When you spend seventy days hiking through the desert, you develop a strong sense of place.  There are favorite places to stop, not-so-favorite stops, and everything in between.  So this week, instead of posting the usual photos and videos and whatnot, we’re going to talk about the favorite stops Sam made along the way.

When you’re living outdoors in the Mojave during the hottest time of the year, what’s the best sight to see?  An oasis – a sea of green, along with *gasp* an actual restaurant that serves food that’s not freeze-dried or in powder form.  We’re talking about the first town Sam hit after leaving the Pacific Crest Trail behind – Olancha, California.  (Yes, the photo is of Cartago, but the towns are so close, and the image so distinctive, we had to post it, inaccurate or not.)

For a movie about finding water, most of our footage is fairly dry.  That’s because the aqueduct is frequently contained and covered, and Sam was left without enough to drink.  Until, that is, she hit Brailey Creek a full thirty-two days into her journey.  There wasn’t much water there – but there was enough to count as a Godsend.

What do you do when you’re on the trail and your hiking buddy suddenly becomes ill?  Find the nearest hostel with an opening and hope for the best.  Enter: Hostel California.  With a sick hiker miles away, this friendly face to passing backpackers sent out a van to make sure Sam and her hiking buddy had a safe bed to sleep in for the night.  Thanks, Hostel California!

Our journey ended, of course, at the beautiful Mono Lake, and the nearby town of Lee Vining.  Next time you’re on your way up the 395, take a stop at the Mono Lake Committee store and say high to the staff, because we love Lee Vining!

Of course, these are just a small handful of stops on the journey we have praise for.  If you want to hear even more, you’ll have to tune in to the finished project to hear about the Jawbone Canyon store, Owens Lake, Big Pine, Bishop, and more.  Meanwhile, share your favorite towns and stops along the aqueduct in the comments.