PCT A Long Time In The Desert!

Day 23  8 PCT miles – Drank all day, stayed at Acton KOA, CA

Day 24 24 PCT miles – Stayed 10 miles from Casa de Luna, CA

Day 25 26 PCT miles – Stayed on a slope which sucked

Day 26 15 PCT miles – Stayed at Horse Camp

Day 27 24 PCT miles

Day 28 20 PCT miles

Day 29  8 PCT miles

Day 30  0 PCT miles – 6 actual miles

Day 31 14 PCT miles

Day 32 23 PCT miles

Day 33 17 PCT miles – 19 actual miles

Day 34 16 PCT miles – 17 actual miles

Day 35 16 PCT miles

Day 36 17 PCT miles

Day 37 16 PCT miles

I started this section with a short hike to the KOA. I saw a guy with some beer, so I asked if I could buy one. He said, “$3″ I replied “I only have $2″.

So armed with a Pacifico beer, which tasted like a Corona, I set up my tent and performed surgery on my toe nail, which is now missing. It appears its sibling on the other foot will soon join it. After finishing up some camp chores, I joined the guy I got the beer from who was sitting with many more people now. I got my $2 back and then pitched in on the next beer run. The rest of the day was spent drinking and hanging out. I left late the next day, for obvious reasons. I still managed a 24 mile day.

I hung out with two couples on top of a hill overlooking a lake. I mentioned that when I got to the top of the hill I said “fuck” feeling defeated when I saw their tents. It was late and I was exhausted and thought there would be no where to put my tent when I saw them. There ended up being lots of room. Over dinner one of them mentioned that they were thinking if someone was here when they got here, they would murder them. I mentioned how I felt when I first saw them. I split a beer with them I had carried with me. Then later they jokingly   threatened to murder me in my sleep; at least I hoped they were joking. When I left I said, “Well my tent is that direction” and pointed the opposite way I was walking toward my tent 10 ft away. I woke up alive the next morning to the sound of people hiking by; I rolled over and sleep another hour. I had to do a lot of road walking that day due to another fire closure

I talked to a guy who said a rattle snake bit his hiking partner four miles from Cajon Pass. His hiking partner was in front of him, he saw a snake fly from one side of the trail to the other. He said, “You just got bit by a snake.” She replied she had thought it was a thorn. She decided just to hike into Cajon Pass. But later her lips started going numb so they Googled what to do for a snake bite then called 911. A chopper came and flew her out.

Went to this place called Hikertown, it was a bunch of shacks modeled after an old west town. There was a sheriff’s office, doctor’s office, etc. in a row on both sides of the owners’ house.

We borrowed a beat up van to go get food and beer.

Night hiked out of Hikertown, it was Labor Day and people had dune buggies flying through the desert. It looked like fun but when I became exhausted and passed out along an Aqueduct/road, I was worried one would run me over. The hike in the Aqueduct was miserable, you could hear water running under you but you couldn’t get to it. It got down to a low around 75 degrees that night. There were people with this awesome tent setup from Burning Man at the next water source. The tent had plush seats, couches, a refrigerator, and many other amenities.  I had a wonderful breakfast of bacon, sausage, and French toast.

There was a 40ish mile section where all the water sources had dried up. I knew there were roads so I assumed there would be water caches along the way. I left the section with enough water to get me through the day. The first road I came to had a cache, so I drank two liters and keep going. It got really hot; I was down to one liter of water and still had some distance to the next possible cache. I heard through the hiker grapevine that it was well maintained. I walked passed another road on the way to the well maintained cache and there were a bunch of empty bottles. Most of the roads are jeep roads and all are dirt roads, so they don’t see much traffic. I ended up deciding to drop down into a valley where I heard I could did a hole in an old stream bed and find water. After a three mile detour, I found the area and re-dug an existing hole that was full of decaying plant matter. After letting it settle, I filled up on muddy water. I spent the night hydrating and headed back to the trail the next day. I came across a female hiker later that day and not wanting to drink more mud if the water cache was for sure there, I inquired about it. See replied “there should be one there” I said, “good because I have been drinking mud”! She offered me the last sip of her water; I declined since I had more mud than she did water. I didn’t want to take the last of her water, if the cache wasn’t there.

Later when hiking, I felt a burning pain on the inside of my knee then up higher on my inner thigh. Luckily I had a tiny rip in my pants; I tore the crotch open and grabbed a fire ant just in the nick of time!  I crushed the little bastard taking vengeance as my leg burned.

