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May 2002 Journal
|Wed. May 1, 2002||Days on Trail:||6|
|Destination:||Barrel Springs||Today's Miles:||23|
|Starting Location:||Sissors Crossing||Total Miles:||102.6|
As we began hiking the endless switchbacks up the San Felipe Hills, I looked down to the right and could see where we had camped. Little did I know any early morning hikers could easily have seen me in my morning ritual (if you know what I mean). I blushed, but not for long. On the trail there is no room for modesty.
Further along the trail I had to stop for another poop. I felt safe with the knowledge that the hikers ahead of me and behind me where far enough away that I could have some privacy. Wrong! Just as I was in position … over the mountain behind me I heard the sound of the oncoming helicopter. Just like in a movie, I heard the sound get louder and louder and then the helicopter appeared passing over the mountain and then me. I tried to make myself inconspicuous but I was in desert chaparral and quite visible. Oh well. My trail name is really an appropriate one … “Gottago”.
Today’s hike is known as one of the hardest segments on the PCT. But fortunately we had wind and temperatures from 45 to 65 degrees for most of the time. Aside from the mileage being so long, it was a very moderate grade of elevation gain and loss. There is no water along this section, although there was one water stash. I haven’t really needed the water stashes because I’ve carried too much water. Fear of ….
At the end of today’s hike we entered an area that looked so similar to the walking trails at the ranch. The Oak trees and running creek were a nice change.
Barrel Springs was such a welcome site. We arrived just before 6:00pm. I think we started our day at 6:20am. We generally take a few breaks during the day and a short 25-minute lunch (sometimes). But for the most part, I’m walking for 12 hours. Incredible! You never know what you can do. I’m motivated by Coach who I hike with a lot. He reminds me of how I feel with George, my trainer. I always try harder when I know someone is watching.
There are 25 or so of us camped at Barrel Springs. It’s fun to walk into camp and begin to remember each other’s name. We are becoming a big trail family. The young and old – we mix well … well, at least from my point of view!
I chatted briefly with Cape Town Jenny. She had done the AT (Appalachian Trail) in 1997. She met her husband there. She is a very special lady.
|Thurs. May 2, 2002||Days on Trail:||7|
|Today's Miles:||10.2 (1.2 to town)|
|Starting Location:||Barrel Springs||Total Miles:||112.8|
We had a brisk, very cool, hike into town. I called Ray around 10:30am, just after we checked in. Because I’m traveling with hikers whose pace is fast, I’ve arrived one day earlier than I had scheduled.
My husband is the best. Thanks Babe for being such a great husband and wonderful trail angel. I reached him on his cell phone as he was leaving home to bring me my food re-supply and box of other gear. It would take him 2-1/2 hours to reach Warner Springs. Then, he had to turn around to get home for the commitment he was covering for me at P.G. I’m one lucky lady!
Before he left Warner Springs, he drove two of my new trail friends, Coach and Bugs, to Julian, 25 miles away, so they could buy sandals. Both of their feet were so badly blistered or swollen, their running shoes had to be replaced.
I spent the rest of today going through my backpack and gear, new food, old food, washing and drying clothes, and showering! Yes! Have any of you gone 6 days without showering? I know Lamont has. Hi Buddy!
Cape Town Jenny, Coach, and I ate in the dining room with many of our fellow PCTers. They gave us a great break on room rates and the dining room has a lunch menu they offer which has less costly meals. Many of the kids have very little money to spend.
After dinner, the group of the 2 sisters, 2 brothers, Savage, North Pole, another young girl I’d heard talking to her mom on the phone earlier, Roblar, Friendly Bear, Achilles, others whose names escape me, and I all went to the hot spa. I was tired but they talked me into going and I’m glad I did.
Whew! I’m caught up in my journal and I’m off.
It’s 8:44am and I wanted to be on the trail today by 10:00am. This is the first time I’ll be starting out by myself.
|Fri. May 3, 2002||Days on Trail:||8|
|Destination:||Combs Peak||Today's Miles:||19.7|
|Starting Location:||Warner Springs||Total Miles:||132.5|
At 7:00am I was set and ready to go, but I had to get current with my journal, which needed 3 days of entries.
This was the first day I’d been on my own hiking alone. I finished catching up with my writing at 9:00am. Wearing my backpack and carrying my journal pages in the pre-addressed stamped envelope to be mailed to Deb, I ran into Brad’s (PCT hiker trail name Sum mare [sp?]) trail angel wife, Rose. She offered to drive me back to the trail so I wouldn’t have to hike on the road. She’s been helping her husband since Campo at different locations where the trail crosses a road. She has helped many other hikers too. Dan Maguire was just setting out this morning too, so Rose took us both to the trailhead.
It was hotter today than it has been. I think it got up to 78 degrees. Dan slowed his pace so we could hike and talk a bit. I enjoyed the hour or so we were together. He and I had emailed each other during our planning of this trip.
We ran into Bill (Geezer) a couple of times. I must have misunderstood, but I thought Bill and Coach and I would meet up at the end of the day to camp. Coach took the day to pay tribute to his younger brother who had died at age 16, and Bill didn’t think he was going to be able to hike far today. I later got information of this as hikers passed on information from conversations they had had with him as they hiked by Bill.
Some of the younger hikers slack packed today. Remember, this is when someone has their heavy pack driven up ahead so they can enjoy the hike without weight. Of course I resented that I was carrying my backpack. These boys/men always seem to be laughing and joking and having fun. I spent a little while with them at Lost Valley Road. There was water .2 of a mile down this side trail. Savage, one of the brothers (the other brothers name is North Pole) offered to fill up my liter Gatorade bottle for me. I sat and talked to Achilles. Tangent, Roblar, a pretty young girl whose name I don’t remember (Cosue?), North Pole, and Savage played funny games with pretzels. North Pole would try to throw the piece of pretzel in someone’s open mouth. I took lots of pictures and will post many of my shots to the website when I get home.
I was very tired and confused about whether I was to meet up with Coach. I heard he’d passed through the trail angel’s (Friendly Bear and Amigo) stash of water and fruit at Chihuahua Road 5 hours earlier than my 6pm arrival there. Yogi, a neat lady in her 30’s who has done the Appalachian Trail and much of the PCT before, told me of an open area for dry-waterless camping 2 miles up the road. I arrived just before 7pm at an available bit of open ground, just threw my pad and sleeping gear down, got in it with all my hiking clothes on and tried to stop shivering. I haven’t had an appetite. I was too tired to make dinner. I pulled out some beef jerky and a Snickers bar. Once I had food in me, I stopped shivering. I tossed and turned most of the night. I was in the middle of all kinds of chaparral plants and was cramped.
|Sat. May 4, 2002||Days on Trail:||9|
|Destination:||Pines to Palms Hwy 74||Today's Miles:||24 (plus 1 mile hike to restaurant)|
|Starting Location:||Combs Peak||Total Miles:||156.5|
As the first and second morning light approached, I decided to eat some breakfast for some energy before I set out. I usually eat my granola and dried milk an hour or two into the morning hike. For some reason I’ve not had any interest in eating and have had to force myself with gorp (good ole raisins and peanuts) and beef jerky throughout the day. Any food that takes too much effort or time gets in the way of moving forward. I’m beginning to understand the mentality of the through-hiker … “when you’re not sleeping, you’re hiking.”
It is amazing how my energy level improves when I eat every 2 hours. Drinking enough water is also very important to my energy level. So when I’m in a water alert area, the decision making process begins. Do I carry the heavy weight of enough water (water weighs 2 lbs. per liter or quart) or do I hike off trail to any available water sources? Today I chose to get water a ways off the trail in Tule Canyon. I dropped my pack with Restless Wind, who I just hiked by, while he was brushing his teeth. By the way, I had left my camp at 6:15am this morning and saw Yogi getting ready to begin her day a few yards beyond where I’d camped. I passed other hikers in their tents still sleeping. A few miles into my hike, I passed other hikers half in and half out of their sleeping bag having slept with no tent last night. It was the warmest night yet. A mile down the trail I ran into Dan, who was sitting on the side of the trail, making his breakfast. He was using his stove. Dan said everyone at the camp area where Yogi and some others had camped, were asking where I was last night. The fact was, I was probably camped below them by 20 yards.
I got water at the 8 mile point, Tule Canyon, at the water tank because I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough to last the day. I had about 2-1/2 liters before I stopped. Had I known that Amigo and Friendly Bear, along with Sierra Club’s water stash, would be there with water at the 14 mile point along the trail, I would not have taken the 50 minutes to water up at Tule Canyon. I treat my water with Aqua Mira and the process is a little timely when I’m filling up more than one water bottle or bag. You have to mix 7 drops from each of the two bottles of Aqua Mira in the larger mixing bottle cap top. Then you wait 5 minutes before pouring this mixture into a 1 quart bottle. I hadn’t brought my 4 liter MSR hydration bag down with me. I’d brought a 1 liter Gatorade bottle, a 14 oz. Nalgene bottle, and a 48 oz. Nalgene plastic, collapsible bottle. Not a good idea, because I had to wait while I let the Aqua Mira mixture sit for the 5 minutes before I added it each time. Had I taken the 4 liter MSR hydration bag, I could have mixed up one time only the 21 drops from each bottle. After the mixture is added, it is recommended you wait 15-30 minutes, depending on how cold the water is, before drinking it.
Today’s hike, like yesterday’s, was hot and hard. I hiked in the true desert. Somehow when I’d envisioned deserts before, they were flat. Wrong! Much up and down.
I start earlier than most because I am the slowest. So in order to stay up with the group of hikers I’ve come to know as family, I must start earlier to end up with them at night. We leap frog each other throughout the day. I try to take shorter breaks so as to not fall too behind. Most of my breaks are to take off my boots and socks. I check for blisters, which I am now getting, and to let my liner socks dry out and change my heavier wicking socks. I hang the wet outer sock from my backpack. In this heat they are dry in no time.
Speaking of packs, I can’t say enough about the pack Dan McHale made for me. It feels great all the time.
I hiked the day alone, passing or being passed. After a 12 hour trudge up never ending switchbacks, I came to the Pines 74 Highway. I now had a decision to make. I was hoping to run into Coach and Double Dew who had done 30 miles the day before trying to get into the Anza or Idyllwild Post Office before it closed. This was the word that has been passed down the line via hikers. I also saw their entries in the register at Sandy Jeep Road at 14 miles into my hike. The register was in the large homemade water stash box the Sierra Club leaves their trail angel water in.
I knew Yogi was taking a zero day in Idyllwild. It’s a 17-mile hitch from where the trail head crosses Hwy 74. As Restless Wind, Easy E, and Dan passed me towards the end of the hike, they asked if I was going to go to Idyllwild. I had intended to hike or hitch the mile remaining to the restaurant for a dinner and to fill up with water before camping at the trailhead. The next section is brutal. It’s 33 miles up Mt. San Jacinto before hitting a reliable water source. The gain is 5,000 feet.
