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City of Angels

In LA, with the assistance of a ski lift, three friends and I hiked to the peak of Mount Baldy, the highest point in Los Angeles county. From the summit I could see to the south the sprawling city of Los Angeles and the ocean beyond it. To the north I saw the Mojave desert. I could make out the dusty, Joshua Tree-strewn town of Hesperia, and somewhere in it, a tiny glint of sunlight from the aluminum shell of our Airstream. I was staying with my former roommate Jessica in Silver Lake for a few days while Courtney was away on a work trip in Mexico. It was too expensive to take the Airstream into LA, so we left it in Hesperia, and here I was.

I took Lyft around town to visit some other LA friends. The drivers were different than in New York. In LA there was still a hustle about the drivers; this was not their main gig, and they were happy to tell me about their other moneymaking schemes. One former skateboarder told me his plan to set up a solar shingle powered Bitcoin mine in the basement of his duplex. Another older driver told me his plan to sell solar panels to Sierra Leone.

Partway through my LA stay, I drove the truck back to Hesperia to check on the Airstream and to water our houseplants. I took the steep and winding CA 2 over the San Gabriel Mountains. Coming down a bend I drove upon a wrecked Skanska pickup truck crumpled up against a rock wall, with its blinker on, engine cold, and nobody inside.

I crossed the Pacific Crest Trail near Mt Baldy, and I picked up a young thru-hiker named Al who was hitchhiking to the nearby mountain town Wrightwood. I had learned about thru-hiking from Clint, and I talked shop with Al about his gear. He had just done the AT the previous year, and was doing the PCT before starting his first job after college back in Connecticut. He smelled like he hadn’t showered in a week, and politely declined my offer of a handshake when I dropped him off, saying “trust me, you don’t want to touch this hand.”

I made it down to the Mojave Desert just in time to watch the rising full moon, then drove into Hesperia, ate a sub from Jimmy Johns, and slept alone in the quiet of the Airstream.

The month of May came to a close. Courtney came back from Mexico, we loaded up the our little home quickly and easily, and after moving westward for the last 2 months we finally turned the ship north and steered our journey out of the desert and toward the forests of the Sierras.

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