Found a stream deep enough to sit in, it was amazing!  I spent the night near the area; there was actually food within five miles but it would’ve been inaccessible by the time we got there. Not being able to bear seeing food that we couldn’t have, we decided to stay the night and hike in early.

As I was leaving the desert and heading into the Sierras, I saw a rattlesnake on the side of the trail. It waited until I was passed, then gave the slightest rattle as if saying good bye as I hiked out of the cursed desert!

PCT Big Bear to Acton KOA

Day 14 20.60 PCT miles – 21.1 actual, stayed at Holcomb Creek

Day 15 21.00 PCT miles – stayed a couple miles from Deep Creek Hot Springs

Day 16 22.00 PCT miles – 24 actual, stayed at Silverwoods Lake Campsite

Day 17 14.00 PCT miles – 17 actual, Best Western in Cajon Pass, CA

Day 18 21.00 PCT miles – bivyed .5 miles before campsite, trying to stay out of wind, super windy on top of the mountain

Day 19 20.25 PCT miles – 22.25 actual, bivy at 8,638 ft near Mt. Badon-Powell

Day 20 23.23 PCT miles – stayed on the ridge above Mill Creek, CA

Day 21 19.00 PCT miles – stayed at North Fork Ranger Station

Day 22 ? Hiked to KOA

I was able to get some much needed rest at Big Bear, a cool little ski town with a great brewery. I had some cool conversations with a few different people at the brewery. I left Beardo and Sweet Pea at the hostel. Wonderful hike … found out I have allergies, was coughing and spitting until Lid gave me an antihistamine that he took for his asthma. Hopefully, that holds me over until town.

Wanted to make it to the hot springs, but then read where there is an amoeba there, so I stopped beforehand. I was thinking that I might have missed a cool night but then I heard it was a bunch of cock and balls running all over the place; so it’s okay that I missed it. To confirm that it was okay I missed it, as I walked thru at about 7:30 am there were two naked guys just chillin’.

Made it to Silverwoods camp site where I managed to avoid the camping fee. Glid hooked me up with a Coors Lite. I drank it appreciatively, even though I am a beer snob. We also had pizza delivered which was amazing! I will try not to talk that much about food but that’s all I think about.

There was a section near a spillway with a possibility of quicksand, so I did the appropriate thing and acted like I was eating until someone passed me. Then I followed them thru the area. It was for their safety, of course. I could pull them out of the quicksand, if they needed help.

Made it to Cajon Pass where I shared a room at the Best Western. I am planning out my 28 mile waterless hike tomorrow. The downside is I already have 5ish days of food in my pack. My plans to hike the 28 mile section are:

1) Stay in town and hike out at night.

2) Pee in my bottles and drink the pee, if necessary.

3) Wake up early and do an alpine start.

If you notice drinking pee came before waking up early. Yep that’s how much I dislike waking up early! Maybe that’s why I haven’t climbed that many mountains! What I did was actually none of the above; I slept in and walked through the heat carrying a lot of water. It was heavy! Gained 6,000 ft in elevation and ran out of water 7 miles from the water source. Still didn’t have to drink my pee. It was a successful day!

Not much sleep last night; super windy. Woke up in the clouds and it was still windy, gusts would knock you sideways. Tomorrow have to do a reroute for an endangered species trail closure. What are the odds of stepping on this endangered frog, if he is endangered?? The probability has to be low. I have to walk 20 miles around what would otherwise be a 4ish mile hike. I usually support this kind of stuff but 4 miles vs. 20, I am not a fan! I found a road that went around the frog and only added a couple miles so all was good for the frog and me.

Gave a hiker who was out of food one of my meals.

A section hiker going south stopped me on the trail and said, “I give thru hikers a choice of coffee, chips, or caramel.” Where was the choice?? He mentioned coffee, who’s not going to take coffee?? I opened the instant Starbucks coffee and poured it strait into my mouth then took a swig of water saying, “thanks”, I continued down the trial.

PCT Julian to Big Bear

Day 5     0 miles PCT -1.5 actual, stayed in hotel in Julian, CA

Day 6   13.85 miles PCT – 14.58 actual, stayed at a small bivy site

Day 7   18.15 miles PCT – stayed on a flat overlooking a small community

Day 8   18.20 miles PCT- 21.1 actual, stayed at small bivy site

Day 9   18 miles PCT – stayed at a randomhouse

Day 10   8 miles PCT – 25.3 actual, trail closed due to fire reroute stayed outside of Idyllwild, CA

Day 11 12.6 miles PCT – 18.5 actual, did alt route to climb to the top of Jacinto, stayed in a meadow surrounded with boulders

Day 12 19 miles PCT – stayed at Best Western, Big Bear, CA

Day 13  0 miles PCT – 1.7 actual stayed hostel Big Bear, CA

Jeff the hotel owner a polite man with a gray handle bar mustache gave me free breakfast; I got free beer at Carmen’s, a burrito place.

