 100 different and enthusiastic responses “ignore them, this one actually works ” it’s helpful, but if I tried them all, my lubricants would be 1 foot deep.

I’m getting around 2.3 miles per hour (which for me is good!). By 10:00 I shatter my “10 miles by 10/00 o’clock record with 12.5 miles. I’m cruising! (Yes, foreshadowing issues ).

The covered section of the aqueduct. Open earlier

Still feeling good

Semi cool breeze, but the sun is unrelenting.

About now, around mile 15, I start to sense issues. My navigation system when I checked, kept showing me slightly off path. There were no other options left or right( fences, barb wire etc. plus the aqua duct outshoots were still present. I wrote it off to my navigation system having a small glitch. MISTAKE!

Now I’m climbing hills I shouldn’t be climbing, but but generally heading the correct direction

Not the PCT. Not at all. Not even a little bit

I’m not overly worried except for efficiency. I can go back, or bushwhack to get to the trail, somewhere to my right

So of course I climbed it. I was pot committed by this point. The trail exit I missed is 5 miles back at this point, and it will show up I’m sure ( I hope, I mentally light a candle )

So for a few miles I forge ahead on the big dirt non pct road and thank god run right into the PCT (it had to show up. I was heading the right direction).

In my defense there are tons of side roads and trails. And tons of footprints heading the ways I went.

Believe it or not, after finally finding the trail, I lost it. I missed a pct sign somewhere about 17 miles in . Again I knew where to go, but was unsure what to do.

I was lost, but I was making great time.

Eventually the manager of the wind farms (the 3 million windmills) helped me back to the trail. I made it to the Cottonwood Creek by 12:30, about as expected.

Again, I was never at risk, only of wasting time

My trail angel, Cindy, keeps the water cache here. The creek is usually dry. Even though I was doing my version of the 24 hours challenge (stop by dark), I helped with the water filing and transport for 30 minutes, and petted (and got drooled on) by her aggressively friendly 3 dogs.

This camping area was really exposed and windy, so I decided to go the 6.6 miles to Tyler horse canyon. 800 more feet of climbing, but water and hopefully a wind protected site since it’s in a small valley.

While resting at Cottonwood creek, saw the old Codgers again. Left to right, Rumbles, Legend, and No Filter. They are camping. I’m heading out.

They were also drafted into cache work by a busy Cindy

Tired , but have to take nature shots

Valley I camp in

Nice camp spot, but cold and tired. I am making that damn hot chocolate(carried it 100 miles) and trying to sleep. Super windy.

24 miles in (even if off trail, I hiked every damn step). Tired but feel ok.

Might try for 18 miles tomorrow, so I can visit my van, eat real food, and heal up.

Published by tomconnolly3

Former 270 pound hiking noob is attempting to hike the PCT starting April 8!

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