Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 30 - Jackson Flat campground - mile 371.6

It was really cold last night!  Woke up with sun shining in the tent door.  After packing up my ice coated tent, I set off for the hike along the Angeles Crest.  I wad immediately greeted with a cold grey cloud and wind blasting over the ridge. Condensation that collected on the trees was swept off by the rain causing mini rainstorms downwind of the trees.  I bundled up as best I could in my raingear but the wind penetrated my clothing. 
Today's hike called for a climb Mt Baden-Powell but there was no way I was going up alone.  I decided to pull up short of the mountain and hope that weather improves tomorrow.  Hot cocoa is so good right now because its really cold!


Day 29 - Acorn trail - mile 363.6

Spent the day doing the resupply thing.  Had breakfast at 1:00 pm.  By 6:00 I was hiking the 2.5 miles all the way back up the Acorn Trail with a full pack.  A lot cooler today.  Hoping to do 20 miles tomorrow.


Day 28 - Wrightwood - mile 363.6

Cooler today.  Clouds drifting into Cajon Pass.  Had an early start today with hopes of making it to town.
Had some trail magic at the Trailratz water cache.  Lots of climbing today.
At 5:45 I hit the Acorn Trail and headed down with no hesitantion.  Soon I was enjoying pizza and beer.  Went in on a hotel room with Gator and Shutterburst.  Took 2 showers!


Day 27 - above Cajon Pass - mile 345

Hot and sunny.  It was a long dry stretch to Cajon Pass.  Seeing I-15 in the distance for most of the day was unusual.  There were so many trucks and trains hauling freight to and from LA.
I met Bolts along the way and we hiked into the gathering of businesses best the interstate.
We blew right past McDonalds and found most of our friends at the taco stand.
After eating, we drank a few beers before grabbing a sandwich and some last minute goodies.
We said goodbye to each other under the interstate and I headed into section D.  I called my brother and hiked a while as it grew dark.  I found a rare flat spot to camp under a tower.  Bolts and Safari came up to join me. 
It was weird listening to the buzzing of the powerline and the traffic in the pass below.  Awesome view though!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 26 - Silverwood state park - mile 329

High clouds and a cool morning.  I'm up to date on my journal again.  Sorry I fell behind.  My goal today is to complete section C today.  The reward is fast food at the crossing!  Only 13 waterless miles to go.
My campsite in the closed group camping area of Silverwood State park was spectacular.   I had 14 picnic tables in a lighted area.  I saw quite a few hikers go by as it was getting dark heading to dry camps.  It's hard to leave this place.
Just had peanut butter and cheese tortillas to start the day.


Day 25 - Grass Valley creek - mile 317

Catching up on my journal.  Nothing really exciting happened except I did 24 miles yesterday.  Walking down Deep Creek was also pretty cool.Thanks for reading.


Day 24 - Holcomb creek camp - mile 293

I feel like I'm not getting much mileage in so I hiked all day.  all the way down Deep Creek and across the dam.
Route finding got a little tricky and I tried to flag some hikers over to the correct side of the river. 
Near the end of the day, we received trail magic.  Hot dogs, potato salad, soda etc at the end of the day. 
I hiked during the eclipse today.


Day 22 - Big Bear - mile 265.3

Sunny.  Got a ride to the trailhead at noon.  Saw Neon and Onamove.  pack is ful of food, arggh!


Day 23 - Bertha peak campsite - mile 276

Woke up.  Ate.  Packed up and hiked.     Same routine.
Saw lots of boy scouts camped along the creek in the morning.
Found a nice campsite under an oak tree on Holcomb creek.  There was an old concrete dam built on the river there.  I waded in the creek.  Dinner was terrible!


Day 21 - Highway 18 - mile 265.3

Stayed in Big Bear and resupplied.  Met a cool local named Charles and his girl Tamara.  We went out and shot pool and drank beer.  They invited me over and we bbq'd and drank more beer.  Crashed on thier couch. 
Good times.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 20 - San Bernadino trail highpoint - mile 248.3

Sunny but cold when I broke down my saddle camp.  Hiking by 7:00.  Easy trail led me to highway 18 where I hitched a ride into Big Bear.
I stayed at Motel 6 and enjoyed pizza, beer, mexican food, a shower, and tv.