There are a good number of injured hikers in town planning on hitching ahead to keep up with their groups.

Getting into Julian was easy, as soon as I finished packing my stuff a guy picked me up. Leaving town was a different story. Standing in the cold waiting to leave it seemed like it took forever as one vehicle after the other passed by. A woman kept signaling to me to make sure I knew she was trying to pull into the parking lot of the post office and not pick me up. With her old white Subaru with rust around the wheels and a plethora of stickers on the back glass with a dog in the car; she looked like a potential ride but no she just stopped for her mail. Then when she was pulling out she told me that she was not going that way now, but if I was still there when she goes that way, she will pick me up, after she makes some small chat. I took my pack off from the wait, it was getting heavy, next comes my hat maybe. If they can see me smile, they will pick me up. I put on a fake grin. I probably looked like one of the videos of dogs all over YouTube that when they smile it looks like they are mad with rabies; more cars passed. Finally a guy named Jeffery picked me up, the smile must of worked. As I was getting out of the car he said, “can I give you something to help out”? “Absolutely!!” He gave me $20 to help on my trip. I had a slow hike with lots of breaks because there was no way I was going to get to the post office in Warner Springs before it closed and the next day was Sunday, a lot of people were in this situation, so I meet a lot of people that day. The one that sticks out the most is Bear, he is an older gentleman that has backpacked a lot. When asked how far he is going he says, “until I get tired”. I hope I am doing big adventures still when I am his age.

On the way to Warner Springs, after I stopped for some beer and hotdog at some trail magic I got some of my manliness back I lost after the rattle snake. As I walked down the trail two fellow hikers and a family started walking back toward me looking over their shoulders. “Turn around there are cows blocking the trail we have to wait”. “I’ve got this, I grew up on a farm”. To myself I thought they are not snakes. I just walked through them and they moved to the amazement of the non rural folks. A little girl with the family said, “Someone carry me, I am tired and give me food I am hungry”. This is a very smart girl, her and I are on the same page … that’s all I want, too.

I stopped to get water for a 25 mile dry patch. When filling up my water, I heard music and laughing, so I decided to investigate. I walked toward a fire surrounded by hikers as I rounded the corner; I saw a wood fired oven. To the right was a guy in a fishing style hat ripping a bong hit. As he blew the white cloud of smoke out in between coughs he said, “I have a pizza coming up, donations accepted and there is beer over there”. “There are four rules: no shitting in the driveway, no sleeping in the driveway, stay out of the kitchen and don’t point your dick at any girls.” I put money in the donation box grabbed a beer and walked to the fire and had a seat. When I finished my beer and pizza, I went to grab another beer, but the closest ones were gone, so I grabbed another couple slices of pizza and sat back by the fire to hangout, since my feet hurt. Later when setting up my tent at the edge of the driveway not wanting to break any rules, I thought to myself, while clearing the random spent shells from various caliber guns out of the way so I wouldn’t set my tent up on them, I should have asked where I could point my dick, as the sudden urge to piss came over me!

With the fire reroute, there was some route finding necessary and I had to guess how much water to carry because the water report didn’t included the reroute. I was out of water and still had 10 miles to go to get back on the trail. I ran into Rabbit (her trail name) who was having a horrible day. She came with me. Luckily some of the reroute had been on roads and we happened to be in a neighborhood, I stopped at a house and asked for water. They gave us water and a ride to the actual PCT. These awesome people probably saved my life or at least keep me from being extremely miserable. I was going to attempt the 10 miles with no water and not very good beta for the reroute.

It was 100 in the shade when we got to the shuttle at 4 pm. It was the hottest day so far. Skipped the fire closure and stayed at Big Bear.

