CA PCT 2018

Big Bear to Wrightwood

APRIL 8

Spent the morning packing and going to the grocery store. Our trail angel dropped us off at the road head by 11:30 and we were soon hiking. We looked down on the town of Big Bear, 

 A fire closure found us walking around it. Fortunately it wasn't a big detour and several hours later we were back on the trail. 

A fire closure found us walking around it. Fortunately it wasn't a big detour and several hours later we were back on the trail. 

 We are hoping to get thru California before any major fires.

We are hoping to get thru California before any major fires.

We were able to get water from a seasonal stream that was flowing. Seems like being early this year in the dessert has advantages of still finding water in streams. Met a group of young folks who were hiking together. They all seemed excited about the journey they were on. Found a nice campsite in the woods surrounded by hooting owls.

Miles hiked 12

APRIL 9

We were hiking by 5:30 this morning and the first light was already showing. The daylight is increasing. A loud piece of wood snapping brought our attention to what we think was a black bear running in the opposite direction. Today was an easy hike with no major uphills or down.

 There was even a log crossing we got to do.

There was even a log crossing we got to do.

 Don found two of the largest pine cones he has ever seen. We wouldn't want to camp under these pine trees.

Don found two of the largest pine cones he has ever seen. We wouldn't want to camp under these pine trees.

 A lizard showed off his physical strength by doing push ups for us.

A lizard showed off his physical strength by doing push ups for us.

 Towards the end of the day we were in the Deep Creek drainage. We will be near water for the rest of the day and most of tomorrow.  The only challenge is that most of the time it is a steep down climb to get to it. In the beginning though there is an easy access to it and we even take a moment to soak our feet.

Towards the end of the day we were in the Deep Creek drainage. We will be near water for the rest of the day and most of tomorrow.  The only challenge is that most of the time it is a steep down climb to get to it. In the beginning though there is an easy access to it and we even take a moment to soak our feet.

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Miles hiked today 22

APRIL 10

We are looking forward to this day. As this is the day we get to experience the hot springs, which we have heard so much about. We even decide that we should sleep in so when we are hiking along the creek we will not miss any views. The trail hugs the cliffs and the water is far below.

 Glad for the bridges that have been put in along the trail. It is a very steep canyon with beautiful pools and cascading falls. Occasionally a trail leads down to the water, but mostly it is views from up high.

Glad for the bridges that have been put in along the trail. It is a very steep canyon with beautiful pools and cascading falls. Occasionally a trail leads down to the water, but mostly it is views from up high.

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 At one time this was a well known trout stream, but with the recent drought the water level has dropped considerably. Don notices an agave that is getting ready to shoot out its flower.

At one time this was a well known trout stream, but with the recent drought the water level has dropped considerably. Don notices an agave that is getting ready to shoot out its flower.

 Yellow flowers also greet us!

Yellow flowers also greet us!

 Crossing a side stream, we take the opportunity to fill our water container. 

Crossing a side stream, we take the opportunity to fill our water container. 

 And then we see the hot springs!

And then we see the hot springs!

 A few locals and a few PCT hikers are enjoying the pools. We quickly join them and enjoy going back and forth from the hot to cool pools.

A few locals and a few PCT hikers are enjoying the pools. We quickly join them and enjoy going back and forth from the hot to cool pools.

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 After several hours of total relaxation we say our goodbyes and start hiking.

After several hours of total relaxation we say our goodbyes and start hiking.

 The hottest part of the day is over which we are thankful for. The trail is quite exposed to the sun.

The hottest part of the day is over which we are thankful for. The trail is quite exposed to the sun.

 We are intrigued by the strongest PCT sign that we have seen. It should last for quite awhile.

We are intrigued by the strongest PCT sign that we have seen. It should last for quite awhile.

 We find another creek to camp. After so many night of dry camping this is quite enjoyable, Spikes and several other hikers join us for the night. Conversation is usually minimal as most hikers are ready to be in bed as soon as the sun goes down.

We find another creek to camp. After so many night of dry camping this is quite enjoyable, Spikes and several other hikers join us for the night. Conversation is usually minimal as most hikers are ready to be in bed as soon as the sun goes down.

 Not a bad view for ending the day!

Not a bad view for ending the day!