Day 19 - Mission Creek - mile 226.2

Rose early to another sunny day. Talked to the 4 guys and Neon and On A Move.  After a quick breakfast of pop tarts and two cups of coffee I was moving myself.
The trail kept climbing and I was served a healthy dose of switchbacks.  For the third day the trail continued its climb from its lowest point in Ca at 1195' to 8000'.  At least it was cooler at the higher altitude.
After reaching Mission Creek trail camp the terrain eased.  My stride quickened.  I made good time until making a nice camp in a saddle.
Everyone who passed by talking about going into Big Bear.  The town stops are definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip so far.
For those that were concerned about my well being the last few days (mom and dad), I'm doing fine and my uphill strength has returned.  Thanks!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 18 - Whitewater Trout farm - mile 219.1

Brutal day.  Hiked 6 miles to Mission Creek before it became too hot to hike.  I sat under the shade of a sycamore tree.  I met Special Delivery from Julian.  He had dome stories to share about his thru attempt last year.  At 5:00 I packed up and then I hiked until dark.
The heat really made things challenging and I lost energy.  Hopefully I can regain some strength soon.


Day 17 - Snow Creek road - mile 206.5

I didn't sleep to well due to the wind.   I was hiking up to the faucet as other hikers were coming down.  I was glad to see that so many hikers had made it down to the important water source after such a brutal descent.
I filled up my water bottle for the 5 mile hike through the desert floor.  The part I almost skipped was soon completed.  I arrived at the bridge for a second time and enjoyed a cold soda.  Then it was off to Ziggy and the Bear's, trail angels.  They call thier place the Whitewater House.
I called Mom since it was Mother's Day.  Then enjoyed pizza and burgers while waiting for it to cool down.
I left at 5:00 and quickly made my way to the trout farm where I camped with 4 other guys - Jessie, Mike, Tyler, and Waffles.  Slept right next to the wading pond.  Its a wonderful park.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 15 - Taquitz Valley junction - mile 176.7

Sunny and warm.  I slept well and was hiking by 7:30.  The trail wound its way through the mountains and many junctions were passed.  The path was soft from forest duff.  Cool mountain air whispered through the trees.  The rocky clefts of the taquitz rocks gleamed in the white sunlight.  I started seeing hikers coming up the Devils Slide trail that I had seen prior to getting off the trail 25 miles ago. Maybe I didn't loose that much time after all.
As I was filling up my water containers, Russ comes up the trail!
We got caught up on our separate trips into town, which hikers call zeros or nearos, depending on thier mileage.
We decided to camp early in some boulders next to the last reliable water for 25 miles, the north fork of the San Jacinto river.
Some hikers came in late and camped near.

I only went about 9 miles.  That is a nearo.


Day 14 -Cedar Springs camp - mile 162.3

Clear and sunny.  When I woke up st 5:40, Greyhound was already gone.  I took my time getting ready with having the pleasure of having such a nice campsite to myself. That's when I noticed all of the woodpeckers and hummingbirds enjoying the oasis.
There was a bit of a security breach last night when a mouse tried to chew a hole in my tent.  I slapped the tent where the noise was and felt it go flying.  It scurried off and I threw out the half eaten bar that it was after as a sacrafice so I could get some sleep.
Eventually I donned my pack.  Trudging back the mile up to the PCT was a great way to start the day, especially since I was loaded with 6 liters of water.
Over Apache Peak, down Forbes Saddle I went.  At one point the person I was behind took a wrong turn and I watched him climb up the wrong trail.  Too late to warn them or call out since I had followed before deciding it was the wrong trail and going back to a switchback where the navigation error occurred.
Great day to be in the mountains.  The trail skirted 9000' elevation and was blasted out of the cliff in many places.
In the late afternoon I saw Wolverine and a few more thru's.  I also saw the person that turned the wrong way. The stream was still flowing above Little Taquitz valley do I quickly found a great camp amongst some granite outcroppings.
It's really nice to be out here!


