Now 32, I'm still having trouble growing a beard. As an aspiring Mountain Man, this is a tough realization. I have since finished the PCT and have accepted myself as the Beardless Wanderer.
I invite you to peer into my adventures along the Pacific Crest Trail System.
Also please help me with my goal of raising $1,000 for the Southern Arizona AIDS foundation. To donate: copy and past this address https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/hikepct/pacific-crest-trail-hike-to-benefit-saaf
Saturday, May 17, 2014
2 PCT - Idyllwild to Big Bear
After talking with my Mom, I realized that many readers don't recognize certain trail vocabulary ... I will try and explain things better in future blogs.
A person who helps in any way, small or big. For example, I have hitched with trail angels, stayed in their homes, etc. It is anyone who helps out of the kindness of their heart, just for that sake, without expecting anything in return. When I spend the night at these places, I always leave a donation of $20. They usually provide laundry, shower, food, etc. We have stayed at a few Trail Angel's homes along the way. I mentioned Monty earlier, near Warner Springs, as well as Mike's Place. This is Ziggy and the Bear
I climbed over and down the mountain in the background This day. These are just some pictures of Ziggy and the Bear's place... To give you an idea of how wonderful people can be.
Carpet everywhere so you don't need to wear shoes. They provided salad for dinner and ice cream for dessert. When I arrived, I received a bucket with Epsom salt to soak my feet. Then used the bucket to wash my clothes and took a shower powered by solar energy. They took our picture and logged us into a network of all the amazing hikers who come through
Ewok is in the center playing his steel drum. His drum weighs an additional 15lbs. At first I thought he was crazy for carrying all that weight, but after listening, I'm happy he's strong enough to do so. His music is magical.
Some Trail Angels put out water caches, places for trash, soda, candy, you name it. These are unexpected luxuries that surprise you on the trail. They usually occur exactly when you need them. Somehow, the trail provides. This is a great example of Trail Magic just before reaching Big Bear.
Doc chillin' in the tree instead of the couch.. That's my Boy!!
Inside the dumpster where you think trash would be
We found BUBBLES!!!!
So far this is the best trail magic that I have seen
A day where no hiking is done. I'm finding it difficult to have a true zero day. It's usually filled with going to the post office, grocery store, hitching, figuring out the bus, soaking my feet and writing this blog. I'm slowly figuring out the right rhythm.
A day where some hiking is involved, but you also get your in town chores out of the way. I have had a lot of these
Eventually everyone out here will get one. I rarely know people's "real" names. Trail names are just so much easier to remember. I am Snake Charmer and Brian Johnson is Doc.
Usually a box or place that you can put gear that you don't need or can't carry. Some people survive totally off of hiker boxes. It is a very inexpensive way to hike the PCT as long as you are open to anything.
My first priority was getting new footwear. I tried to go lightweight on my feet, but found it didn't offer enough support or cushion. I found some great Montrails and threw my old pair in the hiker box
Just some art that I found that I liked. There were large trees everywhere, thus a lot of wood sculptures around
Our friend's, Allen and janel from Ohio and The Flash and Liz from Canada, planning to leave the next day. Check out that old school phone!!!
My buddy, Justin Buchanan, is in charge of sending me supplies I might need. We had a few cold nights and I was craving my down pants. I wore them a lot in Vail, CO this winter, so there were some holes. This is me using patching material and seam sealer. Just worked better with them on!
Leaving Idyllwild and making our way to Big Bear. There are down trees all over, blocking the trail
There were a few different ways out of Idyllwild to hook back up with the PCT. Since we had hitched from the Paradise Cafe due to fire closure, we figured we should start from the southern most point of the PCT. We took the South Ridge trail up. It was steep, but beautiful, and had a fire lookout up top. Views from the lookout
A walk along the ridge
We walked along this ridge
I felt like one spark and the whole forest would be up in flames
Along the trail
Fire closure. The fire came very close to Idyllwild
A tree I really liked. It looked like it had dreadlocks
Another tree across the trail.. These trees are giants!
Ridge where the fire look out was on
We were in Idyllwild for 3 much needed nights. I soaked my feet in Epsom salt a lot!! I would say my feet are feeling around 65%. I have an open blister on the outside of my left heel the size of my thumb. I think I'm doing a good job dressing it. After 9 miles uphill today, no dirt or irritation. In Big Bear now, and it's finally healed. Now I have newones to worry about.
Brian thinks he might have a parasite, but has been taking ginger and is feeling better. I can't imagine having to deal with something like that on the trail. He has been a trooper, I'm quite impressed.
I have never realized how much I dislike wind. It has been windy while, both, hiking and sleeping. It is noisy and uncomfortable.. but so is the sound of traffic, I guess. Luckily tonight we are pitched at a saddle with full coverage. Only a small amount of wind is getting through to me and I hear it blowing all around me. I'm just trying to pretend it's crashing ocean waves.
The ridge on this last picture is what we climbed up out of Idyllwild. It's where the Fire Lookout is. We followed the ridge line to the left and came up to the saddle we are sleeping on.
It is beautiful hiking here. I think we're camped around 8-9,000ft. The black, red and white king snake lives up here and looking to see one of those in the next couple of days. I did not see one, but another hiker did.
My bag feels super heavy and I think I might have brought too much food. I'm writing the blog off my journal notes and turns out that I did not bring too much. In fact, a few extra snacks would have been nice
Today didn't go as expected. I slept awful.. Must have woke up every half hour. I woke up feeling like "why am I doing this?!?! I told Doc to go ahead and that I would meet up tonight. When I hit the trail, I felt good!
It was gorgeous out and the ridge line I walked along had epic views. I talked and walked with a fellow hiker named Black Swan. My sunglasses got extremely tangled and decided to put them in my pocket. 3 miles in, I realized they weren't there anymore. I pressed on to the next water source (4-5 miles from camp). 2 hiker sisters saw them and moved them to the side of the trail to not be stepped on. They couldn't remember how far back, but thought around 2 miles. After filtering my water, I left my gear behind and set out to run the trail and find my glasses. I ended up running all the way back to camp. I did not find my sunglasses and was not happy about it!
I ended up meeting some nice thru-hikers when I got back to the watering hole. Moxa and Ewok were both from Denver. Moxa got her name because she had been healing people with moxa along the trail; not sure how Ewok got his name. Ewok is carrying a 15lb steel drum
Moxa and Ewok
Moxa helping to heal Ewok's ankle
It was a neat gathering near water. It helped me to forget about losing my sunglasses and I began appreciating the trail again.
I hiked 5 more hard miles with a full 6.5 litres of water and set up camp. My food spilled all over the pot and got messy everywhere. What a hard day!!
I heard word from a few hikers, just before going to bed, that sunglasses were found by a hiker with dreadlocks. I got up early to try and intercept, but met no such person. My emotions, on an endless roller coaster, I set out to find this dreadlock wanderer. With no idea how or where to find him, I thought my best bet to be at Ziggy and the Bear, 21 miles away.
Check out these beautiful marble steps miles away from anything!
I bet we are climbing over these mountains to get to big bear!! We did. I refer to these later as the Mountain Steps. We went up and down mountains climbing in elevation. It was gnarly!!
This is looking back on where we had already come. I was 3 miles from that summit
Below is the beauty descending from Pine to desert