PCT First 80 ish Miles

Day 1 20 miles PCT – stayed at Lake Morena, CA hiked 23 total to find help for hiker

Day 2 19 miles PCT – 19.55 actual miles stayed right outside of LaGuna,CA

Day 3 20 miles PCT – 21.5 actual miles stayed at sunrise trailhead, CA

Day 4 18 miles PCT – 18 actual miles stayed at Scissors Crossing, CA

Day 5 0 miles PCT – 1.5 actual hitched into Julian, CA stayed at hotel

Started the hike seeing a rattlesnake way too soon, I hate snakes! I have stared down bear, moose, and even a cannibal (another story), but nothing was as stubborn as this snake. Everything else I stared down eventually moved or said hi, but this snake was having none of it. I wasn’t hungry, so I had no need to bash it in the head, I finally backed down. Hoping his friends were not in the bushes and that the bushes were not Poodle Bush, a plant that causes a reaction worse than poison ivy, I high kneed it around him. After I made it around the snake, I was hyper vigilant looking everywhere because I wasn’t tired enough not to care yet. I would jump every time I saw a rabbit, squirrel, or lizard run across the trial. I had passed this girl earlier and she had caught up to me after my failure at staring the snake down. I must have looked super manly as I jumped up in the air when a rabbit ran by. Two days later, I felt a little manlier. I was sitting on a rock taking a break and I heard a shriek from across the valley. I looked over to see a guy jumping into the air. I then witnessed one more shriek and 5 hops. At least I didn’t scream like a little kid in front of another dude.

Later on in the first day, a border patrol agent asked if I had seen anyone that didn’t look like a typical PCT hiker, I assumed she meant “Pedro”, I replied nope everyone I have seen has a shiny umbrella over their head. Later I learned that “Pedro” didn’t make it. I saw evidence of his attempt to make it to the US and his flight from the border patrol along the trail, a discarded gallon of peanut butter, a raggedy jacket, a bed roll larger than my entire pack, and I am assuming his remaining water poured out in a puddle in the trail as he made his last attempt to gain freedom. I hope he made it!

I was almost out of water and looking for a spot to rest out of the heat of the day when a man approached me and asked if I could get some guy to get up and hike into town. I said, “I will see what I can do”. When I found the guy, Andrew, he was dressed in new khaki shorts and safari hat. It was obvious he needed help and the other guy passed the burden onto me. At first glance he was out of shape, old and had way too much weight in his oversized pack. I talked to Andrew, his pulse was racing, his breathing was labored and he only had a quart of water. I begrudgingly gave him half of my half a liter. I was kind of aggravated because now I was going to be in danger because some guy who watched Reese Witherspoon carry an over-sized pack in a movie and thought, “if she can do it so can I”.

I raced off down the trail to find help or to get cell service with hardly any water at the hottest part of the day when I would have been resting in the shade. About half a mile down the trail, I ran into another older gentleman taking photos. I told him what was happening he said, he would give the guy some water and that I was just over two hours from the ranger station. As I raced off again, I noticed he only had a quart military style canteen on his hip. I told him if he had enough water left to soak the guys’ hat in it and put it on his head. I wondered to myself if I had just caused this guy to be in danger, also. As soon as I got a bar on my cell phone, I sent a text to my mom with the guys info and asked if she could find the number for the ranger station, call them then text me back the number. When I got to the ranger station, I alerted the ranger. “Well our jurisdiction only goes 2.5 miles and he’s 3 miles out.” At this time I had gotten a text from a police officer, mom had had to call 911 because she could not find the Rangers number. The text said, “I hear you are lost on the PCT, where are you”? Well if I was lost I wouldn’t know where I was, would I. I tried to get some other hikers to go back with me to help; no one seemed interested, they had beer and big juicy burgers. I gave the officer that had contacted me the correct information and she kept wanting to go from the wrong side of the trail to get the guy. Meanwhile, I just wanted a burger and beer, also. I was getting annoyed, why was this my responsibility? I waited for hours at the trailhead for someone to come so I could take them to the guy. A ranger finally came and said, “They found the guy but he was nowhere near where I said, and they were walking him out”. That didn’t sound right but I wanted a hamburger and beer, also. I sent the officer I had originally spoken to a text asking if they had found Andrew. As I was walking to the store for my much anticipated burger and beer I heard sirens and saw a fire truck rush by. I said to myself, now they found Andrew! As I was eating; multiple emergency vehicles and a chopper came by. Then I got a text saying, “ if I hadn’t called, Andrew would have probably died” and apparently they walked out another distressed hiker in the process.

Day four was super windy; I had trouble putting up the tent in the sand. The tent stakes weren’t very cooperative. My feet are a mess, so I am headed into town tomorrow for a 0 day. The wind was so hard the tent folded on me. I hoped the tent stakes stayed in the sand because it was pouring the rain down.

So today I have officially become a homeless person waiting outside of a library so I can get out the rain!