Day 16 - North Fork San Jacinto river - mile 184.9

Sunny again.  Its getting a little old.  It's ok when there is tree cover but its often very sparse to non existent.  Like today.
Everything started well.  Short switchbacks got me across Fuller Ridge and soon the trail began its 25 mile descent to Interstate 10 below.  Below the treeline again there was no shade.   The temperature increased as I went down.  And down. And down.
All of the switchbacks got annoying after a while.  You could see the valley floor and your next water source but the trail would cut across the rocky hillside almost a mile only to lose 100 feet.  I started seeing other hikers out of water.  Some were crouched up against rocks or the tiniest shrubs seeking shelter from the sun that beat down mercilessly.  Someone said it was 115 degrees on thier thermometer!
When I finally reached the water faucet - put there especially for hikers - it was in full sun!  I gathered with other hikers behind a medium sized rock in an attempt to avoid the sun.
The security guard that watches over the grounds offered rides down the hill towards the trail angels house.  I jumped at the chance and soon found myself crammed in the back of a small pickup with 4 other hikers and 5 packs. We even went on the freeway like that!
When we got dropped off just north of the freeway, I went under the bridge just up see who was around.  I saw Skeeter, Blade and Whodie there and drank some ice cold beers courtesy of the local trail angels.
After a while I became uneasy about skipping the 5 miles from the faucet up the I-10 bridge.  I decided to catch a ride back so I hike that segment.  Call me a purist.
I set up the tent in the wind and had a sleepless night.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 13 - Idyllwild - mile 151.3

Sunny and warm.  I caught a ride back to where I got off the trail on highway 74.  The first car I thumbed picked me up.  It was herq.  I noticed he was in the coffee shop earlier so he may have known I needed a ride.
It was already hot at 9:00 when I started.  8 miles to the next off trail water at Live Oak Spring.  Saw a couple who asked if I was thru hiking and talked awhile.
Gentle climbing brought me to a junction where I saw the person ahead of me take the wrong turn.  I watched his silver umbrella climb the slope to the south.  He eventually passed me later that day.
Got down to Cedar Springs and had the area myself for awhile.  Later I was joined by Greyhound who was using an external frame pack and a Wentzel tent that is suited for backyard camping.  Great guy.  Former bike racer.
I found 4 morels in camp!


Day 12 - Idyllwild - mile 151.3

Took the day off.  Resupplied again which means I have added to the food weight of the pack.  Did laundry.  I could have checked out at 1:00 but decided to stay another night.
Asked Damsel if she wanted her box from the PO since her foot was bad and it was a mole walk into town.
Ended up carrying a huge box back.  It was a little cumbersome but I like to help people.  Especially hikers.
I also watched some basketball.  Kobe score 43 and almost won the game.


Day 11 - Coyote Canyon road - mile 139.3

Awoke to a beautiful morning.  Left camp at 8:00 am.  It was a hot and dry hike.  I passed one water cache. 
I also saw an horseman with 4 dogs.  He asked if I knew that there are mountain lions in the area.  Why is that equestrians do that?  Are they afraid?  That's the third time I've been "warned".   One guy even told me his horse sensed one up the trail.
I arrived st the Paradise Cafe before it closed at 3:00 and got my Jose burger.  The waitress was so nice.
I saw Damsel and Lucy, Nugio, Highlife, and Just a Test.  Highlife is a guy who hikes in a skirt.  Not only does he hike in a skirt, he wears it out in public places as in the Paradise Cafe!  The locals thought it was hilarious.  So did I!
I got a ride into Idyllwild where I took the rest of the day off.  cheap motel. The shower felt great!