Hitchhiking in California doesn’t work. I saw the guys who had hoped to get a ride to Idyllwild walking the mile to the restaurant. Bugs, with his broken sandal, was also trying to hitch a ride. I decided to just walk the mile to the restaurant and then decide whether to go to a motel for the night or hike back the mile to the trailhead carrying my water for the hike tomorrow. The water weight needed will be 14 pounds extra. Not fun. From what I understand the only reliable water is down 1/2 mile on the Apache Spring Trail. People say it’s not a fun hike down the steep over-grown rocky trail. Hence, my decision to carry up all my water.
A very long story short …
Our hiking day ended just before 6:00pm. Yogi, Restless Wind, Gandolf, Bugs, Dan, Easy E and I had a fun dinner. I talked Ali into giving us all a ride into Idyllwild. It was getting dark and we were all cold. We knew no one was going to pick us up. It took a little time, but this wonderful man, and I think his 2 daughters, went out of their way to drive us all the 17 miles to town. He is now our newest trail angel. We all can’t thank him enough. Another act of kindness.
We checked in to the Tahquist Motel. We got 2 rooms, 3 of us in each. Yogi, Bugs and I slept together.
The decision to have a warm shower, bed, and a place to wash out my filthy clothes and have plenty of water, turned out to be a good one. But I worry about not hooking up with my friends Coach and Dew. I miss them.
|Sun. May 5, 2002||Days on Trail:||10|
|Destination:||Fobes Saddle||Today's Miles:||15.8|
|Starting Location:||Pines to Palms Hwy 74||Total Miles:||169.5|
I woke up at 5:00am worrying about not having written this journal entry last night. By the time I showered, washed out my clothes, planned today’s hike, and wrote my journal entry from 2 days ago, it was 10:30pm. The bed felt great.
There were 3 of us in the unit. Bug slept the latest and took the longest shower last night, but who’s keeping track! Yogi was going to take most of the day off taking care of things in town. At 5:00pm she said she’d hitch a ride to the trailhead and hike in enough to set up camp away from the road. Bug is going to take a “zero” day and wait for his food re-supply at the Post Office tomorrow. I asked Bug to mail my journal entries I had addressed to Deb, along with some film I had in a mailer. Thank you Bug.
Yogi and I walked down the road together. She went to the Laundromat and I went to the Chevron Station where I was told I would most likely get a ride. I needed to be taken back the 17 miles to the trailhead where I left off last night.
I haven’t hitchhiked much before (except with Tina on Whitney Portal, in the middle of the week, when no one could be talked into picking us up for over an hour!). Well, I awkwardly put my thumb out, acting like I knew what I was doing. The first 10 cars went by without even giving me the courtesy of eye contact. Now I have a new understanding and appreciation for how people hitching must feel. It was 8:04am when I started and about 10 minutes later, a very nice long time male resident told me to get into his truck. He said that he’d drive me a mile up the road where I’d have a better chance of catching a ride. Mike Pearson was his name. As soon as he drove off, my next ride drove up. Cindy wasn’t going to stop, but did. She said that “she never did this but … get in”. I told her “I don’t hitch either”. She’d had a hiking date cancel. She’s from Hemet and had driven to Idyllwild for the date. We had a nice talk. She seemed very interested and envious of what I was doing. It’s funny because before I put out my thumb for a ride, I was so scared. I hate not being in control and having to depend upon circumstances I can’t control. But what ended up happening was she hiked with me for half an hour on the trail! I gave her my website address so she could read how very grateful I am to her that she took a chance with me and picked me up. Good hiking Cindy! Another trail angel!
I started hiking at 8:45am. It was a very hard, all uphill, hike. I took many breaks to catch my breath and also to cool off my hot, wet feet. I have new blisters every day. But none of them cause me too much concern because I treat them during my foot check breaks. The combination of heat, moisture and friction means blisters. So I change my socks often.
After Cindy left, I hiked alone the rest of the day. I passed fewer people than I usually do. I passed “the kids” (as I call them), North Pole, Savage, Tangent, and Robar, I don’t know the name of the young girl that is part of this group, the other boy who gave me his 3 different trail names, which I promptly forgot, and Gandolf, a man from Whittier, who has a Rumplestilskin white beard.
I’m actually sleeping 12 feet away from Gandolf as I write. The wind had picked up and my body was wrecked from the hard back-to-back high mileage days. I rounded a bend and found Gandolf setting up his sleeping bag in a little cleared area behind high bushes. I asked if I could join him.
3 hikers had hiked in (2) 2-1/2 gallon jugs that they left for thirsty PCTers. Unfortunately, I just missed out on getting any. The hikers’ names were in a note: Whale, Todd, and Gary. Thank you from Gandolf who now has 4 liters of water and Brian and Betsy who said they got one gallon. Water is very scarce up here in the San Jacintos. I started today’s hike with 7 liters of water, which probably brought my total pack weight to 44 to 45 pounds. It reminded me of when Lamont and I were on our Outward Bound carrying 50+ pound packs. The good news – I did 15 heavy-duty elevation gain miles. And better yet, I’ll never have to do this part of the trail ever again! My legs are hard as a rock! My hiking day ended at 5:30pm.
I hiked today thinking about “Why I do this?”. I decided to put my thinking on hold and just said “Thy will be done. Please reveal to me, if you see fit, what it is that I’m supposed to learn from the journey.”
My light is leaving me. Good night to all I love, especially my hubby, Ray.
|Mon. May 6, 2002||Days on Trail:||11|
|Destination:||Strawberry Junction Trail Camp||Today's Miles:||14.4|
|Starting Location:||Fobes Saddle||Total Miles:||183.9|
My first few steps were stiff ones. My left foot felt like it was incapable of bending. But shortly thereafter I was amazed at how my body was holding up. The last 3 days of hiking have been the hardest I’ve ever done.
Water is a concern. Gandolf was lucky. He took 4 liters from the water stash that had been left yesterday. I set out from camp at 7:00am thinking I would go down Apache Springs Trail a half mile where we were told we could find water. But as I came up to another trail where B & B (their trail names) were camped, Grasshopper (another through hiker who had walked by our camp last night) told me about the note Coach had left at the trailhead. He said that he found good running water down the trail about 20 minutes (for him 20 minutes, but not for me). I made a bad decision and went down the trail with my 4 liter water bag. I filled it (stupid, remember 2 pounds of weight for each liter of water?). The hiking today was all uphill. Even people who don’t comment on how hard a day’s hike is said something. After putting on my pack, I realized I couldn’t keep moving uphill with all the weight. I drank a quart and emptied out another quarter and a half.
Becky & Brian (B & B) were hungry for Thai food so they were going to go down into Idyllwild and hitch a ride to Palm Springs. They are young – hike very fast – and take many breaks. At one point in my hike, I ran into them sprawled all over the trail, laying on each other, reading. They look like they are really having fun with each other.
I met a man named Tex where I filled up with water.
I go through the day dying, wondering “How am I going to do the next uphill?”. But somehow I do. I feel like “a dead man walking”. The views down into Palm Springs are great. The San Jacinto Mountain Range is spectacular. But mostly I keep my head down to avoid stumbling. I try not to look up in front of me because I get discouraged when I see the trail continuing uphill. The elevation gain on paper was from around 6,000 feet to 9,100 feet. But there was a lot more than that because I’d hike a mountain on one side, and then down it on the other. Up, down, up, down. Are you getting the point?
I keep waiting for my little muscles to say “that’s enough”. I am forever grateful to George and all his chiding “Don’t quit on me Linda.” I think of George on all the hardest parts. Why didn’t we work my cardio better? I know, I was supposed to on my own and I was lax there at the end.
Oh, by the way Tina and Ray, I have soooooo much extra food. I haven’t had an appetite, but even when I did, I still packed way too much. And yes, I’m bored with most every thing I made or brought. The dried fruit, beef jerky, Snickers bars, and gorp still work. I don’t like to take time to stop and prepare food. So I put easy to “grab & hike & eat” things in the water pocket of my pack.
Sooooo many people comment on my pack Dan. Brian, this morning, was asking me all about it. He is from Washington too.
I got lost today. I hate getting lost, but especially at the end of the day when I’m beat. On the top of the mountain at the sign for Saddle Junction, I hadn’t realized I wasn’t at Saddle Junction, the sign was telling me which direction to go. Anyway, I don’t really want to go back to thinking about this mishap. However, I met a lady named Sandy, from Apple Valley, on the trail as I was standing there with map and compass in hand. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be going downhill. Now I know why you need to know where you are to find where you want to go. I wasn’t where I thought I was. The trail systems up here are confusing and not well marked. Gandolf went down the wrong trail too.
I saw where it said we could only camp at the camp I’m in. Others went further down to the San Jacinto North Fork River. I wanted to do that too, but in the book it said “no camping”. I have a great campsite, but I’m alone. And I have my food in my tent with me.
Oh No! … I heard, through the hiker grapevine, that Double Dew (he only drinks Mountain Dew) became dehydrated and had to leave the trail. I also heard someone else had to leave the trail because they got blood poisoning from their blisters. I have my blisters taped and didn’t get any new ones today. I was surprised that I didn’t.
I’m dead. It’s 8:30pm. I set up my tent. I feel safer. The wind is slightly blowing and I’m the only one here. I guess I have to get used to this. Many of the people I know went into town for a day off. So I’ll probably start seeing them again soon.
|Tues. May 7, 2002||Days on Trail:||12|
|Destination:||Snow Canyon Rd. 1 mi short of water fountain||Today's Miles:||23|
|Starting Location:||Strawberry Junction Trail Camp||Total Miles:||206.9|
I quickly got dressed, ate, and packed up all I could while still inside my tent. I hiked with a fleece hat, windbreaker, gloves, and a medium weight Patagonia, and long underwear … all over my regular hiking clothes. By the way, every day so far I’ve worn the same white soltex, long sleeved sun shirt from Early Winters, REI’s zip off hiking pants with the bottoms, and my favorite hat, The Columbia.
About 2-1/2 miles from where I left camp, I ran into Gandolf at the North Fork San Jacinto River filtering his water. I filled up my 4 liter (quart) water bag and treated the water with Aqua Mira. I think I like the water treatment. It’s easy. Just mix 2 chemicals together in one of the caps, wait 5 minutes, pour this mixture into the water. Then you have to wait 15 to 30 minutes before drinking.
It’s always the same question when water isn’t very available … “What to stock up on and how much water weight do I want to carry?”. Today’s hike is an unusual one. After the first uphill to North Fork S.J. River and then another couple hours more after that, the rest of the day I hiked all downhill. I believe the days hiking will be 8,000 feet loss in elevation. Thank goodness most of the downhill was gentle.
After seeing Gandolf, I saw not one other person today. I felt good, and strong ... but then again, I was doing downhill too! But I worried about all the downhill on my legs, feet and hip flexors. For the most part I felt strong. I was very careful with each foot placement. I did roll over on my ankle 2 times, but caught myself. The later in the day, the harder I have to concentrate.
I couldn’t find where the trail started up after crossing a road and wasted 20 minutes. I stopped to pee or stretch, but ended up eating all the food I had taken out in the morning and placed in my handy water bottle pocket, while I was hiking.
