Day 28 – May 1, 2022
Mile 430.4 (Messenger Flat Camp) to 444.3 (Acton, CA)
13.9 trail miles | 13.5 tracked miles | 1,160 ft elevation gain | 71.6 F / 22 °C
We woke up on this beautiful May Day to a mixture of excitement and a hint of dread ahead of our arrival in Acton, CA. While the prospect of a hot shower and laundry is sure to brighten up any hiker’s day, the private campground where we will be staying overnight has a terrible reputation.
The stretch west of Messenger Flat Campground was hot, exposed, rocky, and often eroded. The trail was extensively damaged in the 2009 Station Fire. Thirteen years later, there are still no approved campsites in the area.
While the grade was gentle and we walked mostly downhill, I feel that I had to stay focused.
At mile 436.1, near the North Fork Ranger Station, the Pacific Crest Trail finally veered right, and we resumed our northbound journey, concluding of a long westward detour around the LA metro.
Shortly before lunch time, we got our first glimpse of Soledad Canyon Road, the gateway to Acton, CA. The area, which is known as the Antelope Valley, is one of the poorest districts in the LA metro, though we couldn’t possibly tell from the trail—there isn’t much in the vicinity except for an RV park. The town of Acton is located around 6 miles east of the PCT.
The RV park, LA RV Resort, formerly known as Acton KOA, is our destination for the night. It’s a logical stopping point to shower and resupply in the immediate vicinity of the PCT, and an almost obligatory destination given the lack of campsites in the area.
LA RV resort provides essential amenities for hikers—showers, laundry, power outlets Wi-Fi, basic resupply options—but they charge $20 to camp on their lawn, near railroad tracks, with trains blowing their horn all night. That’s a steep price to (attempt to) sleep on the ground without any privacy.
The resort also rents a few cabins, though they often sell out quickly. Since I’m always lucky, I figured I would inquire anyway. Indeed, somebody had just canceled their reservation, and I was able to book a Deluxe Cabin for the night at a deep discount.
For just about $10 per person over the cost of camping, Christie, Joe, Michael and I will enjoy a private room away from the railroad noise, beds, AC, a shower, a kitchenette, and a small outdoor patio. I’m a happy camper (pun intended.)
I also got free laundry by installing an app, which is a nice bonus. I would have been willing to pay more for an extra-powerful washing machine, if that was an option, though. My pants seem to be beyond hope.
Waiting for me at LA RV resort were a resupply box, as well as the pair of shoes that I purchased in Big Bear.
While the resupply box wasn’t entirely necessary, it will come in handy. We all somehow have extra food, and thus we’ll be able to skip our planned resupply stop in Lake Hughes (saving both time and the hassle of hitching).
I’m mostly excited for my new shoes. While my first pair might have been able to survive a bit longer, I didn’t trust them entirely anymore, and my tendons will be happy.
For the first time in my life, I ate an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, which I elegantly washed it down with a Frappuccino. I must be pregnant, or hiking, or both.
Christie also indulged—nothing screams luxury more than eating ice cream on a bench while snuggled up in a sleeping bag.
Occasional (well-deserved) excesses aside, I’m actually quite careful with my diet. My resupply boxes come with dry vegetables, which I add to my dehydrated backpacking meals. I also consume fiber pills on a daily basis, and try to eat as many fruit and vegetables as possible when I’m in town.
After showering and doing laundry, we headed over to the pool for bit of R&R. By popular demand, here’s a picture of me sporting my wading shoes.
For dinner, we ordered a massive middle eastern feast from Uber Eats. We’ll return to the trail tomorrow morning, and are already looking forward to lunch in Agua Dulce!