Monday, May 26, 2014

6 PCT - Cajon Pass to Wrightwood

I have mixed emotions when I look at this sign. I feel like I've gone so far, but it's only been 342 miles. I can't wait for the adventures ahead! The hiking pole below shows approximately where we are.
I have never wanted McDonalds so much in my life... Hahahaha! Never thought I would say that! I also never thought that I would want a fish fillet, but I ordered one and it was delicious. Doc had been there since the morning and managed to spend $30.. A new record perhaps? As I walked the .4 miles along the road, I thought about all those unrealistic commercials of people playing basketball and having McDonalds parties. Then I looked around and thought they need to do a PCT McDonalds commercial!

 IT'S BIG!!!!!
Kinesio Tape. It definitely helps. Helps even more when a trained physical therapist applies it!
 All us Hikers hanging out between the Chevron station and McDonalds.. Would have been a great commercial!!

Climbing out of Cajon Pass. We waited until the sun was on its way down so we could hike under a full moon and beat the heat.

 Looking back on the train and where we came from.


The full moon was brighter than I thought it would be. We used headlamps to climb the ridge because one slip would have been fatal. Once our eyes adjusted and the moon reached its' full potential, the lights went off. The towering Yuccas and other desert Flora and Fauna, combined with the shadows from the full moon, created a land I had never seen before.  I found myself pretending that I was underwater. Unfortunately, we were still close to LA and its polluted suburbs. Everywhere we thought to set up camp, we found broken glass and giant ants. I will forever associate LA with glass and ants. When we finally came across a Pine tree and could no longer see the city lights, Doc was so happy!! 

This is the exact moment it changed from desert to pine. Once we crossed into these trees we stayed in the Pine Forest. When I eventually leave Wrightwood (elevation 6,000), I will climb to the top of Mt. Baden Powell (elevation 9,399), then drop back down to desert again. Up and down mountains all the way to Canada..... Awesome!

Looking back from where we came.

Descending into Wrightwood. First we had to come up and over the ski resort.

For the past 8 hours, I experienced the most consistent pain of my life. The blisters had finally got the best of me and I could think of nothing else but rest and help. When I saw this medical house, I knew it was closed, but found myself laughing. How nice it would be if there were people who could actually help me in there.... Nope!! I had to get through this one on my own.
With about 7 miles left into Wrightwood... I phoned a Trail Angel and arranged for a place for Doc and I to stay. Janet owned a cabin used as an event rental, but decided this year to open it up to Thru-Hikers. She called it "Bear With Us." A true log cabin built in 1919 and finished in 1922. Instead of asking for donations, she asked for $25 per night, which was more than reasonable. She grew up in Wrightwood and remembers her Mother taking hikers in when she was young. The Cabin was more than I could ask for and the hospitality proved a life saver for me on the trail. My feet needed true healing time so I decided to stay and give them the rest they needed. Janet, her husband Clayton and their son Jimmy took me in as one of their own. When the rental was booked for a wedding party, Janet and her family invited me into their home. They treated me like family and asked for nothing in return. Today they leave for vacation in Hawaii. They have assured me that I can stay at Bear With Us for as long as I need. I should only need 2 more days.. I hope anyway! That will put me at 2 weeks of rest. I have to learn to listen to my body more. Luckily, I found the most wonderful people to help mend me back to help. The trail provides. This wonderful family are true Angels... I had to give them Trail Names.
(Left to right) To go with the theme of Bear With Us, I named Clayton "Grizzly Bear." He taught me how to properly skin and cook a Rattlesnake, if I should come upon anymore. He was always cracking jokes and being a wise ass... He was great! I named Janet "Honey Bear" because of the genuine kindness and sweetness in her heart. She continuously checked up on me and offered to help in any way that she could. When I had no where to go, she offered me into her home, made family dinner and insisted on nothing in exchange.. Just a promise to get my feet right. Jimmy was always happy to help and very smiley so I thought "Happy Bear" was appropriate.

There is a loft upstairs attached to the room I have been staying in.

My room.
The Loft.

I'm finally caught up on my travel blogging. I hope to be back on trail soon. Doc is well beyond my reach, but I'll see him at Tony Rinaldi's wedding June 28 in Tahoe regardless. I look forward to sharing my adventures soon!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

5 PCT - Deep Creek

Us Arizona Boys love water in the desert!

 I love Pinecones because they come in all shapes and sizes
 We had lunch at this river crossing.

 Cool flower growing out of itself
 Another snake crossing...
 Not a poisonous one though.. You can tell because there are no venom ducts behind the snakes head.

I haven't been hiking with music between 12:30pm-3pm in the desert for some time now. I realized that I have seen all 5 Rattlers between that time. It is the hottest part of the day, so that makes sense. It's a great time to talk with people, or simply enjoy. It's become my meditative time. After lunch at the creek, I told Doc about my Snake time. He agreed and turned his music off. 15 minutes down the trail, he spotted this beauty. I stopped to eat some gushers and was late to catch a proper picture. As we head into the Mojave Desert, it's a good rule to follow.

 I don't take pictures of many hills. Doc and I agreed that the spacing of the bushes, made this hill more special than most. It's a beautiful hill.

 The Reservoir supplying Deep Creek

Found this little Oasis just off from the PCT. It was a great place to journal, do some laundry and sit on a proper toilet. This trail is teaching me to appreciate the little things.

This guy stood his ground on the center of the trail. I had to politely escort him off with my hand. As much as I love catching wild things, I'm trying to respect the 'Leave No Trace' philosophy.
Golden time with the moon rising and a crane in the foreground.. It gets more beautiful everyday! My friends Chete and Brunch were camped on the beach. Me and 7 other hikers were further into the park. I got here at sunset and was blown away by the amenities. There was a porcelain toilet with toilet paper!! There was a sink with running water and a mirror. Plus there was water that didn't require filtering. I didn't realize that this was a National Park until we heard a voice through speakers around 8:45pm. "The Park will be closing in 15 minutes and everyone must leave." I had already set camp and was making dinner. No one was leaving. Thru-hikers were the only people that I saw. A Forest Service Vehicle, outfitted like a police cruiser, came through the park around 9:15pm. One by one we turned our headlamps off... Stealth mode... He cruised by slowly, looked and drove away. I talked to Chete and Brunch the next day. Chete said as he was climbing into his bag, a car slowed down, lit up his tent with a spotlight, parked and approached. He banged on the tent pole with the back of his flashlight and asked, "Are you hiking the PCT?" Chete responded, "Yes." The officer said, "Thank you, have a good night," returned to his car and drove away. It's these little gestures that help to make this hike that much more enjoyable.

 This looked like a Viking Serpent boat to me.. My mind is always working out here

 If I had to guess, I'm headed down to that train and then up those Mountain Steps again.. I was right.
Path to Cajon Pass where the PCT sponsors MacDonald's