Jacob Leistra / "Game Boy" / PCT 2019

Day 32: Wee Vill

Mile 498.2 -> Mile 517.6

Aside from incessant mosquitos, I slept great and woke up to probably my first beautiful sunrise on the trail.

Today our plan is to hike down into the Lancaster valley and shack up at Wee Vill Market. The trail ends at Hiker Town right at CA 138, but Hikertown is a weird looking place and word on the trail is they (and the allied Neenach Market) have some petty rivalry with Wee Vill. Most of the Guthook comments speak highly of Wee Vill’s resupply and grill, so we’re going to skip Hikertown altogether.

Today’s hike was hot but pretty relaxed overall. After getting your trail legs, doing 20 miles is just a starting point. After a gorgeous hike down rolling hills to a dry and dusty dirt road, we hit CA 138 around 1 PM. That means we did about 18 miles by noon, and we could have easily done another 15 or so by 6 PM. But there’s plenty of time to crush miles later. This section is all about strategy: don’t run out of water, don’t get to the Sierra too early, and don’t miss out on the trail magic.

Wee Vill offers a free shuttle from the trailhead, so we have them a call and they were over in about half an hour. As Toucan and I were waiting for the shuttle, while simultaneously hoping Money Beets and Horse Seducer show up to catch the shuttle with us, another hiker showed up. He saw us half-heartedly trying to hitch to Wee Vill so we didn’t have to wait in the blaring sun and high 90s heat. He seemed cool enough with his Pa’lante V2 (hey, same pack as me!) and Hawaiian shirt. When he decided to join us for the hitch, Toucan and I were puzzled with his tactics.

He out his pack down nicely against the white line of the lane. He then stood toed up to that lane, threw his arm with his thumb out into the lane as cars drove by. He put on his biggest smile and gave a peace sign to every car that passed. And by pass, I mean pass: since he was physically in the thoroughfare, cars were moving into the center to avoid him. The unmistakeable sounds of cars hitting the rumble strip in between the opposite lanes was the soundtrack of our hitching attempts with this guy. Needless to say we didn’t get a hitch, but the shuttle came soon enough, and we were off to Wee Vill.

The place was a zoo. But a very cool zoo, and a zoo that the staff managed well. We laid our packs in a jammed backyard area with hikers strewn about, went inside, and ordered massive burgers for less than $9. They were salty, greasy, delicious bombs of satisfaction. We shopped for our resupply food, added some beer to the mix, and spent the rest of the day chatting with others and planning tomorrow.

We’ll sleep at Wee Vill, grab some breakfast (and lunch!…?), and head back to Hikertown in the late afternoon. Our plan is to do 27ish miles, mostly at night, and mostly over the shadeless Los Angeles Aqueduct. It’s supposed to be one of the hottest sections of the trail, but most hikers do it at night. We’re excited to see how it goes, and how many scorpions we see along the way.

Main Photo: The end of the hills and the start of the dirt road leading to CA 138 in Lancaster, CA. June 10.