CA PCT 2018

Wrightwood to Hiker Heaven

APRIL 13

We were cozy in our tent last night, but as soon as we unzipped the door this morning, the cold came rushing in. We had a hot meal to make so there would be no breakfast in our bed. As soon as we put our water bottle on the picnic table it quickly became ice.  We managed to eat our breakfast as we walked to stay warm. We left our campsite and quickly hiked the 5 miles to the road where we hoped to get a ride to Wrightwood.  This is the first time that we hiked with all our clothes on and it felt good. We had a short wait at the road. I guess we looked pretty cold. The driver took us right to the Mountain Hardware store where we had sent a resupply box.  This town gets a 5 star for being hiker friendly. Mountain Hardware is quite welcoming and encourages everyone to take advantage of trail angels who are wanting to host hikers. In fact while we were organizing our food a women drove up and said "I have room for six hikers" I will do your laundry while you shower and have plenty of food to make meals for you." Don and I had decided that we were going to a small campsite  to spend the rest of the day so we declined the offer. She then offered to take us to the trailhead 10 miles away. She has a house in Wrightwood that she comes up every other weekend from LA in the summer to host hikers. Her request is that you pass it forward. We ate a delicious lunch at the bakery before catching the ride to the trailhead. There was enough warmth in the sun to enjoy the afternoon. Volunteers supplied water at the campground and even came by later that evening to see if we needed anything.

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 It felt good to just have no place to go to today!

It felt good to just have no place to go to today!

Miles hiked 7

August 14

After spending a most relaxing afternoon yesterday. We were excited about hiking to the summit of Mount Baden Powell today. The last several days have been one of enduring the winds and so when this morning greeted us with calm, we accepted it with thanks. If one could choose a perfect day to do a summit bid, this was it!  It was a slow and consistent rest step getting us to the top. The views were outstanding as we looked back to where we had been yesterday and recalled the cold, windy night of two days ago.  

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Close to the top we passed the Waldron tree and took a moment to appreciate its significance.

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 The roots of the tree at the bottom are uncovered as the soil erodes away.

The roots of the tree at the bottom are uncovered as the soil erodes away.

 We met several other hikers today(non PCT hikers) who hike this mountain every year just to touch this tree and appreciate its long life. There were quite a few hikers today as this trail is quite close to the large population centers of southern CA. At the summit there is a plaque honoring Baden Powell who was a founder of the Boy Scouts.

We met several other hikers today(non PCT hikers) who hike this mountain every year just to touch this tree and appreciate its long life. There were quite a few hikers today as this trail is quite close to the large population centers of southern CA. At the summit there is a plaque honoring Baden Powell who was a founder of the Boy Scouts.

 The flag gave an indication of just how calm it is today,

The flag gave an indication of just how calm it is today,

 One can not stay on the summit for ever, so off we went down, down and down,

One can not stay on the summit for ever, so off we went down, down and down,

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 Most of the remaining day led us once again to a much lower elevation. A spring called Jimmy Spring was an amazing source of water. It was a great place to take a break and fill up our water bottles. Later we found out that many people from the cities just hike to here to get this great tasting water.  When we made it to a highway, we thought that most of our climbing was over for the day. A check with the map gave us different information, we had another rather long hike up to near the summit of another mountain, Mt. Williamson. We could have camped near the road, but that did not seem appealing so off we went up. up. up and than a rather steep down as well. Just as the light was fading from the sky we found a place to camp and we were thankful that the wind was not part of the equation tonight.

Most of the remaining day led us once again to a much lower elevation. A spring called Jimmy Spring was an amazing source of water. It was a great place to take a break and fill up our water bottles. Later we found out that many people from the cities just hike to here to get this great tasting water.  When we made it to a highway, we thought that most of our climbing was over for the day. A check with the map gave us different information, we had another rather long hike up to near the summit of another mountain, Mt. Williamson. We could have camped near the road, but that did not seem appealing so off we went up. up. up and than a rather steep down as well. Just as the light was fading from the sky we found a place to camp and we were thankful that the wind was not part of the equation tonight.