I began to like walking alone today. I was forced to rely more on my data and maps. I kept wondering when Gandolf would pass me. Last thing he said to me when I left was “watch your footing, be safe, don’t stumble like I do.” Gandolf never did catch up to me. I wonder what happened to him? (I heard he took the wrong trail and ended up going over Mt.San Jacinto)
Going over and down Fuller Ridge is tricky and required all my attention. I can’t image how dangerous and scary that ridge must be with snow or ice on it.
The day was long. I ended it because it got dark at 7:30pm today. I found myself talking out loud and no one was there. I had great conversations. Who needs anyone else! Just kidding of course. Today I realized there can be some joy to this long distance hiking. I had a good day.
|Wed. May 8, 2002||Days on Trail:||
|Destination:||Cross East Fork Mission Creek||Today's Miles:||21|
|Starting Location:||Snow Canyon Rd. 1 mi short of water fountain||Total Miles:||227.9|
At 7:30 last night, when I walked by this cute, protected place to sleep, just off the trail, I wanted to go on, but knew the lower I moved towards civilization, the less privacy I’d have. So I camped about a mile from the road below. I had hoped to reach the Pink Motel last night but it was getting too late to cross the 4 miles of desert, go under the I 10 and hike another mile to the Middleton’s Pink Motel.
Last night there was just a little wind when I first arrived at camp. Actually, it was warm enough for me to use some of my precious drinking water to give myself a little once over with my dirty 16” x 8” towel. I had been too cold to clean up at all last night and could not stand the itching and very sticky feeling any longer.
But half an hour later the gusts, and then gale force winds, started. I’d had the same wind last night up in the San Jacintos. That wind kept me awake all night. I’d put my tent up, the Nomad 2-4-2, because it was cold. I neglected to stake out the optional tie downs and the noise from the flapping sound caused by the wind was loud. And scary! You know those bears that wanted my food in my tent!
Last night, being warmer, I just slept out in my bag and I thought I’d be well protected from any wind behind the rocks. However, the wind was so strong on me and around me. I felt as if someone were pushing and pulling me it had such force. But I was warm and couldn’t feel the wind through my dry loft, 0-degree, Friendly Friends sleeping bag. Sand blew on everything, but I was comfortable as long as I kept my head inside my bag.
I liked being alone this morning when I got up. It was warmish for a change. There was no wind. I got to see another beautiful sunrise. As I am now eating my breakfast (granola, mixed with 100% whole milk, in a baggie), a hummingbird flew right up in front of my face – one foot away. He looked at me and flew off. Wow! Just another special moment.
The light from the rising sun made everything come to life. I took pictures of Mt. San Jacinto, which I can see from my campsite. I’m still recording, David (my photo teacher). Some things don’t change. I wish I had your eyes and could create rather than record.
After breaking camp this morning, I walked 1 mile before coming to the water fountain in the middle of nowhere. Goof and Emily were just breaking their camp. They wondered if I’d seen Patrick, their friend. It turned out he, like Gandolf, had taken the wrong trail on Fuller Ridge/Mt. San Jacinto Trail junctions.
The walk of 4 miles through “real desert conditions” to the I-10 Freeway, was not fun. It was hot even at 8:00am and very windy. That’s there the windmills are all on the I-10 near Palm Springs.
Under the freeway tunnel and 1 mile north, I found the Middleton’s, Don and Helen, Hiker’s Oasis. It's known as the “Pink Motel” by most hikers. But after a great short visit with Don and Helen, they hoped the name of their hiker haven would change to the Middleton’s Hiker Oasis. I’d talked to Helen before I left on the PCT and knew she would be as warm and welcoming as she was this morning. This old trailer that Don has made comfortable for hikers to use as a sleep over place along the trail is filled with couches, sink (no running water, he brings up the water in large containers), stove, refrigerator, and a TV. They daily bring up food for hikers to eat when they come by. They take such joy in bringing pleasure to all of us. I got a big hug from Helen as they were leaving. They come up one or two times a day to make sure there is enough of everything for the hikers.
I arrived at the Middleton’s at 10:30am and by 12:30pm I took off again after transferring the goods from my re-supply box I’d sent myself. I was anxious to catch up with some friends ahead of me on the trail. I found out they weren’t that far ahead by their entries in the PCT register the Middleton’s have.
It was hot. Very hot. The day’s hike (15 miles more) was mostly uphill. I’m now heading up to the Big Bear area, ready to take on some more uphill.
I had to focus on drinking often and eating regularly so as to sustain my energy and not get dehydrated.
I hiked until 7:30pm. I couldn‘t believe this cute, sandy area I found right next to the trail and clear, running water in the East Fork Mission Creek. I stopped and luxuriated in bathing myself and washing out some clothes. I hung my wet clothes over the chaparral brush. I slept out under the stars in my sleeping bag. Being clean and warm in my bag, looking up at the stars, is just heaven. How could I ruin this great feeling by writing a journal entry (tee-hee)!
|Thurs. May 9, 2002||Days on Trail:||14|
|Destination:||Four Roads and a Trail Junction||Today's Miles:||23.8|
|Starting Location:||Cross East Fork Mission Creek||Total Miles:||251|
I’ve been traveling alone the last few days. Today I passed Goof and Emily as they were breaking camp. They told me Patrick had found them the night before and was up ahead on the trail. They also said Chaz from Ontario had just passed them half an hour ago.
Not long after I hiked by Emily and Goof, they passed me up. They are fast and strong. Most of the hikers are faster and appear stronger than I am. Although, they seem to be impressed with me and my hiking ability. So what do I know?
As I gained in altitude, I found my breathing taxed. I stopped often to catch my breath. The day’s hike was probably the hardest for me. It was hot and steep for most of the day.
At Mission Creek Trail Camp I ran into other hikers. One of them was a southbound hiker named Keith. Throughout the day I didn’t think I could hike much farther, but I kept going. I got into a rhythm of breathing and striding and that often feels hypnotic.
At 4:00pm I knew I’d have to stop and make myself some dinner. My energy was low.
On the top of a ridge top switchback, I flopped down on the trail and set up my stove. I had a spaghetti dinner, just one of the great dinners, from trailfoods.com. I put less of their seasoning in the meal though. They are the best trail food. Each entrée costs under $4 and you cook the meal in it’s own pouch. I can’t compliment them enough on their product.
I was somewhat apprehensive after I ate fearing I’d feel sluggish after my heavy meal. But on the contrary, I was energized and continued my day’s hike until 8:00pm. As I was descending switchbacks some miles past Coon Creek Road, I saw Emily’s name written in the sand on the trail. It was getting dark and I hoped I’d find some people to camp near. I heard Goof and Patrick behind me a few switchbacks up the mountain, when I turned a bend and found Chaz crashed and looking comfortably settled in for the night just off the trail.
I decided to hike down a little lower to get out of some of the wind and hopefully find Emily.
A mile later, I saw Emily. Goof and Patrick now had caught up to me and we all walked the last couple hundred yards before we found and camped with Emily. She’d made the first campfire on the trip for me. I got into my bag, sweaty, wearing all my clothes, and crashed. No time for journaling. (This journal entry was written May 11th).
|Fri. May 10, 2002||Days on Trail:||15|
|Destination:||Hwy. 18 @ Big Bear City||Today's Miles:||16|
|Starting Location:||Four Roads and a Trail Junction||Total Miles:||267|
Cupcake has been letting others use his laptop to access their email. People have been congregating in here all morning. Some of us hikers are getting ready to hit the trail while others are just arriving.
Yogi, Dilo and Restless Wind arrived this morning. It was great seeing them.
Anyway … back to Friday the 10th. This morning I wanted to get to Big Bear. I woke up at 5:30am and within 20 minutes I was packed up and on the trail.
It was windy and cold again. I always walk faster in these conditions. Within 10 minutes, Chaz caught up with me. The 16 miles we had to cover before hitting Hwy. 18 were mostly downhill. Chaz and I hiked those 16 miles in 5 hours! I was amazed.
At Hwy 18 (remember Ray? You were right … it is the easiest way to get into Big Bear) we hitched into Big Bear. Not an easy hitch.
A wonderful lady stopped to pick us up at Hwy. 18 after about 25-35 cars passed us up. Her name is Jackie Burns. The last thing Jackie’s son told her was to “be sure to not pick up hitchhikers”! She was headed into Big Bear to check on a cabin she has. Chaz and I could not believe our good fortune. She dropped us off at the Fire Station in Big Bear City.
It is a well known fact that the Fire Station welcomes and allows PCT hikers to use their facilities.
When Chaz and I walked through the back door, Bob Barnet, an on-duty fireman, took us on a tour. He showed us the showers, the hiker box where past hikers deposit any unwanted goods, the PCT register they have, and the lawn where the hikers set up their tent or sleeping bags.
Some of the other hikers already staying at the Fire Station were Geoff, Chuckie, Load, Brent, Chris, Rabbi, Laura, Coach, Phil and Cupcake. Emily, Goof and Patrick showed up a little later. I took some pictures. It was quite a scene with everyone hanging out after their showers, going through gear, reading mail, sorting out food from new re-supply boxes, etc.
Speaking of mail … I feel very loved and very grateful for the tons of mail I received here. I’m not going to continue to list everyone’s name any more who sends mail, but please know it means the world to me to hear what’s going on at home and with you all.
Many of us went to dinner at a great Mexican restaurant after a day of getting our clothes washed, gear reorganized and journals updated.
It feels good to be in town. Now I know why hikers say they only hike from town to town and don’t think beyond. Town stops are rejuvenating.
|Sat. May 11, 2002||Days on Trail:||16|
|Destination:||.5 Mi. past Holcomb Valley Rd. 2N09||Today's Miles:||13.4|
|Starting Location:||Hwy. 18 @ Big Bear City||Total Miles:||280.8|
This morning was fun. Breakfast – at Thelma’s. A bunch of us went there and ate big fattening breakfasts of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. The restaurant gives free, fresh squeezed orange juice to the PCT hikers. That was the buzz we had heard as soon as we got into town. I think I’m getting one of those ravenous through hikers appetites I’ve heard about. I can’t seem to fill up.
Back at the Fire Station, our wonderful home base, everyone was
into one activity or other. I went into the conference room hoping
to find quiet because I needed to bring my journal entries current.
There were about 10 hikers in there talking, trying to write, some
on Cupcake's computer reading their email. Others just came back
from the market having bought their food for the next portion of
their trip to Wrightwood. I was fascinated and took pictures of
the food selections people purchased to create their lunches, dinners,
breakfasts and snacks for the next leg of hiking. One hiker had
a 2-foot long (I may be exaggerating a bit) summer sausage. The
food requirement in the number of hiking days it takes to reach
Wrightwood is about 4. This hiker was going to eat all of this sausage
for his lunches in that period of time plus the massive bag of mixed
goodies he put together to make up his gorp. Some other good food
ideas from the other hikers: pasta, vacuum sealed salmon, packaged
sauces, nalgene bottled olive oil (to add extra calories to all
dinners), bagels, cold cut meats vacuum sealed. What I realized
while watching the 3 hikers with their food laid out all over the
ground was how simple food re-supplying in town can be. I seem to
make everything a major production. I’d be embarrassed to
mention just how much time and energy I spent preparing the 27 food
re-supply boxes before I left for the trail.
