Mile 266.0 Big Bear Lake to 369.4 Wrightwood
Back on trail!
Day Fourteen: 16 May 2015
Start: HM 266.0 Big Bear Lake
End: HM 294.6 Bench Trail Camp
GPS Point: 34.278131, -117.083007
Day Total: 28.6 miles
Water at mile 292 Holcomb Creek at Crab Flats Rd
It is nice to be back on trail. The town stop was great, but half days are better. The whole day off left me feeling at odds with the system I have worked out on the trail. Also, I normally have issues in vehicles anyways, but I genuinely felt car sick after sitting backwards in the shuttle today to the trail.
All that aside, I felt great today! Super full from the copious eating, but we went 28 miles and my legs feel stuff from the day off but no soreness. The blisters I had seem happily turning to callouses. My feet LOVED the brand new socks that arrived in my resupply. I gave a parting celebration to my faithful Injinjis from the past couple years. These new ones should take me through the trip I would think. My shoes, however, may need another size bigger next time. It is incredible how much my feet seem to have lengthened. I saw lengthened instead of swelled because they don’t seem snug for side space, genuinely it is just the length.
A guy named Langston, who I first met in Idlewild, has joined our brigand. He first hiked with us from Coon Creek Cabin and caught the same room at the hostel with us. Cool guy. I have tentatively named him Hot Sauce as he seems to really love hot sauce. But I originally called him Transformers because his shoe print meshes into other prints and is deceptive. Ben has officially accepted Hoots. Which I proudly gave him. We even found the old Forest Service Woodsy Owl, whose slogan says “Give a hoot – don’t pollute!” On the camp area bulletin board. So great! We need to find a good one for Brandon still. Mostly he has disliked the suggestions. Big Bear was like a great reunion. We saw Mike, the Kiwi from Warner. Jackson from the night we met Ben. John from several crossing paths. And many others who did or did not have as large of impacts.
Today we saw many people on the trail too. Many stopped before us. Some likely made it further. The trail was so easy, and after rest we just killed the miles. If I can get us to do bonus miles, I may not end up as behind schedule and will get to maintain my good company! Hehe. We stopped at the Bench Trail Camp area to find that this Saturday evening a Boy Scouts troupe is also camped. We opted to find beach spots down by the river, which will result in a cool and dewy night for us. But better than being kept up all night by noisy kids enjoying a night out. A girl named Unicorn has joined us, and she is hiking with her dog, Charlie. Cute little beagle mix.
I am sure there is more to say but I am ready to tuck myself in from the chill that has numbed my fingers.
Hot springs, rainbow bridge, and pie al a mode!
Day Fifteen: 17 May 2015
Start: HM 294.6
End: HM 318 Grass Valley Creek
GPS Point: 34.312386, -117.265187
Day Total: 23.4 miles
Water at mile 298.3 Deep Creek Bridge, 313.4 Deep Creek ford, mile 318 Grass Valley Creek
Today was a good day and a less than good day. To get the lesser news out of the way, I stubbed two ties on my right foot and will likely lose the big toe nail, I lost my umbrella somewhere, and I sucked water up my nose which later gave me a nose bleed. Those events aside, I also lounged in a natural hot springs, walked across a rainbow bridge, and met a nice man named Coppertone (PCT ’06) who fed us pie al a mode and bananas. So a pretty awesome day all in all.
Today was really hot. We took lots of breaks, but I was feeling it. Today we passed areas that are easily accessible by locals, combined with it being the weekend, there were so many people! It was crazy how many non PCT’ers we saw. I was barely getting used to the hiker amounts. We also walked over a spillway where a small “lake” was surrounded by off-road vehicles. As well as multiple sightings of dirt bikers racing around on the PCT and creating their own paths up the terrain. It was almost too much for me. Tonight we are camped with six other PCT’ers, bringing the area total to ten. I suspect we will be running into the main herd before we reach Tehachapi. Coppertone had seventeen people sign in on his book as having passed by his generous food pit stop today alone. Not to mention almost an equal amount for yesterday. Tomorrow our goal is to reach Cajon Pass where the guys are planning to access the eatery joints just off trail on an access road.
Random notes of interest. I saw Unicorn carrying her dog Charlie on her back across her shoulders. It was the cutest thing! Charlie looked so pacified to be carried. Also, we crossed mile 300 today! Still hiking along with Hoots, Brandon, and Langston. Ran back into Tami throughout the day and Taxi at the hot springs drinking a beer. Otherwise only new people or tourists crossed our paths.
With all the diversions today, we hiked our latest evening. It was already seven when we really settled to camp. Thus it is late now and I am quite sleepy.
A day of eating.
Day Sixteen: 18 May 2015
Start: HM 318
End: HM 344.3 dirt road crossing
GPS Point: 34.291652, -117.478242
Day Total: 26.3 miles
Water at mile 328.7 Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area, mile 342 Interstate 15 in Cajon Canyon at Chevron
Today has been an incredibly hot day! And the latter half, while walking detritus mound crests, was super windy. While sitting at second lunch, I found a tick crawling on my poncho seat. We stopped just under a large power line. The kind that looks like a lady’s dress. A few miles from our camping point, we stopped at an interstate gas stop and ate McDonalds (the PCT sign genuinely points towards the McD’s) and loitered at a Chevron. I have eaten so much food today! But it all goes towards energy right? I ate all my day’s rations, plus food at McD’s with Chevron snacks. I am glad I have my food prepackaged. It is easy to supplement cheese sticks and snickers bars, but seems pricey to buy the whole lot. My companions are all buying as we go. I feel postage isn’t as much as the difference of shopping at small town mini marts.
