PCT mm 465.9 – Beam me up Scotty


The famous Gorn rocks in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area from the TV series, Star Trek.

This is not the usual landscapes I post, so what’s up with this pic?  You’ll find out later.

I didn’t get up too early this am, mainly because the clouds had rolled in and I was in the middle of them all night long.  I woke up about 11:30 and found the outside of the sleeping bag wet.  I was surrounded by a cloud and slowly getting damp from the dew.  There wasn’t much I could do, putting the fly on would just get it wet too, and it would take too long to get anywhere low enough to be out o the clouds.  I just rode it out and slept a little later to let it get a little brighter.

So when I did roll out at 5:30, I run across another hiker just 200 yds down the trail sacked out cowboy style – no tent, just a sleeping bag laid out on a sheet of tyvek.  He was soaked, too.

The clouds lasted most of the morning, but started to lift a little as I got to Vasquez rocks.  It’s a really neat place.  it’s an entire valley with rocks made out of other rocks.  The layers and stratification would keep a geologist busy for decades. I must have taken 30 pictures.  It’s definitely a place to come back to.

But getting there is interesting, too.  You pass through a very long tunnel under the interstate, which must be 80 feet above.  The tunnel is so long, you have to use your headlamp after entering about 30 feet or you will trip over debris and rocks on the floor.  Even though you can see the other side, it’s really dark in there and you can’t see crap.


Once you pass under the interstate, you are entering Vasquez Rocks Natural Area.

The canyons entering Vasquez Park.

The rock formations are all over the place as far as the eye can see.

Approaching the town of Agua Dulce off in the distance.

Once I got to the actual park itself, the rock I was looking for was quite easy to spot.  Many TV shows and movies have been filmed here, but the most famous is Star Trek where Captain Kirk fights a Gorn.  It felt really weird and eerie being there and imagining a film crew there.  Google Kirk vs Gorn to see a pic.  WordPress won’t let me attach one here.  [Post hike: I can post it after the fact pretty easliy 🙂 ]

Famous scene from the 1966 episode “The Arena” of the original Star Trek series.

I got in to Agua Dulce about 9:30 and went straight to the breakfast house – the Sweetwater Bar and Grill.  The Barbacoa beef burrito was heavenly and so was the fresh picante salsa to go with it.  That’s not just hiker hunger talking, it really was that good.  [Post hike:  Still the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life.]

I waited for the shuttle to Hiker Heaven, the local hostel.  I was there about 20 minutes when a man drove by in a gator and said the shuttle was not regular, just come over to the hardware store and have some free coffee and donuts.  So I sat there for nearly two hours shooting the shit with the men’s gossip league.  There were some interesting conversations, let me tell you.  I made a stop at the market to resupply in that time and then the guy in the gator finally just drove me to the hostel.  It was a mile away and I could have walked it in 20 minutes, but I had fun with the old timers as they gossiped about everyone who walked into the restaurant.

Once I got to Hiker Heaven, it was an operation, let me tell you.  The intro took 10 minutes.  They are extremely efficient at hosting very large numbers of people in an organized fashion.

I grabbed a laundry sack and towel and made a beeline to the shower.  It always feels good to be clean.  When you sweat a whole bunch, four days without one drives you nuts.  I can’t bathe every day like I could on the AT because I am dry camping where I have to carry every drop of water and it all goes to drinking.  Even dishwater from cleaning my cooking pot goes down the gullet (no soap).

I gathered all my laundry after the shower and put it in the bag and labelled it as instructed.  Then I grabbed a pan and Epsom salt and soaked my feet.  It was the first opportunity I have had to do that and it felt good.  I had some old callused skin that I wiped and picked off.  No serious blisters at this point.

It took a while for laundry, so I was able to recharge the electronics, check out the water report for the next hundred miles or so, and do some other chores.  I called the hardware store in wrightwood to see if anyone turned in my glasses but no luck.

I got a ride back to town as soon as laundry was done and I was packed.  I got dropped off at the pizza joint to have lunch on the way out.  A large pepperoni pizza and two slices packed out for dinner it a great way to leave a town.

I made it out at 3:30 and the clouds had broken, but there was a cool breeze, so I did not even use the umbrella.  More clouds rolled in later, but it should be a fairly clear night.  I wanted to make it at least ten miles out of town because I have another road walk due to fire closure tomorrow.  This one is 14 miles but has a restaurant in the middle of the walk.

Leaving civilization after about two miles along roads and I am rewarded with another great desert sunset.

I did not stay in town because I am trying to outrun another heat wave that hits on Monday.  In Agua Dulce it is supposed to get to 108, but the town I am going to be at on that day is supposed to be only 98.  I just want to get as far across the desert as I can before the weekend.  It is almost full moon, so if night hiking is needed, that will help.


  1. Love your pictures at the top of every page. Sometimes the ones in the middle of your dialogue don’t come through though. Can’t tell you how proud of you I am! Paul and Marie Schaefer are reading your posts every day and loving it.

  2. That’s really cool Jim… You look nice and those rock formations were really amazing. Googled that picture of Kirk Vs Gorn 😛

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