The hikers buy baggies, tear apart the boxes that contain the various foods, and try to put the food into organized, light weight individual servings.
I left town on Hwy. 18 just 15 minutes out of Big Bear around 2 o’clock. The hiking was gentle. There is much level ridge walking. The day was sunny and cool. I felt happy and rested.
My day ended just before it got dark. I put up a tent – had no dinner, and was glad to be back on the trail.
|Sun. May 12, 2002||Days on Trail:||17|
miles beyond Bacon Flats Road 3N20
|Starting Location:||1.5 Mi. past Holcomb Valley Rd. 2N09||Total Miles:||304.2|
I’m in Wrightwood. I arrived yesterday, Wed. May 15th, around 3:40pm.
Back to the 12th though. The 12th was a fantastic day! Just another hiking day – but I felt strong and enjoyed the higher mileage day.
I met Chuckie after hiking a mile or two this morning. We took a few breaks together. He is a professional tri-athelete who is very informative about many things. I first met him at the Big Bear Fire Department. I was impressed when he came over to talk to me while I was going through my food re-supply box having just arrived and not really knowing everyone real well yet.
As we were walking, Chris caught up with us. Chris left Big Bear late the night before and had only hiked one hour. Then today he’d put in 21 miles when he caught up with us.
Within the next few miles we all stopped for lunch along Holcomb Creek. Chuckie’s girlfriend had sent him a summer sausage and sesame cracks. I was craving a fatty meat and had meant to buy some salami and cheese. Chuckie was waiting for the right time to eat his sausage. He wanted to eat it with cheese. Coach had the cheese, so we all had a feast by the creek for 2 hours.
Late in the day, 1-1/2 miles after the spanning Deep Creek’s 90 foot steel and wood bridge, I went down a side trail hoping to find a private spot on the creek. It was a steep trail. I was scared I’d fall but I knew there would be a reward at the bottom of the trail. Sat by the creek and had a snack.
I had another hour before the sun went behind the mountains. I reached the bottom of the trail and gasped! Before me was an isolated beach in front of the pooled creek. Behind the creek-pond was a beautiful 150 foot rock formation. Off to the right the water cascaded over rocks flowing into a perfect bathtub pool. A couple of large smooth rocks were positioned perfectly for a night bath. Oh my goodness – it was unreal. No one could have created a better secret, special place. I’ll never forget it.
After getting clean, I made dinner. I wanted to spend the night but knew I’d feel better in the morning, not starting the day out with the long, steep hike in front of me.
My day ended hiking until after dark. The trail was narrow and went on and on. I would love to have stopped earlier but there wasn’t any space to even throw down a sleeping bag.
I was dead at the end of the day, but felt very satisfied.
|Mon. May 13, 2002||Days on Trail:||18|
|Destination:||First Saddle in Silverwood Lake State Rec. Area||Today's Miles:||22.7|
|Starting Location:||Couple miles beyond Bacon Flats Road 3N20||Total Miles:||326.9|
These natural hot springs are very popular and well known. It was nice that the locals showed up later on. When we arrived at the Springs around 9am - Chuckie, Chris, Trevor, Brent and Greg were already there.
I couldn’t believe seeing the green grass and areas of shade under the trees where the hikers were all laying about. There were a number of natural hot springs, all rock bordered a few feet away. They were located on the perimeter of the cool, refreshing lake-like creek.
The hot springs all varied in degree of temperatures. The spring I went into was not as hot as some of the others. I was told the temperature was about 94 degrees. It was great getting into the warm water. I’d just hiked through desert type trail conditions. I was dusty and hot even that early in the morning. I got out of the hot springs and jumped into the colder, lake-like creek water. Oh, it was nice.
I stayed at the hot springs area until the locals started to come around 11am.
It was hot hiking today. Carrying enough water is always a concern. Many people say, “carry a liter for every 5 miles you hike”, others say, “carry a litter for every 3 miles”. The temperature of the day and difficulty of the trail factor into how much water you need. Today I didn’t have enough and found a few noted water sources dried up.
I may be confusing my days, but I think this is the day water appeared in a creek running out from the Mojave Siphon Power Plant. This creek had not been listed in the PCT data book. I walked under the bridge and found water. It was a great surprise. I made dinner by the creek and treated some water. Happiness is finding water when you are down to your last few ounces.
Well fed and rehydrated, I hiked a mile further before I realized the trail was paralleling Silverwood Lake. The sun was down by now and I was tired. I took an off shoot trail in the First Saddle in Silverwood Lake Station Recreation Area and found another sandy beach front in this very secluded cove.
After a swim in the dark and washing a few underclothes, I lay down in my sleeping bag 6 feet from the lakeshore and fell asleep looking up at the Big Dipper.
Just another great day on the trail. There are trail angels and then there is trial magic. This was a trail magic night.
|Tues. May 14, 2002||Days on Trail:||19|
|Destination:||Sharpless Ranch Road 3N29||Today's Miles:||27.7|
|Starting Location:||First Saddle in Silverwood Lake State Rec. Area||Total Miles:||354.6|
Today I hiked my record daily mileage. I’m feeling stronger AND the hiking didn’t have big elevation gain.
It is getting better and today was one of the days where water was a big concern.
The highlight of the day was getting to the I-15 in Cajun Canyon after 17.5 miles of hot, waterless hiking. One half a mile off trail was a McDonald’s. Air conditioned! That’s where Coach and I headed. He wouldn’t have gone there except I wasn’t going to pass up a chocolate shake, Dr. Pepper, and a quarterpounder with fries. Oh boy, that was the delicious.
When we walked in the McDonald’s, Steve and Kathy from Montana, who I never met, were seated at a booth. We walked directly over to them and introduced ourselves. Through hikers have a "look". They’d been sitting there for 2 hours waiting out the heat of the day. They’d left Campo around April 17th.
I called Ray from the pay phone outside and heard about his news of needing an MRI on his shoulder. We were supposed to meet for lunch the next day but he had an appointment for the MRI. We decided to meet next week in Aqua Dulce. We had a nice talk since we were on a pay phone and plenty of time. I had called Ray briefly before, but had been borrowing someone’s cell phone.
While I was on the phone with Ray, Yogi came walking up the empty road. “Gottago” she called. I was happy to see her. She was dehydrated and asked us to watch her pack while she ran over to another store for a juice.
After getting some good fat food and plenty of liquid, I headed off with 5 liters of water to set out for the never-ending next 10 miles – all uphill.
Steve and Kathy also took off up the beginning of the 23 mile waterless mountain climb to Wrightwood.
At about 10pm, I collapsed in my bag. Hiking all this mileage in the night is better than having it ahead of me in the morning.
|Wed. May 15, 2002||Days on Trail:||20|
|Starting Location:||Sharpless Ranch Road 3N29||Total Miles:||371.9|
Today was very difficult. I had no energy. I was worried I was sick. My neck glands felt somewhat sore and swollen. I was afraid the air conditioning in McDonald’s had given me a cold. It couldn’t have been that I’ve been hiking too much without much time off. No! Anyway. I was dragging.
At about 9:30am, I cooked up my last night’s dinner sitting right on the trail. I was out of food and running low on water. After the meal, I did feel better.
On mild uphill, flat, and downhill, which now are part of the days hike, I feel ok. It’s the uphill that slow me considerably, making it difficult for me to breath and keep up my pace.
I didn’t like today’s hike. Especially when I couldn’t find the water that was supposed to be at Guffy Campground. I hiked the last 1-1/2 hours without water.
When I finally reached Hwy. 2 past Wrightwood, I was relieved. I’d hoped to get picked up right away by the first person to drive by. That didn’t happen. 3-4 cars passed without looking my way.
Too many minutes passed without any more cars coming by. I started to walk the 5 miles into town. After 2 miles, a wonderful boy picked me up. He had things on his front seat and suggested I jump into the back of the pickup truck. Little did he know I’d never done this before. I tried to act like it was an easy feat – jumping up into his truck. I have a different outlook on people who are hitchhiking now.
The kind boy dropped me off at the Post Office where I picked up my re-supply package Ray had mailed off to me. I checked into the Crystal Island II Motel. They gave a hiker rate on the room of $55 with tax.
Everything is within a 2 minute walking distance … the Hardware Store, Market, a Coffee Shop - all were conveniently close.
I broke down and got my roots touched up in the beauty salon next door!
I had dinner that night in the restaurant upstairs of the 6-room motel.
I washed out most of my clothes because the town doesn’t have a Laundromat. Other hikers occupied some of the motel rooms too.
The room was great - a comfy bed and big bathroom. Oh, a bed is such a luxury!
|Thurs. May 16, 2002||Days on Trail:||21|
|Starting Location:||Wrightwood||Total Miles:||371.9|
It’s 10:45pm. I’m actually writing my journal on the day. Off and on today I’ve been trying to catch up as best as I could on the last 4 days.
Yogi had come in last night but it wasn’t until this morning that I met up with her. She walked over to my room at 9am. Boy was I happy to see her. She took a zero day today and I decided too also. She’d spent the night in the Pine’s Motel and was ready to make a change. Once she checked out my room, she knew she wanted to move in. I walked over with her while she packed up her belongings.
I called Ray. Believe it or not, I lost my tent 2 days ago at the hot springs. I needed a tent and wasn’t sure any of the hikers would pick up my tent and carry the extra 25 ounces to Wrightwood. Later in the day, other hikers were coming to town. They told me a hiker named Brent had picked up my tent and had it! Lucky me.
But before I knew Brent had my tent, I called Ray to ask if he’d bring my Sierra Design Ultra light CD tent. I also wanted to see Ray.
Ray arrived around 11am with a new tent he purchased at A16 because Kevin, who had my tent (he’d borrowed it), wasn’t to be found. Where were you this morning Kevin? Tee-hee. Thanks again Babe – you always come through for me.
I was proud to show off Ray to Yogi, Restless Wind, and D-Low when we ran into them at Larry’s Coffee Shop. Ray and I had a nice visit. He shared the good news about not needing shoulder surgery.
Today was a day of having hikers come into town, into our room and visit. It felt like camp. It’s fun that we all have rooms next to each other.
Yogi marketed for the next 4 1/2 days worth of food she’ll need. I watched in awe. She is fast. We will be hiking together on the way to Aqua Dulce and meet the famous, #1 Trail Angels “The Saufley’s”.
Our hike tomorrow will include a summit of Baden Powell (9,399 feet).
Some of the hikers in town today are D-Low, Chuckie, Yogi, Restless Wind, Greg, Brent, Steve, Kathy, Load, Goof, Emily, and Patrick.
Everyone today is into eating all the time, bathing, marketing, phoning, and P.O. duties. The PCT register is in the Hardware Store, which is located next to the P.O.
I have enjoyed hanging out today. Yogi and I ate upstairs in the restaurant. Very good food. I watched “Survivor” while Load and Yogi were watching it.
My day has been pre-occupied with trying to put together what happened over the last 4 days when I didn’t write. I hate trying to recreate.