We ate first lunch by this beautiful double lake reservoir camp area. It was chilly from cold wind coming off the lakes. I sat in the sun to stay warm. Ben told me all about local plants and trail maintenance things. I really want to get a California flora book for my upcoming move to CA. We keep crossing paths with Tami. Camped with her last night. There were also three brothers who race along for a few miles then take a twenty minute break. There was also Marian, from Croatia, who teaches in L.A. Awesome guy! And great accent! Met several others too. Many were while we stopped at the McD’s and Chevron. Some where planning to stay at the Best Western on the interstate crossing. I am somewhat jealous of the cool room, shower, pool, and soft bed. But also glad that we should make it to Wrightwood tomorrow. Langston has officially accepted Hot Sauce as his trail name. So we have Hoots, Hot Sauce, Schemes (me), and Brandon still sans trail name.
Cajon Pass up to McDonald’s is along a small stretch of the historic Route 66. Route 66 ran 2,448 miles from Chicago, IL, to Los Angeles, CA. There is a 1917 memorial at the pass to commemorate all the pioneers of the Salt Lake and Santa Fe Trails. Very interesting that this monumental path is now a side road off a busy L.A. Interstate. As long forgotten as the travelers who once made that traverse. I do also want to point out that Route 66 is shorter than the PCT. Somewhat of a novel thought that people would walk such a distance for entertainment.
Leaving the I-15 underpass it was like walking into a horror film set. The tunnel curved and was like a large, dark abyss. Then you walk out into this grassy, plant filled area next to train tracks with an old house that had old rusting vehicles and old rusting signs. We walked on a few miles and camped at an intersection with a dirt road. You can still hear the trains and interstate from here, but it’s significantly quieter. We suspect there may be a few night hikers tonight from people walking through the Cajon Canyon food stop. The Chevron is 24 hour and I think McD’s has late hours too.
When we reached the interstate underpass there was a sign with the remaining mileage to Canada. It really has me thinking about this whole thing. I am on day 16 and only just into the beginning. Half way through the desert. My motto has always been that life is about the journey, not the end point. Here’s looking forward to the next two and a half months of adventure!
Crossing the San Andreas fault!
Day Seventeen: 19 May 2015
Start: HM 344.3
End: HM 369.4 Inspiration Point trailhead
GPS Point: 34.372532, -117.710476
Day Total: 25.1 miles
Water at Wrightwood mile 369.4
So just as we were leaving our camp, a vehicle drove through the abandoned road. So much for our safety cowboy camping on an abandoned road… Anyways, we all slept late. Which, fast forward, is why we couldn’t get our packages before things closed in Wrightwood today. This morning I also discovered that my camera memory card was not pushed in all the way and I have zero pictures from yesterday. Yesterday, which was some of the best photos with the iconic western hills, trains, and setting sun. Or the cloud covered peaks of the mountains in the distance of the reservoirs we were walking along. Shortly after hitting the trail, we crossed the San Andreas fault!! It was so obvious and giant and wonderful! I almost wish I studied hard rock. 🙂
We ran back into Marian and Tami. Also met two girls, eBrake and Orbitz. Who have kind of an amazing story. Orbitz was dropping off her friend at the Mexico terminus and she forgot to put on the eBrake. Her truck ended up rolling into something and being totaled. She happened to have her stuff with her, so she decided to join eBrake (so named because of the event) to Agua Dulce, where Orbitz lives. Orbitz hiked the PCT previously. Also ran into At Home, a guy we met yesterday at McD’s.
Highlights of the day are coming into the last mountain climb. The clouds have been sitting in the peaks. We walked up right into them. They are thickly blowing through. Creating that stillness or calm cool warmth while hiking. It was beautiful. Last night our sleeping area was eventually within a cloud, thickly shrouded around us. There is talk of cold weather this coming weekend. We should just be getting into Acton KOA by then. Or a day about there. My goal is to wash clothes, and hopefully myself, about every hundred miles. 🙂 Maybe that is too luxurious but I am hoping at least while weather is hot and I am constantly sweating through my clothes that I can wash frequently.
We hiked through Sugar Bowl ski resort into Wrightwood. It is funny to think about now, but before leaving for the PCT I have been freaking out about where I will be able to ski while living in Santa Barbara the next five years. I have now walked through Big Bear Lake and Sugar Bowl. Granted this is summer and there is no snow. But I feel like I am getting to check out my potential stomping grounds. Wrightwood is full of incredibly friendly people! They are so generous to the hikers. We were picked up by Betsy Browning. She took us from the Hwy 2 road crossing to the local grocery, then picked us back up to take us to her home. She let us shower and do laundry, and has sleeping areas for us. She seems like a wonderful woman! She also has nine cats and two dogs and a huge garden. Her cats have busily been smelling everything of ours and running themselves over everything. It is just so nice to be clean and know I will have fresh clothes. I am amazed at how wonderful people have been. Betsy does t know us. We are just four stinky strangers. Yet she invited us into her home and gave us so much. She is amazing!
Anyways, today has been long and I am exhausted. Until tomorrow.