Day 10 - Chihuahua Valley road - mile 127.1

Woke up early since I decided I didn't need my sleeping pad last night.  Tequila will do that to you.
Had some pancakes and sausage before leaving.  Russ and Young Gun were still sleeping when I left.
It was hot but breezy as I climbed up and over the pass.  Still feeling the partying from the night before, I took breaks often.  It felt like I was sleepwalking most of the day.
I finally reached the next water source, Tule Spring.  After a 2 hour break I started back up the hill only to see Russ on the way down.  Still wanting to get more miles in, I said goodbye as thunder cracked overhead.  Soon it started raining.  Then it was slush falling from the sky.  I put my parka over my pack and hid under a tree and waited.  A few hikers went by; Damsel and her dog Lucy went by with Young Gun. 
The rain went on for about 30 minutes and then I decided to pull out my raincoat.  That's when the weather stopped.   It always works that way.
After changing into a dry shirt, I hiked on for a few miles.  I could even seeing Russ in his red coat way down below in the Tule Creek campsite.   Soon I found nice level ground to make camp.  The plants looked do different after it rained.  I wandered around the wet desert landscape searching for the perfect camping spot. 
After setting up the tent and a big dinner I was watching the full moon rise to the east.   The air smelled of sage.  I drifted off to sleep as soon as my bag was zipped.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 9 - Agua Caliente Creek - mile 115.1

Warm and sunny.  Had the campsite to myself but noticed a few people sleeping under the oak trees.  These guys night hiked in after enjoying dinner in Warner Springs.
I was still weighed down with food as I started the climb.  When I heard rumors of a Cinco d'Mayo party my pace quickened.  I arrived at 3:00 and enjoyed beer, bbq'd chicken, watermelon, salad, and some basketball.  Trail Angel Mike Herrera is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
Great time!

Today I hiked with Nugio from Utah and Extra Credit from Portland! 


Day 8 - Barrel Springs - mile 101.4

What an incredible day!  Awoke misty drifting over the low hilltops.  It made the walk to Warner Springs very surreal.  Hills, the sun, even cows would appear out of the mist.
Arrived at Warner Springs at about 11:30 and immediately ditches my pack under the shade of some tall oaks near the school.  Then I retrieved my supply box and even enjoyed the warm beer I had sent myself.  Turned out that with everything closed in town, the closest beer was 16 miles.
Packed my food, washed clothes, ate a burger, and even picked up an acoustic guitar and played a little. 
Russ showed up as I was almost done with my town chores.  The Warner Springs community did a fantastic job.  I got antsy again and was back on the trail by 4:00 with Udi.  It was wonderful walking through the afternoon sunshine.  My pace was slow because I was weighted down with food.  I let Udi go ahead and took a break in the dry streambed. 
Up the trail I met Robert aka Banana Pants (no explanation needed) who was looking at a rattlesnake in the tall grass.  He tried to get a good shot with his camera mounted to his trekking pole but it wasn't until I parted the grass that the shot was considered a success.  He was very excited to show this video when he goes back to Austria.
Ended up at a nice creekside campsite after 5 miles.  I'm camped by myself for the first time on the trip.

Another great day on the trail!  My favorite hiking so far.

Earned my trailname....Bouncer, for my altercation at Lauguna Restraunt. 

Thank you trail angels and Warner Springs


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 7 - San Felipe hills - mile 80.5

Another windy night.  I woke up early and started packing.  Lots of people came by.  I met Cory from Denver so I immediately started talking about the Broncos and Peyton Manning.
I said goodbye to Russ after heating up some water.  Then I walked 23 miles to Barrel Springs.  Stopped at the third gate water cache and took approx 1 quart only.  I walked with Udi awhile and soon it seemed we were ahead of everyone since we could see miles ahead and behind.
When we eventually reached Barrel Springs there were wonderful signs that led to trail angels.  Food and beer were consumed.  The best surprise of the trip!

Oh, I also saw a jet go screaming through the canyon I had just passed through.  Top gun.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 6 - Chariot Canyon - mile 63.5

Windy with clouds to the west.  It wad so windy that my tent pegs were blowing out.  Got up and left early.  Stopped to look at the holes made by Native Americans in the wash.  I followed Jason up the dirt road that leads to the resumption of the trail but when I arrived at Rodriguez, he wad not there.  We guessed he did not see the turn and went up the hill for a while.
Took the long winding hillside and passed many familiar faces.  The vegetation changed as I hit the valley floor. 2 miles to the crossing and I was moving right along before being startled by a huge rattle snake.
Tanked up on water at the cache under the bridge and signe the register.  It was still very windy and dust and dirt were blasting my sunburned face. 
I decided to move on and slowly wound my way up the San Felipe hills through barrel cactus and ocotillo green from the recent rain.  Late afternoon sun found its way under my wide brimmed as I switchbacked up the hillsides loaded with 6 liters of precious water.
I took a long break overlooking the desert valley I just crossed and soon saw Russ coming up the trail.  We decided to call it quits for the day and camped in a sandy wash.  It was very windy and it was hard to put up the tent.
We were joined by Mellow Yellow in camp during dinner.  He's a very nice guy.  I also met Checkpoint and Wolverine today.  Lots of hikers in this section.  Running Feather counted 85 while going southbound today.
Everything is going great so far.  No blisters or foot pain. 
I'm so happy to be out here!


