May 2, 2014
Start: Halfmile 0266.0
End: Halfmile 0288.0
Distance: 22.0 Mi
Cumulative: 297.5 Mi
It was a late start this morning. The shuttle back to the trail didn’t even leave the hostel until 830a, so I wasn’t hiking until around 9a. I made up my mind to take it slow. I was “only” planning on 20 miles. After a few miles, I was back in the swing of it. I hardly even noticed my recently drained blister. I was raring to go! I had to keep reminding myself: “What’s the rush? There’s no hurry. Slowwww down!”
The trail felt crowded, because a bunch of people left Big Bear this morning. Seems we tend to bunch up in towns. Guess in a way, I was searching for solitude, which I ultimately found this afternoon. Haven’t seen a soul since about 1p.
Spent much of the latter part of the day hiking through an old burn area. I really enjoyed the change of scenery. Ended up camping in a huge boulder field after covering 22 miles. Found a nice spot atop a big, flat rock outcropping. I was totally alone. And loving it. Set up my cowboy camp, made dinner, wrote in my journal, enjoyed a nice sunset (probably made so by my proximity to the LA smog), and gazed up at the stars until I fell asleep. Not a bad life.
May 3, 2014
Start: Halfmile 0288.0
End: Halfmile 0313.5
Distance: 25.5 Mi
Cumulative: 323.0 Mi
This morning was pretty cool, but the really good stuff started after lunch. I got to hike maybe 12 miles through a gorgeous canyon filled with swimming holes. I even ventured off trail a few times to explore. Shortly after lunch, I dropped down a steep slope to a quiet, sunny beach. Took a dip and lounged around for about an hour. Figured I’d cruise up to Deep Creek Hot Springs and have a soak, but that was before this guy Eric caught up to me a few miles later. (I must’ve spent hours taking probably a hundred photos in that canyon.) He told me about a secluded hot spring pool that was off trail a couple miles before the main springs. Sounded like another adventure – maybe even a wild goose chase, but what the hey. We found a well-worn side trail that we figured might be it, so we ventured down the steep ravine. At first, it just looked like another swimming hole. But then we spotted it: a solitary built up pool. That was it! We enjoyed the quiet, refreshing tub for a while before finally deciding to cover a few more miles.
We hiked together the rest of the day and camped just beyond the canyon near a dam. We bypassed the main hot springs, obviously. It was hopping with college kids in swimsuits and old naked dudes. No, thanks. Probably wouldn’t have experienced the hot springs at all, if not for Eric. A different kind of Trail Magic at work.
May 4, 2014
Start: Halfmile 0313.5
End: Halfmile 0343.5
Distance: 30.0 Mi
Cumulative: 353.0 Mi
Today was cool, but yesterday was a tough act to follow. Got going at 5a this morning. The game plan was to cover 28.5 miles and have dinner at a McDonalds right by the interstate underpass. Fast food isn’t usually my thing, but I’m craving it out here. And I don’t feel bad about it.
It was a hot one today after the sun came up. I stopped for lunch at a picnic area near Silverwood Lake. It was only 1030a, but I couldn’t say no to flush toilets, clean water, and a covered picnic area. There was almost no one around, so I had the covered group gazebo all to myself. So freakin’ awesome. I even took an hour nap. I didn’t wanna leave. I made great time this morning, so I wasn’t in any rush anyways.
I made I-15 by 530p, then I gorged myself on McDonalds. So gross; so amazing. Shortly after I walked in, I met Joy and Gini. We talked for a bit, mostly about the trail and my experience on it. Before they left, they extended an invitation to visit when I get closer to Lancaster. I wrote down their phone numbers and have every intention of calling them when I get close. How cool is that?!
I thought about camping right by the highway but decided I didn’t wanna trek through the creepy underpass before dawn. I ended up covering another 1.5 miles and closing out my second 30 this summer. I’m camping at a switchback just above the train tracks overlooking the highway. It’s noisy but cool. Looks like the trains are gonna be cruising through all night. I wouldn’t wanna camp here every night, but it’s a pretty neat experience. I’ll just plug in my headphones and see how it goes.
May 5, 2014
Start: Halfmile 0343.5
End: Halfmile 0369.5
Distance: 26.0 Mi
Cumulative: 379.0 Mi
Long, epic ascent this morning. It was steady up and up. Loved it. Took lunch near the saddle around 130p. The views were vast. It was a little breezy, which was nice on the climb, but made for a chilly break. I took my time getting going anyways.
I wanted to save some money, so I’m camping at Inspiration Point, where the PCT meets the scenic Angeles Crest Hwy. I’ll hitch in first thing and hopefully get a zero. I’m planning to camp right back here tomorrow night, but the weather may push me beyond Baden-Powell (another 15 trail miles). We’ll see how long it takes me in town. It may be too late to make it once I’m done. Don’t wanna get caught up there. Case in point, the weather tonight is a bit sketchy. It’s windy and cold. Looks like a 50% chance of rain and sleet overnight, and more of the same tomorrow night. Thick fog is already settling in. Guess I’m setting up my tent. Seems the toughest times out here are also the most stunningly beautiful. I’m not complaining. If a little rain is my biggest concern, I’d say I’m doing just fine. Besides, it should make for some great photos.