It’s late – 11:17pm. I can’t see the stars tonight, but will again tomorrow.
|Fri. May 17, 2002||Days on Trail:||22|
Trail just before Angeles Crest Hwy. 2 after Williamson Summit Trail
|Starting Location:||Hwy. 2 - Wrightwood||Total Miles:||391|
Today was a good day. I didn’t get to bed and sleep last night until 12:30. I was worried I wouldn’t get enough sleep for today’s hike.
I woke up when I heard Yogi around 6:30am. We had talked about leaving around 8:30 or 9:00am.
I showered and got ready. Restless Wind and D-Low, from the next room over, knocked on the door. We all went for breakfast. As we walked into the Coffee Shop there was Cupcake sitting at the back table with his Palm Pilot and keyboard. He’d hiked the day before from I-15 to Wrightwood using the Acorn Trail to get to Wrightwood. I don’t think he knew about walking past Wrightwood 5 miles where you run into Hwy. 2 and can hitch back into town. Coming down the Acorn Trail you lose 2,500 feet in elevation and then, of course, when you get back on the trail, you have to gain the elevation back.
After breakfast I went to the Post Office with Yogi where I mailed my journal pages. We needed a ride back to Hwy. 2. Yogi and I had gotten off the trail there to get to Wrightwood. We had a list of trail angel names I got out of the PCT register at the Hardware Store yesterday. These angels list their names and phone numbers to be of service to the through hikers.
We thought we’d try hitching first. Restless Wind saw us hitching and figured we might get a ride so he joined us, hoping like we were, to get back to the trailhead for an early start. People were passing us by because most were going somewhere local in town. Julie, our newest trail angel, was driving her big SUV going the opposite way we wanted to go. She saw us and said “oh, what the heck” and turned off the road to stop for us. She drove out of her way back to where we wanted to go 5 miles out of town. We were all overjoyed and very grateful.
Once on the trail, I felt at home again. My feet and hands had swollen terribly while in town eating all the food I ate. The swelling is typical while in town. I’m forcing myself to eat, and so is Yogi, because we are getting too thin.
The beginning of today’s hike, the first 4-1/2 miles, went by very fast. It was a sunny day. Not too hot and a little breezy.
The 4 mile hike up to Baden Powell (9,399 feet) was something I’d not been looking forward to. We had started the day at an elevation of 7,386 feet. We went down to 6,585 before we climbed to Baden Powell. The 2,800 elevation gain was a grind but not as bad as I had anticipated.
I like hiking with Yogi. She takes time to take pictures, she stopped to sit on the bench along the trail, and her pace is almost mine. She is a minute or so faster a mile than I, but, like me, she slows for the uphills. Today I felt relaxed hiking. I was hiking within myself.
We started hiking at 9am. By 1:10pm we were on the summit of Baden Powell taking pictures and having lunch. Restless Wind hiked ahead of us all day but we ended up together for lunch, when we filtered water, for dinner, and we are now all camping together.
I was amazed how fast the day went by. We ate dinner around 5:30pm at Little Jimmy Campground. I had the dehydrated stew that I made from a recipe that Scott & Rachel had posted to their site.
I was glad we stopped to eat before we continued hiking. We had a 1.6 mile, 1,300 feet climb coming up. The energy I got from my dinner got me up to the Mount Williamson Summit Trail in 55 minutes! 1-1/3 miles later we ended our day as the sun had set 10 minutes before. We were lucky to find an area large enough and flat enough to allow the 3 of us a relatively level campsite.
It’s 9:10pm. I wrote my journal and I’m real tired. (Yogi had yelled over from her tent while I was brushing my teeth “Gottago … don’t forget your journal entry!”.)
|Sat. May 18, 2002||Days on Trail:||23|
|Destination:||Near Pacifico Mountain Campground||Today's Miles:||22.6|
|Starting Location:||Past Williamson Summit Trail||Total Miles:||413.6|
Up at 6am. Yogi was ready to go and started hiking at 6:20. Restless Wind was getting ready to leave when I hiked off at 6:40.
Another great day. Sunny but not too hot. I caught up to Yogi at Little Rock Creek a few miles out. She was washing out her socks and collecting a quart of water. I hiked by after I filled a quart bottle. Within a couple of miles at the Burkhart Trail Junction, I made a wrong turn and hiked a mile before I knew something was wrong. I wasn’t very happy about my mistake. I really needed to hike an extra 2 miles today!
Back on track, I felt good, but couldn’t relax much with lots of uphill in front of me on my way to Cloudburst Summit.
I passed Restless Wind relaxing under the shade of a tree. It was good to see him and confirm I was on the PCT trail.
The last reliable water source for a long time was at Glen Camp. As I approached the unoccupied building, I noticed backpacks on the porch and 2 other packs near the trail. This made me happy because the first pack I recognized was Yogi’s. Because of my wrong turn earlier, I thought she’d be more than an hour ahead of me and I wouldn’t see her until the end of the day if she took a short lunch break. Bill and Nick were at the building too. They had somehow gotten inside the locked building. The book had said that there was water here. But there wasn’t. The tank off to the left a little up the road was empty too.
Once inside, there was a very large metal container next to the kitchen sink. It had a spigot where the water inside it came out. We were all lucky that this container did have enough water for all of us to fill up with the quantities we thought we’d need for the next 17 waterless miles. Yogi and I drank one quart there after we treated it and then filled 5 more liters to carry with us.
Yogi pointed out the rat or mice poop all over the kitchen counter next to this container. She also called to my attention that the top of the container was open where one corner was bent back. She talked about the fact that there could be a dead mouse floating inside in the water. Wonderful thought! I hoped my Aqua Mira treatment would also treat whatever disease drinking contaminated dead mouse water could cause!
Our packs felt very heavy with all the extra water, but I’m glad I had/have it.
We stopped at 5pm and used some of the water to make our dinners. I couldn’t finish my dinner (a note to myself: the spaghetti sauce dinner quantity needs to be reduced) and I asked Yogi what she thought about burying leftover food. I never do that but thought maybe just this once I would if Yogi answered the way I wanted her to. She didn’t though. She said that she carries her leftovers out with her garbage. So I was good and carried my leftover food too.
We hiked another 3-1/2 miles after dinner before finding our campsite for the night. It’s breezy here but my tent is protecting me.
Midday today we passed the 400 mile point! Wow!
Sleep – 8:30pm.
|Sun. May 19, 2002||Days on Trail:||24|
|Destination:||North Fork Saddle Ranger Station||Today's Miles:||23.1|
|Starting Location:||Near Pacifico Mountain Campground||Total Miles:||436.5|
This morning I woke up at 5:10am. I’d asked Yogi to wake me when she got up. She wanted to start hiking by 6:30am and I wanted to be ready to take off with her.
I like to eat my cereal (granola mixed in a baggie with dried fruit and dried milk) before I start hiking. I keep my spoon in my fanny pack so I’m not always looking for it. While I’m eating, I go over the day’s mileage and water locations.
It takes me about 45 minutes from the time I get up until I’m packed and ready to hike. The fastest I’ve gone from waking to hiking was 20 minutes. But I don’t like moving that fast.
We were cold getting packed up this morning. The wind was blowing hard and the sun wasn’t up high enough yet. We wore extra clothes to begin hiking, which we had to remove 10 minutes later after some uphill hiking and full sun. The day remained quite breezy but comfortable.
Yogi and I hiked the six miles to Mill Creek where the data book said we’d find water. The water fountain had no handle on it. We were concerned because the PCT guidebook mentioned that this was the last reliable source of water for 17 miles. Yogi walked over to the parking lot. A woman named Linda gave us her gallon of emergency water from the trunk of her car. Linda was part of a running group - The High Desert Runners Club - doing a 16-mile training run this morning. She had arrived after the others in the group had taken off. How fortunate for Yogi and me. Linda’s generosity made our day.
The hiking trails today were very well maintained, as have most been, but the hiking seemed easier, even going uphill. There was lots of up and down, not just all up and then all down. Watching the runners coming back from their turn around point at 8 miles was a great distraction for a while.
By 11am we had hiked 12 miles. Yogi was a bit ahead of me, out of sight. I came to a point in the trail before Mount Gleason where the trail went 2 different ways. The trial on my right seemed like the dominant trail so I took it. I got into self-doubt about a mile up it, and came back down to check out the other trail. The other trail didn’t look right either. I finally took out my compass and map of the trail and followed the heading. Duh! I was daydreaming and not following the data sheet or guidebook description and had no idea where I was.
Back on the trail, before I saw a PCT trail marker, I noticed a note Coach had left for Phil. That made me feel more confident I was on the right trail.
The rest of the afternoon I enjoyed my hike. It seemed easy. I took many pictures of the surrounding cities and mountains. I’d like to come back here and hike these trails again. I remember Pat (Yeo) telling me about Messenger Flat trailhead which I passed. Actually, earlier in the day, there was a woman who looked like Pat from afar. I got so excited thinking it might be Pat.
By 4:10pm I arrived at the Ranger’s Station. Restless Wind was there (he hadn’t slept with us last night), and the couple with their dog I met at ADZ on the 26th. Yogi had just come out of the shower. Todd, the Ranger, lets people use his shower. I went in next to clean up. What a great treat hot water, soap and shampoo are after 3 days on the trail.
Another man named Ray is here. He had to stop his hike in this area and is just now resuming it again. Yogi, Ray and I sat at the windy, very windy, picnic table and made dinner. The big question for Yogi and I was “Do we hike the 5 miles needed tonight to find a level camp spot or stay in the Ranger’s campground for the night?” Yogi wanted to watch the last episode of “Survivor” on the Ranger’s TV and I wanted to get warm in my tent and sleeping bag. I’m looking forward to a long sleep tonight.
Grasshopper just came in to camp. He’s using the shower and I guess Yogi, Grasshopper, Ray and Todd are hanging out in the Ranger’s living room. I’m in my cave, very happy!
It’s 7:33pm, bedtime. 28.4 miles until the Saufley’s (trail angels).
|Mon. May 20, 2002||Days on Trail:||25|
|Destination:||Saufley’s, Aqua Dulce (Ray picked me up at 5pm for a night @ home)||Today's Miles:||18.4|
|Starting Location:||North Fork Saddle Ranger Station||Total Miles:||454.9|
Because I was shivering from the cold wind, I wore too many layers under my rain top and bottom. Within 10 minutes of hiking, I was so sopping wet under my rain gear from all the perspiration. I should have stopped sooner before my under layers got so wet. I’m learning though. I have to be willing to start my morning hike feeling cold because I always warm up within 5 minutes of hiking. It was a good lesson for what I don’t want to do when I’m in Washington’s multi-rain days climate. I only have a few extra changes of clothes. So dressing properly is important. We took off some more under layers and walked in shorts and rain jackets.
Yogi and I walked fast. We left at 6am and got to Aqua Dulce by 12:30. We had to hike fast to warm our cold bodies. The rain was intermittent, but consistent enough to keep us wet all over. The wind never ceased. At times it was hard to stand up straight. I walked bent over trying to cut efficiently through the wind.