Miles hiked 19

April 15

Today road walking is on the schedule. Due to the trail being closed for an endangered frog species we are being re routed by using the highway. There is another option to take a much longer trail, but everyone that we talked to said to avoid it. We wait for first light to start walking as we want to make sure we are well seen by drivers. 

 I guess we did not really have to worry about cars. There were only a few that passed us while we hiked this 7 mile section.

I guess we did not really have to worry about cars. There were only a few that passed us while we hiked this 7 mile section.

 Pinecones for breakfast!

Pinecones for breakfast!

Just before we got off the road to get back on the trail, a car stopped, put the window down and said,"You PCT hikers?" When we acknowledged by saying yes. He then asked us if we would like a can of crushed pineapple. He proceeded to tell us why it would be good for us. The offer sounded great and we were soon in possession of the can. It was a great treat for a mid morning snack.

 When we jumped off the road to the trail we were greeted by this rock sign.   

When we jumped off the road to the trail we were greeted by this rock sign.

 

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The miles are adding up!

It has been an easy trail today, some forest service road and mostly mellow trails. We stop at Camp Glennwood which is not opened yet, but has picnic tables and bathrooms for hiker use. We decided to have some lunch here and just as we are finished eating several vehicles drive in.  Maxx  walks over and welcomes us to the camp. He drives up on weekends to provide trail magic for the hikers. He is on the board for the camp. Another neat thing he does is provide postcards and postage for the hikers to send. He offers to make us burgers, but since we have just eaten lunch and a full can of pineapple we decline. We do, however, accept the offer of freshly made brownies. Once again we experience the magic of trail magic!

 Camp Glenwood, Don and Maxx  Maxx relays the message that weather is moving in with high winds and cool temperatures. There is no indication that a storm is coming so add the information to nice to know.

Camp Glenwood, Don and Maxx

Maxx relays the message that weather is moving in with high winds and cool temperatures. There is no indication that a storm is coming so add the information to nice to know.

The trail has now changed its character, we are back to the mostly up terrain.

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We are also encountering the plant called poodle dog bush. Poodle dog bush grows quite frequently after fires. It can be quite the skin irritant if touched so we find ourselves weaving around the plants.

 Poodle Dog Bush

Poodle Dog Bush

We stop at a small seasonal stream to filter water. Mantis and Pick up, folks we haven't met yet pass us. They look quite clean and tell us that at one of the earlier towns that they had stopped, they met a couple who wanted to give them a night out when they were close to here. They met them at a trail head, took them out to eat and then got them a hotel for the night. A fun story to hear. They moved on and we finished getting our water. As we climb upwards, the weather is deteriorating. Our original plan to camp up high does not look good. On a ridge top we see Mantis and Pick Up setting up their camp. The wind is whipping their tent. We tell them that we are heading down even though it is getting late. Camping up here does not seem like a good idea. Fortunately for us the trail is down and easy to travel. The sun has set and we put up our tent in the wind. We can only imagine what the temperature and the wind is like up on the ridge.

Miles hiked 30

April 16

The wind blew all night and we were thankful that all our stakes held. There were several other tents in the area and they did not hold up to the wind. One of the hikers curled up into some bushes when his tent blew down. Needless to say he did not sleep well. We were camped near a fire station that had a faucet for a water source. We had to load up with water once again, it is an 18 mile stretch with no water.  The day starts out cold and stays that way for most of the day. We wear our puff jackets all day and find protected places to take breaks.

 The clouds whip overhead and we are hoping to find a protected place to camp. Up on a ridge we see this sign which confirms that not camping up high is a good idea.

The clouds whip overhead and we are hoping to find a protected place to camp. Up on a ridge we see this sign which confirms that not camping up high is a good idea.

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yikes!

 This plant added some color to the surroundings.