Day 5 - Penny Pines - mile 48.9

Sunny and clear.  Hiked to Pioneer Mail picnic area and tanked up on water.  Long dry stretch ahead.  Looked over at the Colorado desert most of the day.  Lots of yucca in bloom.  Dropped into Chariot Canyon and grabbed a nice spot just short of the main camping area.  We watched many hikers come in and soon were joined by Bolts and Jason.  Very windy in the canyon and Jason's tent was flattened with him inside when I awoke. 
I'm having the time of my life!


Day 4 - Lower Morris Meadow - mile 39.1

Sunny and clear.  Got up and hiked about 4 miles to Mt Laguna.  Russ had a box to pick up at the PO and we also wanted a burger.  Saw Paul from the train ride down - he is now known as "Natty" for his ability to pound cheap beer.
I went to the restraunt while Russ sorted through his box.  The restraunt was busy but had a limited menu.  I had a burger and 2 beers.  I even got challenged to a fight by some freak who was making some scene.  I told him to fuck off just to watch him really blow his fuse.  Russ was right there to back me.  His poor kid had to watch his father loose it during such a cool time as a thru hike.  Fun times.  Perfect town day. 
Headed out about 4:00 but I had to run back .5 because I forgot my water bottle.  We hiked to the next water at Noble Canyon trailhead and stealth camped. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 3 - Boulder Campground - mile 26.4

Sunny.  Took our time getting ready this morning.  Our campsite was the first one you came to off the trail and everyone asked us about the water and we provided the directions.  Some found it and others did not.
We hiked to Fred's Canyon and lounged with about a dozen other thrus.  We all waited out the heat and talked about the trail. 
We set our sites on an off trail campsite called Lower Morris Meadow about .3 miles off the trail.  On the trail leading to it we saw some firefighters.  They said they were putting out some campfires but I think they were just hiding new firerings.  One of the younger guys driving a forestry truck told us there was no water and Russ just said bullshit!  It was a funny kind of standoff before learning the trough was empty but the seep flowing.
We found a nice site under the some Jeffrey pines - a nice change from all of the brush we had been passing through. 
We shared tortilla soup, a can of chili, and a pint of vodka.  Listened to some music and took it easy.
Life is good.


Day 2 - Lake Morena - mile 20.6

I spent the morning sorting gear, charging my devices, preparing my bounce box and preparing.  Drank some beer with Russ at the lake overlook. 
After the group photo and a quick burger I wanted to leave.  Russ decided to go so we said goodbye to all our new friends and walked 5 miles the trail to Boulder Canyon campground.  It was lovely walking though black oak forest and grassy terrain.  Russ seems to know quite a bit about flowers and has been pointing them out.  It's the first time I've hiked with him and we have a lot in common. 
The campground is close to a hiway so it was a little tough to sleep.


Day 1 - Mexican border

Got up at 5:00 and caught a ride to the border.  The rain was gone and it was a beautiful morning.  I took a break before mile 1 just to let the actual start of the hike sink in and have breakfast.  I was joined by Steady from Texas. 
At 7:30 I called my brother and walked and talked my way up the trail.
Had 20 miles to do to get back to the campground so I put on some music and started rolling down the trail.  I passed Bill and Staci from Etna and talked a while.
At Hauser Creek I met Not a Chance, Croatian, 12 ounce and one other thru.  I took off up the hill and was soon passed by GQ who I hiked the last remaining miles with.  He shared some wonderful stories.
Found a backpack in my tent when I got back so I knew Russ was there.
Attended the movie showing and reading before going to bed.