I looked forward to the uphill hiking. Pumping my arms with the hiking poles to help push me uphill warmed my body.
I ate often on the downhills for warmth and energy. I wanted to put on my gloves because my hands were cold, but my fingers wouldn’t work to open the zipper on my rain jacket where my gloves were. I haven’t been this cold ever I don’t think.
As soon as we walked under the 14 Freeway tunnel, the rain stopped and we started to dry out. Vasquez Rocks is a beautiful area. I was fascinated with the light play on the rocks when the sun broke through the dark clouds. The lighting was perfect. I hope some of my photos turn out. I kept shooting always.
We walked from the Vasquez Rocks recreation area to Aqua Dulce along the main street. The street is the trail. We walked immediately to the small market. Yogi and I bought a soda and bag of potato chips. A man named Gary, another trail angel, pulled up and asked if we were headed over to the Saufleys’? We said “yes”. I then asked him if he would be willing to take us over there. He drove us the mile to Donna and Jeff’s Hiker Oasis.
Donna and Jeff Saufley started taking in PCT hikers on May 31, 1997. Donna and Jeff tell their story of how being trail angels began for the hikers that stay at their home. They have a beautiful home and guesthouse. The garage is filled with the re-supply boxes sent to the hikers. Jeff is in charge of the fine and orderly way they are all layed out. Donna does all the hikers laundry and takes pride in how clean the clothes look AND smell. She takes a pair of socks – holds them up to her nose – smells them and smiles and says “Ahhhhhh!” They have an electric business company called Saufley Electric. There are shelves of extra shirts, sweats and T-shirts, all labeled with their company name available to the hikers to wear while at their home.
The hikers have computer access from their guest house. It has a kitchen, living room, bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and computer availability. Outside also available are large tents set up, an RV, and inflatable mattresses all over. Donna says she has the capacity to house 32 hikers at one time!
We use the patio area for BBQing, backyard for baseball, and there are tables and chairs all over. Needless to say – we have all the comforts of home.
I called Ray though and asked if he’d come pick me up and bring me home for a night. He came by to get me after his shoulder therapy session around 5pm.
On the way home, I called Debbie on Ray’s cell phone and felt connected and centered again.
We stopped at Sharkey’s, 2 minutes from home, to pick up dinner. Surprise, Surprise – Jaime and Linda R. were eating there!
At home, I showered, ate, washed everything I had, and went to the Monday Night Meeting to see my friends and sponsees. It was great seeing Milly, Marion, Pat and Vince, Cindy, Debbie, Kathy, Carla, Vicki, and Tina who I’d called to ask if she’d like to come by for a quick visit.
I was so tired but couldn’t sleep. Ray and I were up until midnight.
|Tues. May 21, 2002||Days on Trail:||26|
|Destination:||Saufley’s, Aqua Dulce||Today's Miles:||0|
|Starting Location:||Otis Ave. (Tarzana – my home)||Total Miles:||454.9|
Baked cookies for Yogi and the other hikers, took inventory of all my gear. I added a painter’s drop cloth for a ground sheet (hoping I won’t have to use my tent, I’ll put the ground cloth under my sleeping pad and sleeping bag). I spent some time checking out Yogi’s journal. There are a number of hikers who have journals under Trailjournals.com. (Look under PCT 2002).
It was great being with Ray, but I wanted to get back to the Saufley’s and the trail. Most hikers are staying at the Saufley’s another day. Many more, 8 or so, hiked in today.
Before returning to the Saufley’s, Ray and I went to see the movie “Unfaithful”. I finally had my popcorn I’d been dreaming of. What a movie. A must see! On the way home, I couldn’t resist stopping in at A16 to see my friends. The manager, Kevin, had hiked the first 3 days from Campo with me.
Ray brought me back to the Saufley’s around 5pm. He and I watched some of Cupcake’s great video movies he made while on the trail. I’m so impressed with Cupcake and his talent with photography.
Tonight at the Saufley’s was so special. This was the night that Donna and Jeff told their story of how they became trail angels. We all gathered outside around the patio tables while they shared for over an hour on how Donna risked taking in some first hikers she had met at the local pizza restaurant in 1997. She’d been out alone at the Pizza Restaurant, her husband Jeff was out supposedly overnight at a bachelor party. She watched these grungy hikers in the restaurant for a long time. After talking to them, she’d taken pity on them and invited them back to her house, the guesthouse, to stay for the night. She was intrigued and a bit frightened. She talked for hours, asking them many questions. It dawned on her that she really didn’t know them. So when she went to bed she quietly, without wanting them to hear her, locked all her doors and windows.
Jeff came home unexpectedly from the party, quite drunk. He couldn’t figure out why all the doors were locked when they are usually open. He decided to sleep in the guesthouse, but was surprised to find the room filled with bodies.
I’ve abbreviated the great story they both told about 30 of us. I got quite emotional listening to them and knowing what a great feeling it must be for them to be of such great service to over 1,000 people since they started offering their home.
They say that about 205 people will probably come by this season. 500 probably started. The word is that if the thruhikers make it to the Saufley’s in Aqua Dulce that they will have a good shot at finishing the trail. About half of the 205 will make it to Canada!
I took lots of pictures of the Saufley’s, the people here, and their home. Can you tell I had a blast? 11:09pm.
|Wed. May 22, 2002||Days on Trail:||27|
Lake Canyon Rd. 7N09 (Joe & Terri Anderson’s)
|Starting Location:||Saufley’s, Aqua Dulce||Total Miles:||485.2|
OK, now I’m writing today’s journal. I woke up early and left the Saufley’s by 6am. I walked the .9 mile to Aqua Dulce Canyon Rd. to get back on my PCT hike. The trail leaving Aqua Dulce is the same main road we entered on. It’s kind of neat hiking by the locals driving by. It was a cool, clear sky, beautiful morning. I ate my breakfast of granola, dry out of the bag, as I walked.
Today, for the first time in a long time, I’m leaving alone to hike. It felt good. I used my guidebook directions to get me back on the dirt trail. I passed Ray, who the day before just started back up hiking the PCT where he left off the previous year. I then ran into Long Drink, I think he is doing a 2-week section hike of the PCT.
After a couple of hours, Larry came up from behind me. We actually ended up hiking the day together. Not always hiking with each other, because he was faster than I was. But we stopped and had a snack break at the first Joe-and-Terri-Anderson-from-Green-Valley water stash. I didn’t have to carry much water through today’s 23 mile water alert area because of the kindness of their trail magic.
Later, after 16 miles, I found Larry seated in a neat little private tree-bordered room off trail. Another Joe-and-Terri water stash! Joe was there and offered (insisted) that we come stay at his house that night. They live at the 23 mile mark for the day’s hike. I had wanted to do a 30-mile day because I wanted to see what one would feel like and Larry had said earlier he was up to it too. I didn’t want to quit at the 23-mile mark. Joe wasn’t going to take no for an answer. He told Larry and me he would come pick us up where the trail crossed the road on Lake Hughes Road and bring us back to his house for dinner.
We said goodbye to Joe and had to hike fast to get in the remaining 14 miles that would get us our desired 30. We set 8pm as the time he’d come by at the trailhead to pick us up.
The day’s hike had rolling ups and downs and low passes, but for the most part it was an easy trail. I felt great until the last 2 miles. Then my left calf and left gluteus maximus muscle said “no more”. I was happy to see and arrive at Lake Hughes Road by 7:30pm.
Larry was seated and smiling with a camera in hand to take a picture of my dragging body.
Terri and Joe pulled up at 8pm and drove us the 20 minutes back to their home. Three other hikers had hiked the 1-1/2 miles to their house from the Green Valley trailhead at the 23 mile mark. They were Black Hawk & Strawberry Girl, and Brian.
Terri made us all pre-dinner snacks and then a spaghetti and meatball dinner. Their kids were around watching TV or in their rooms playing. Brittany, their beautiful daughter, was always available to help out with one of our needs.
The Anderson’s love being trail angels. He’s in the movie business, set dresser on “Jag”, and is on hiatus usually during the through hiker season. We all can’t believe how lucky we are to benefit from their kindness.
I showered and washed my clothes. Black Hawk & Strawberry Girl slept on the living room floor. Larry took one couch, I the other. We were all very tired by the time we got in our bags. I can’t remember the time, but I’m sure it was after 11pm.
|Thurs. May 23, 2002||Days on Trail:||28|
|Destination:||Jack Fair’s House||Today's Miles:||31|
Lake Canyon Rd. 7N09
(Joe & Terri Anderson’s)
I started hiking at 9am. Because of Joe and Terri’s trail magic, I didn’t have to carry lots of water. Larry hiked off and I never saw him, or anyone, until about 5pm.
I was deep in thought most of the day which helped me with the almost 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The day was warm, the scenery beautiful. It was hard knowing others had taken an alternate route that cut out 26 miles of mountainous ups and downs. Also that feeling that others are gaining days on me continues to drive me on. I know this isn’t a race, but I am, unfortunately, a born competitor. I can’t measure up pace-wise, but I can put in the miles.
Larry had stopped at the water tank. I didn’t see him there and walked by looking for the water stash Joe had told me about at the Liebre Mountain Truck trail, where 2 truck trails come together. I didn’t find it.
Larry came up behind me and we talked about being short on water. We decided we had to hike the 31 miles to Jack Fair’s house. Jack is deceased. I believe he died last year. As a matter fact, leaving his house and passing by a neighbor’s house the next day, I was told they just had Jack’s memorial last week.
Jack’s house is closed up, but hikers still go by for the water as they did in past years. I remember hearing he was quite a character. When Larry and I finally reached his house on Hwy. 138, I noticed all the funny sayings over the water tank, the garage, and on an outside smaller building. Because it was 11pm when we arrived at his house, all we did before we crashed in a corner outside his garage was get water.
The next morning I walked all over the property taking photos. I felt as if I was at a movie star’s home. He was a famous trail angel. I’m sorry I never got to meet him. All the neighbors know about the hikers coming and going at all hours of the day or night.
|Fri. May 24, 2002||Days on Trail:||29|
mile before Saddle overlooking Gamble Spring Canyon
|Starting Location:||Hwy. 138 – Jack Fair’s House||Total Miles:||541|
At 7:10am Patrick appeared from the backyard ready to begin hiking. He’d slept in the back corner of the property under some border trees to avoid the wind.
By 7:30 Larry and I took off. After a few steps, Larry knew his blisters were in need of attention and rest. He hitched into Mojave.
I talked to a few friendly neighbors as I headed out to the LA Aqua Duct for my hot, shadeless, day-long hike.
Only an hour into my hike, Black Hawk’s mother’s friend, Bruce, drove by asking about Strawberry Girl and Black Hawk. He was bringing them their food re-supply. Bruce offered me a cold Gatorade, but I didn’t need one yet.
Today’s hiking was not very fun. I was hot and there wasn’t much scenery.
I found shade under a Joshua tree, after 10 miles, to have a bite to eat. Bruce drove by again, and this time I took him up on his cold Gatorade offer. He drove up ahead to give Patrick, who was 2 miles up the road, a cold drink also. He said he’d be back in 20 minutes. I took advantage of knowing Bruce would be driving by again and unloaded extra food and trash. Bruce was kind and took about 1-1/2 lbs. of my unwanted weight. I got a cold water too.