This plant added some color to the surroundings.

 Our destination tonight is the North Fork Ranger station. We were hoping that it would have some protection from the wind, but where the tent platforms were the wind was at full force. Several times today we had to use the brace and wait for the gusts to pass. We scanned the area and found a small spot in a ravine that provided a small place out of the wind. It was another cold night as we had frost on our tent when we got up.

Our destination tonight is the North Fork Ranger station. We were hoping that it would have some protection from the wind, but where the tent platforms were the wind was at full force. Several times today we had to use the brace and wait for the gusts to pass. We scanned the area and found a small spot in a ravine that provided a small place out of the wind. It was another cold night as we had frost on our tent when we got up.

Miles hiked 18

April 17

We waited till the first rays of sun hit our tent before venturing out. It was below freezing, but fortunately the wind had died. The sun quickly warmed us up as we packed up and headed down the trail.

 We met a women from Ca. who was doing a section hike, she told us the name of the plant that was blooming on both sides of the trail.

We met a women from Ca. who was doing a section hike, she told us the name of the plant that was blooming on both sides of the trail.

 Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

 We are in hill country today. Small ups and down as we hike towards Aqua Dulce.

We are in hill country today. Small ups and down as we hike towards Aqua Dulce.

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 We had been warned that todays hike could be brutal if the temperatures were high. We felt fortunate to have mild temps. today. The flowers were also a joy to observe,

We had been warned that todays hike could be brutal if the temperatures were high. We felt fortunate to have mild temps. today. The flowers were also a joy to observe,

 We passed by some unique rock formations that we were told had been used for filming  Star Wars episodes.

We passed by some unique rock formations that we were told had been used for filming  Star Wars episodes.

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 With a little imagination, we could visualize visitors from other worlds surrounding the rocks.

With a little imagination, we could visualize visitors from other worlds surrounding the rocks.

Soon we were on the approach to Aqua Dulce. First though we had to go under a roadway and follow the large sign with the arrow.

 Glad we could see the other side!

Glad we could see the other side!

 No chance of getting lost here,

No chance of getting lost here,

The trail led us through the Vasquez county park. We weave our way through many varied rock formations. Apparently these have also been used as backdrops for filming as well as a hideout for some earlier robbers.

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 The trail leads right thru the town of Aqua Dulce and when it passed by a restaurant with a Pizza sign in the window, we stopped! Pizza seemed like a fitting meal for the hike today. Soon we were on the road to Hiker Heaven.  Hiker Heaven is a place catering to thru hikers. One enters the gate with the PCT sign and is quickly welcomed by either a volunteer or by another hiker who is staying there. Upwards of 50 hikers can be there during the peak hiking season. When we arrived there were probably about 20. There is a two night limit or otherwise one could probably get quite comfortable with the surroundings. Laundry is done for you, hot showers are available, charging stations are in many places and a trailer has a kitchen and tv for hikers to use. They also receive resupply boxes here. Donations are welcomed, but not required. We hand our laundry over to a volunteer, put on loaner clothes, converse with some of the other hikers and head to bed.

The trail leads right thru the town of Aqua Dulce and when it passed by a restaurant with a Pizza sign in the window, we stopped! Pizza seemed like a fitting meal for the hike today. Soon we were on the road to Hiker Heaven.

Hiker Heaven is a place catering to thru hikers. One enters the gate with the PCT sign and is quickly welcomed by either a volunteer or by another hiker who is staying there. Upwards of 50 hikers can be there during the peak hiking season. When we arrived there were probably about 20. There is a two night limit or otherwise one could probably get quite comfortable with the surroundings. Laundry is done for you, hot showers are available, charging stations are in many places and a trailer has a kitchen and tv for hikers to use. They also receive resupply boxes here. Donations are welcomed, but not required. We hand our laundry over to a volunteer, put on loaner clothes, converse with some of the other hikers and head to bed.

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Miles hiked 18