Miles hiked 18

APRIL 11

Today started out doing a lot of contouring as we moved in and out of ravines. At one point we were hiking below a huge embankment. We had no idea that once we hiked up a hill that we would be above a huge recreational lake. This lake went on and on as we contoured around the perimeter.

 It was great to see all this water. By late morning Spikes and Michael had caught up with us. We stopped to fill water at a small stream before moving on.

It was great to see all this water. By late morning Spikes and Michael had caught up with us. We stopped to fill water at a small stream before moving on.

 We will only see one more hiker on the trail today. At this point in the hiking season, hikers are quite spread out. Some days of hiking we have seen no one. Our tentative plan is to stop several miles before Interstate 15. Then the next day we will stop at McDonalds to fill up with water for a 20 mile stretch of no water.  This plan changes when we come to an area that we wanted to spend the night. The wind is picking up and there are no protected areas. The trail takes us up to scenic view points, but it also exposes us to the strongest winds. We often have to brace ourselves when the strongest gusts hit us. Glad we have trekking poles and use the 4 points of contact frequently.

We will only see one more hiker on the trail today. At this point in the hiking season, hikers are quite spread out. Some days of hiking we have seen no one. Our tentative plan is to stop several miles before Interstate 15. Then the next day we will stop at McDonalds to fill up with water for a 20 mile stretch of no water.  This plan changes when we come to an area that we wanted to spend the night. The wind is picking up and there are no protected areas. The trail takes us up to scenic view points, but it also exposes us to the strongest winds. We often have to brace ourselves when the strongest gusts hit us. Glad we have trekking poles and use the 4 points of contact frequently.

 The trail is a bit of a tease. We have seen the interstate for quite a while, but the trail parallels it and it seems for ever to get there. Finally we do and see our first trail sign that points us to....

The trail is a bit of a tease. We have seen the interstate for quite a while, but the trail parallels it and it seems for ever to get there. Finally we do and see our first trail sign that points us to....

 One needs to get water here and most people fill up their stomachs as well. We opt for milkshakes, sundaes and orange juice. This area seems to have an abundance of train traffic so we hope to be able to find an area to camp once we leave here. It is about 6 when we leave so we don't have a lot  of time before it gets dark. We walk under the interstate and then cross several RR tracks. It is still quite windy and we are relieved when we find a spot that will work. We put the stakes in as best we can and double stake the lines. This may be the windiest night yet.  Donna did have to get up once during the night to reset the stakes.

One needs to get water here and most people fill up their stomachs as well. We opt for milkshakes, sundaes and orange juice. This area seems to have an abundance of train traffic so we hope to be able to find an area to camp once we leave here. It is about 6 when we leave so we don't have a lot  of time before it gets dark. We walk under the interstate and then cross several RR tracks. It is still quite windy and we are relieved when we find a spot that will work. We put the stakes in as best we can and double stake the lines. This may be the windiest night yet.  Donna did have to get up once during the night to reset the stakes.

Mileage hiked 25

APRIL 12

With the wind still blowing, we break down camp and start down the trail about 5:15. Today is almost entirely up. Looks like we will be gaining over 5000 feet in the next 20 miles. There is a water cache which we are not depending on, but would top our containers if water was available in about 4 miles. When we arrive there is only about a half of liter left in one of the containers. It is good advice not to count on caches. Now the climb begins and we wind our way up the mountains.

 The views are beautiful

The views are beautiful

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 We pass a couple who are living in Japan using bamboo for their trekking poles. They speak broken English so our conversation is rather short. We have two options to get to Wrightwood. One would get us there this evening the other one tomorrow morning. Spikes and Michel want to get there tonight, we decide to get there tomorrow. This most likely means that we will not see them again.  We continue down the trail and stop at Gruffy's campground. The wind continues to blow and at 8000 feet it will soon be below freezing. We layer up and snuggle into our bags. Tomorrow will be in the town of Wrightwood.

We pass a couple who are living in Japan using bamboo for their trekking poles. They speak broken English so our conversation is rather short. We have two options to get to Wrightwood. One would get us there this evening the other one tomorrow morning. Spikes and Michel want to get there tonight, we decide to get there tomorrow. This most likely means that we will not see them again.  We continue down the trail and stop at Gruffy's campground. The wind continues to blow and at 8000 feet it will soon be below freezing. We layer up and snuggle into our bags. Tomorrow will be in the town of Wrightwood.

Miles hiked 22