At 4pm I reached the horse trough at the Cottonwood Creek Bridge. Patrick was taking a break from the shade and was asleep until I must have awakened him. We got our water supply ready for the ascent of the Tehachapi Mountains. It seemed to be getting hotter and the wind, the little there had been, stopped. It was 92 degrees.
Patrick said he isn’t a fast hiker, however he took off and I never saw him again. His motivation to hike until midnight was to get to the Tehachapi Post Office before it closed the next day, Saturday. His girlfriend was coming to see him too.
I hiked up to Tylerhorse Canyon Creek, had dinner, and hiked another 2 miles before I found a beautiful campsite looking down on Lancaster’s city lights. The moon was out and full. I’d just witnessed the most beautiful sunset. I layed out my sleeping bag with perfect viewing of the Big Dipper. It was 8pm and I was looking forward to a fast, deep sleep. These last 25 miles seemed harder than the previous (2) 31’ers I did!
|Sat. May 25, 2002||Days on Trail:||30|
|Destination:||Mojave – Willow Springs Road||Today's Miles:||14.1|
mile before Saddle overlooking Gamble Spring Canyon
I had 14 miles to Willow Springs Road. I had 7 or so miles of more uphill and then I descended down past my first wind turbines.
When I got to Willow Springs Road, I got out my “PCT Hiker To Town” sign I have in a baggie. (The other side says “PCT Hiker To Trail”).
I’m not comfortable hitchhiking, but I do it. I started hitching at 1pm and shortly thereafter, Louise, from Tehachapi, and headed to Tehachapi, passed by me and turned back around to ask me where I was going. She’s a hiker too. I couldn’t believe she was willing to drive me into Mojave when she was headed 9 miles the other way into Tehachapi. She dropped me off at the White’s Motel where I’d shipped my re-supply box.
All the while we were driving to Mojave, she was selling Tehachapi as a better town and a better place to find a hitch to the trailhead the next morning. I was going to drive to Tehachapi with her after I picked up my food if White’s Motel wouldn’t drive me to the trailhead by 6am the next day. When I asked the lady behind the desk for my re-supply box, she said “Oh, Linda Jeffers – your husband is outside right over there!”
I couldn’t believe it! Ray had driven to Mojave, worked out exactly when I’d arrive, and delivered my badly needed new boots he’d said he would send to Kennedy Meadows.
He is my very own special trail angel, who not only supports me always, but also anticipates my needs before I know I have them.
AND … he also did my laundry while I was talking to Julie, LE (Luxury Edition), a female through hiker traveling with her husband, John. She was taking a few days off because of some tendon problems.
Then Ray came back to the Motel with my clean clothes and some duct tape I’d mentioned I needed. (I used all I had on my old boots trying to keep the sand from going into the opening seam.) He then wrapped my trekking poles with some of the tape for another time I might need the tape.
I feel bad. Ray’s not doing great. Being on hiatus and not able to play golf is hard. His shoulder problem is causing him lots of frustration.
I mentioned, “Today was Day 30 of my trip and wasn’t the time passing quickly?” He said “Not for me”.
Well, I’m caught up. We have a wake up call for 4:30am. It’s 11pm. Good night. No Big Dipper tonight.
|Sun. May 26, 2002||Days on Trail:||31|
|Destination:||1 mile past Golden Oaks Springs||Today's Miles:||25.8|
|Starting Location:||Willow Springs Road||Total Miles:||580.8|
Last night I finally finished bringing my journal current at 11:30pm. I was all packed up and ready for our 4:30 wake up call. I was looking forward to my 5 hours of sleep until I realized Dr. Pepper has caffeine in it! I could not get to sleep for a long time. At 11pm I finally scribbled a 12th Wedding Anniversary note to Ray on the card I had put in my re-supply box. I was so tired I’m sure he felt slighted by my lack of sentiment.
I got ready in the morning by 5am and Ray dropped me back off at the trailhead on Willow Springs, across from the trailhead I had exited the day before. (5/31-just talked to Ray to wish him a Happy 12th Wedding Anniversary. He said that as he pulled away the morning he left, that I looked so lonely heading out on the trail that day.)
It was fun starting so early. At 5:30, while the sun was just coming up, I started hiking. It was cool, but I hike better when it’s cool. Today’s hike was through miles of wind turbines. I think I’ve had enough of their whirring noise. I got off trail when I followed one of the many wild horse horse-trails. Another half an hour lost. Boy does that make me mad when I lose time and mileage.
I think today, for the first time, I feel like I am really hiking the PCT and that I can do it alone, without the security of hiking with other more experienced hikers. I also noticed today that now that I’m past Los Angeles, and moving farther from L.A., I feel as if I’m really out here on my own.
Yesterday I talked to Mike Hahn. He is going to join me hiking on the trail from June 3rd late or June 4th early. He’ll wait for me at Chicken Spring Lake, just a little ways past Cottonwood Pass. Mike will park his car at Horseshoe Meadow and hike the 3-1/2 miles up Cottonwood Pass. We will have lots of time from when we meet until we meet Ray at the trail junction of the PCT and Kearsarge Pass. Ray will be bringing in, backpacking in, my re-supply food. Tina will be joining Ray (a good training hike for Tina’s John Muir Trail trip this summer). Mike will leave the trail the 9th with Ray and Tina. I wonder if Mike will summit Whitney? We’ll have time. I don’t think I will. The last time I summited Whitney, I remember having said, “3 times is enough!” While Mike is with me we’ll be doing around 15 miles a day.
Oh, can’t forget to mention ... Angela (Lark) is married now!! I can’t wait to hear about their wedding day.
Ok, back to my day on the trail. The first 8 miles were up and down, pretty easy. I ran some cows off the trail by my presence.
Once I crossed the busy Hwy. 58, the tough hiking began. It was hot and I had elevation gains from 3,780 ft. to 6,120 ft., often. I had 16 miles to walk to Golden Oaks Springs without a water source. So I was carrying a full 6-day food weight plus 4 liters of water. Not a happy camper!
I was a couple of hours on the never-ending switchbacks when I noticed 2 day hikers coming up behind me. John and Will. Son-in-law and Father-in-law, who want to hike more of the PCT. This was a training hike for a section hike they have coming up. They took lunch with me at 11am. We had a nice hour long visit. Will enjoyed looking at my maps and liked the descriptions of the trail in the PCT guidebook I refer to. John noticed me eyeing his beautiful orange and offered me a large section. What a treat.
The day’s hiking was hard for me. There was a lot of uphill. I also felt sleepy. I took another 30 minute break after a long uphill stretch. It’s hard for me to stop – I feel as if I’m getting behind.
I hiked alone until later in the day when Liz & Simon hiked by me racing to get water at Golden Oaks Springs. They’d only brought 2 liters, thinking there would be a re-supply at Hwy. 58, but there was no water there.
Liz & Simon, myself, and Lee & Ann all ate dinner at the water source – Golden Oaks Springs. Both couples started earlier than I, around the 16th and 18th of April. I’d never met Lee & Ann. Both couples are very nice. Lee & Ann are in their early 20’s. They graduated with geology degrees. They are mountaineers (need I say, they hike much faster than I). But, Lee carries more pack weight than Ann because she is smaller than he is. Ray – are you reading this? Liz & Simon Willis are in their early 40’s. He is a news broadcaster for the BBC in Scotland. They are a most interesting couple.
I left and hiked another mile to this sheltered spot I found down the trail. I’m out of the wind and hidden in the trees. Simon & Liz noticed my spot when they walked by and said “Great spot”. I have my tent up because Simon had been reading in the guidebook about mountain lions. I also have the tent up because I have my food in here with me. I hope I can sleep. I have a rock in my cook pot to rattle if I hear a bear. I also brought one of my hiking poles inside in case I have to poke out the bear’s eye or something.
That’s it. I’m dead. It’s 8:49pm. I hiked from 5:30am to 5:30pm. No Dipper tonight!
|Mon. May 27, 2002||Days on Trail:||32|
mile before Pirate Mountain Road (Summit of Harris Grade)
|Starting Location:||1 mile past Golden Oaks Springs||Total Miles:||607|
It’s 8:27pm as I’m writing. It’s almost dark. I’m camped by the trail by a massive boulder that is under slung where I’m nestled under it in some soft sand. I’m scared though. I know there are bears up here. After I set up my area with my sleeping bag, I noticed some large animal had made himself a nice soft sandy sleeping area one night. Had I seen this before I got all set up, I would have moved on. I didn’t hang my food. I put the ursack bag up on top of another group of boulders. I placed rocks on top of the bag so I’d hear if an animal was trying to steal my food. I wonder if I’d be courageous enough to try and scare off a bear. By my bag, real close, I have a pile of rocks (to throw at the bear of course) and my cook pot filled with rocks (to shake it and scare off Mr. Bear). I also have my trekking poles nearby. Maybe I should get out my knife and sleep with it in my hand. What am I doing out here, all by myself, without my bear canister? I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep?
I felt “off” today. Everything seemed hard and I was out of breath often. The beginning of my day was a lot of uphill. I’m finally away from all the wind turbines!
I enjoyed the new scenery. I was in forest often and had views east and west of the surrounding, familiar by name only, areas. Often I viewed the Owens Valley White Mountains and the high Sierra. Most of the time my head was down, trudging up another uphill. I watched the ants. There were black ones and red ones. They were all very busy. I watched the cow pies (poop). Most were old but some were newly deposited. I wondered if I’d run into some cattle. I did later in the day. It was fun watching them watch me. They were nice and held position long enough for me to get some photos before they ran off. But I wondered why the cattle would want to hang out in an area where they had to climb up the killer trail?
Around Noon Liz & Simon came up behind me. We talked about having dinner early at Robin Bird Springs.
When we got to the springs, Lee & Ann were there. We all filtered or treated water, washed out socks, shirts, and undies, and had dinner. I washed up a bit and that felt great. Everything you wash dries in no time at all. But anything like wool socks gets hung on the back of my pack secured by safety pins to dry.
I’m getting so thin my body is bruising from my pack. I need to include more fat in my food re-supplies. Olive oil, cheese, and peanut butter are what others add to their food. I’m concerned about my body eating my muscle. When I mentioned I’m having trouble keeping weight on, someone said, “Maybe you should cut your mileage down.” Right!
Well, it’s time to see if I can relax enough to fall asleep. It’s 8:53pm. I hope when I turn out my head lamp, roll over, and look up at the stars, I’ll drift off into a deep sleep, and not hear any of the sounds the wind is making.
|Tues. May 28, 2002||Days on Trail:||33|
with a Westward Orientation (2.5 miles past Bird Spring Pass)
mile before Pirate Mountain Road (Summit of Harris Grade)
This morning I started hiking at 6:15am. I’d carried 5 liters of water from Robin Bird Springs for today’s hike and still had 4+ liters so I took off.
Oh, I forgot to mention that just before camp last night, I scared this jackrabbit and he started running before me on the trail. I’ve never seen one before and couldn’t believe how big he was. His ears were enormous. It was exciting.
This morning as I started hiking, I scared a fawn off from the side of the trail. These are the moments I love about hiking – all the animals. I spent a couple of minutes watching a hawk circle above real close by. I refrained from taking a “Where’s Waldo” photo. I was sure the hawk was going to dive for some prey. But I moved on. Gottago!
At 8:30am I reached a water cache left by Mary Barcik of Weldon. This was the first of two very needed water caches she maintains for the PCT hikers. It was listed as a 10 gallon cache (it looked like more) in the water alert report that we all received from the Saufley’s in Aqua Dulce. The report contained all the water sources between Aqua Dulce and Hwy. 58 (Tehachapi) and another report between Hwy. 58 (Cameron Road) and Kennedy Meadows.
Since I left Mojave, every day has been a day when I’ve had to carry at least 4 liters, and more like 5 liters.
Today’s hike was hard because for most of the day I was hiking in deep sand. Another reason it was hard was the trail had many dips, every 3-4 feet. You walk down a foot in the dip in the deep sand and then up and back down again 3 feet later. I think this trail condition is caused by biker’s use, which is posted all the time as ‘forbidden’. I’m not sure though, I just know it’s very hard to hike on this kind of trail.
I took an early lunch under a Joshua tree. I took off my boots and socks, and put my feet up while my socks were drying on a yucca and cat’s claw plants.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, Ann & Lee walked by on the trail. I was somewhat concealed from them. I called to Ann, which scared her. I asked Lee to take a picture of me. They hiked on but told me John, who used to be called Cheddarhead and is now called Cheese, was not far behind them. I said “Hello” as Cheese walked by. I packed up, got back on the trail, and ran into the 3 of them 40 minutes later eating their lunches under Joshua trees. It was warm today, in the low 80’s. There was a breeze at times. But when going uphill for long periods of time, I lost a lot of water through all the sweating.
I ran into Ann, Lee and John an hour later while I was changing my socks and we spent the rest of the day together. Feet care is important. I’m lucky. I don’t have blisters.
We all ate dinner around 5pm at Mary’s second water cache at Bird Spring Pass. We then hiked up 1,100 feet of 2.4 miles to where we are now camped. It’s listed in the PCT data book on Pg. 37 as “ridge with a westward orientation”. It’s a beautiful spot. We’ll get the morning sun. I took lots of pictures of us all in our campground. It’s fun being with everyone tonight. We are all in just our sleeping bags. It’s quite warm even though there is an occasional gust of wind. Dan offered to boil water for tea. A perfect end to a good day.
P.S. I had more energy today. I wonder if I was PMS the last two days when I felt like hiking was a chore?
Time to look at the stars. 9:23pm!
|Wed. May 29, 2002||Days on Trail:||34|
|Destination:||1+ miles short of the Jenkins Owens Saddle||Today's Miles:||25.4|
with a Westward Orientation (2.5 miles past Bird Spring Pass)
Up with first light (5:15ish). The morning getting-ready-to-leave begins always with a ‘nature call’. I came back and got back in my sleeping bag and reviewed the trail description, map and data book. This takes a maximum of 10 minutes. I’ve usually slept in my shorts and underpants, so I only have to change into my bra and white sun shirt (everyone always comments on how clean I look … I’m not, but the white shirt makes it look like I am clean, I guess.) While in my bag, I reach for my toothbrush and paste – brush; get my hairbrush, quickly brush - put it in a ponytail, and quickly put on my hat. I use Wet Ones to wash my face. I take my (way too many) pills. I couldn’t do this hike without Vioxx! And then I pack everything up. This is usually a 45 minute – beginning to end – proposition. Wet Ones Rule by the way. I use them often. Tina, don’t forget to take them with you.
I used all the above filler because I can’t remember much of the day. I do remember we were all excited about finally getting to Walker Pass and the campground where there is water, pumped water! I get clean water! Walker Pass Campground is a little over 17 miles from the start of today’s hike.
It was a hot day. Everyone was beat. John (Cheese), Ann & Lee, and I, as I said, I think, all camped together. John had a headache when he woke up and hiked off later than we did. We hiked separately (Ann & Lee and me) so when I reached Walker Pass Campground around 1:30, they were already at the water pump washing up. We took an area by a nice shaded picnic area. As I walked over to them, I noticed Simon & Liz sleeping under a large shady tree. They were out! We had wondered where they were. We hadn’t seen them all day, but had heard them come up the hill by our camp the previous night.
Liz & Simon woke up a little later. We all washed clothes, ate, and waited out the heat of the day until about 4pm.
I left first to resume hiking. As I came to the Walker Pass Hwy, I noticed 4 Sheriffs and another man off the side of the Hwy. right in front of my trail sign. As I walked between them all to get in the trail, they asked me where I was coming from and going to. They were smiling and most interested in my journey. After more questions they said maybe they should tell me what was going on. It seems a man had gone off his medication, hiked into the mountains, made a cell phone call to the authorities telling them he was without water and not doing well. It seems this man had done this before. They had called in a helicopter and search & rescue. The Sheriff said to me “Maybe you want to wait a while until we find him, unless it will throw you off schedule, that is.” I told the Sheriff I was only hiking another 7 miles up the trail tonight. The Sheriff thought the man was about 19 miles in. So I carried on, but not before I remembered I had many days of trash I couldn’t throw away at the Walker Pass Campground. The kind Sheriff took my trash. Ounces count!
The evening hike was up and more up. But it’s cooler in the night. I felt good and kept going but realized at around 8:30pm as I was on the narrow mountain trail, crossing fields, and with 1,000 foot drop offs, going in and out of ravines and canyons - that I needed to find a spot to throw down my sleeping bag. At 9pm I got lucky. There was a down slope finger of a ridge, just perfect. I could see west and east. It was a penthouse suite and I didn’t even have to pay for it. It turned out Simon & Liz stopped one ridge behind me, and Lee & Ann a bit farther back.
A good night’s sleep I had.
|Thurs. May 30, 2002||Days on Trail:||35|
|Destination:||1-1/2 miles short of Trail Summit||Today's Miles:||25.5|
|Starting Location:||+ miles short of the Jenkins Owens Saddle||Total Miles:||680.5|
I started hiking at 6am and Simon & Liz came up behind me minutes after I began. We hiked together for a while, talking a bit. We were going downhill. It’s easier to talk going down of course.
We were headed for Joshua Tree Spring. I bathed a bit, filled up 1 liter of water, and left while Simon & Liz had breakfast.
It was another hot day. There are no easy days on the PCT. Every hiking day is hard, but this day was really hard. There were lots of elevation changes. The worst was going up to the ridge between Spanish Needle Group and Lamont Peak. Yes, Lamont Peak. There is also to the NE of the peak a Lamont Point. I asked Simon during our short break at the ridge to take a picture of me pointing with my trekking pole first to Lamont Peak and second to Lamont Point. I was cursing your mountain Lamont. It was killing me.
Normally I have done around 17-18 miles by 2 o’clock. Today at 2:30 I’d only done 13. It was discouraging. Often today the two couples and I leap frogged each other.
We all ended up at the Seasonal Creek just at Canebrake Road, which put me at 21 miles. We cooked dinners and I took off first to get the 2,500 foot climb out of the way in the cool of the night. I had to go from 5,555 feet to 8,020 at trail summit.
I met a man, David, hiking down the trail. He knew my name, Gottago, from the PCT digest online. He was doing a week hike north to south to Walker Pass hoping to run into as many of the PCT hikers as he could. He asked if he could take my picture. (11/17/03 – I now have the picture David took of me on the About Linda page)
He told me the trail is easy to lose about 4 miles up the mountain. There had been a fire, the Manter fire in 2000, which had burned over 74,000 acres. He said where the burned area began I would have trouble finding the trail in the dark. I had planned on hiking until I got to the top. That would have taken me until 10pm. I was really scared hiking in the dark. Alone! I just kept looking for the trail and focusing on my footing. I didn’t dare look left or right. I didn’t really need to get lost in the dark. At 9:15, wearing my headlamp, I stopped short in my tracks when I realized I was in the burned area and I could no longer see where the trail continued. I looked left and threw my sleeping bag down. I hung my food (badly). I hoped the bears wouldn’t like hanging out in the burned area of the forest.
I’ve come to find comfort and security in immediately finding the Big Dipper. As soon as I got in my bag, I looked up and there it was. Sleep was easy. I was dead! 9:50pm.
|Fri. May 31, 2002||Days on Trail:||36|
|Destination:||Kennedy Meadows||Today's Miles:||16.5|
|Starting Location:||1-1/2 miles short of Trail Summit||Total Miles:||697!!|
I hiked for 12-1/2 miles in the burned forest. The wildflowers flourished though. But the footing was rocky and difficult on my feet. Today I started to get an Achilles pain in my right foot on the side of my ankle. I had this once before at home. Actually, I had this problem in my right foot at the beginning of my hike. If I have my laces tied too tight over the top of my feet, it seems to cause problems. I've had other foot pain. It comes and goes. I also have a left heel bone pain on the bottom of my foot. It seems to be getting better. I’m taking a portion of tomorrow off, so maybe this will help my feet. I’m not worried though.
Switchbacks and switchbacks down through the burn. Too much down
and too much deep sand walking always brings about some new foot
ailment. Then after the first creek in Rock House Basin (8.5 miles
into my hike) the trail condition was sandy. I saw many bear tracks.
Previous hikers have been circling in the sand. There were tracks
going every which way. I missed a large rock indicating the correct
trail but not before I spent an hour walking the creek trying to
find my way.
I just wanted today’s hiking to be over. I wanted to get to the store and eat a bag of potato chips and drink a Dr. Pepper. The last 8.5 miles seemed like 15 miles.
When I arrived on the porch of the Kennedy Meadows Store I was greeted and welcomed by many other PCT hikers lounging around on their day off.
Scott and Rachel were there. I’d emailed them before the hike. They’d posted some of their recipes for their dinners. I made up 5 meals of their Beef Stew (I dehydrated it). It was a good meal.
Julie & Roger (LE and Puget) were there too. So were Art & Sherry, Cindy & Ken, Lee & Ann, Simon & Liz, Smokey, Rex, Josh and a few others. We were all busy with re-supply boxes, eating, or just enjoying hanging with each other, watching what each one was doing. Many took the discarded food I didn’t want from my hiker re-supply box discards. I bought a large 9oz. hunk of cheddar cheese and peanut butter. I need fat!
From when I arrived at the store at 1:30pm, I was in constant motion. I took a shower in the open air shower stall out back. I washed clothes in the store washing machine but then hung them on the clothesline out back (a first!). I unpacked food from my re-supply box, discarded some, and bought some more. I read Ray’s 12th Wedding Anniversary card and made a call to him. I packed up my bear canister and pack (way too heavy) and got a lift by a man named Jim, to a campsite where about 20 of us are camped.
I socialized as long as I could and retreated to my new Euopa tent I just received. It’s 10:41pm. I’m caught up in journaling and I’m ready to stop everything for the night.
Good night! Happy Anniversary Babe!
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