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PCT 2018 Days 22-26

Day 22

Miles: 0!

Health: Birds flying high, you know how I feel…..

Currently reading: No reading today.

Sleeping in until 6am is a bit of a bummer, but that’s where my biological clock is. Still, I feel rested. We hung around the hotel catching up on the world until 11:00 when we were taken to the grocery store by someone that works at our hotel. Future PCT hikers, The Vintage Lakeside Hotel in Big Bear is great!We went to the Dollar Store and Vons to resupply. I spent to much money and got to much food. It’s so nice to resupply in a proper grocery store and not just a mini mart. I’m packing out an orange and two avocados. Heavy, but hopefully worth it. We then ate leftovers for lunch and half of our pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Each. We each got our own pint. I called my Mum and then my Sister. My nephew says he’s coming to visit me on the PCT and my niece still thinks I’m Queen Elsa.

Next we went down to the sporting store to check out air mattresses. I’m still having trouble with mine but they didn’t have any good options. I’m going to order one and get it sent to Wrightwood. Hopefully I can make it through another week on this stupid Therm-A-Rest. Therm-A-Rest, can you sponsor me so I can see if your other products don’t suck? We had Taco Bell for dinner because I just can’t resist. (This will be a recurring theme with me over the next few months.) I tried something new which turned out to be a mistake. Stick with what you know and love, Oz! I finished my pint of ice cream and made the comment that I felt like I should be breaking up with someone. Mother Hen then pointed out that we were breaking up with our hotel room. That’s truly tragic. I’m gonna need a holiday after this six month “holiday.”Then we were tasked with trying to pack everything back into our bags. Tomorrow is gonna suck with all the food but at least the water carries won’t be so intense. Last showers and bed.

Day 23

Miles: 20.9

Health: Sun in the sky, you know how I feel…..

Currently reading: Stardust & The Halloween Tree & James

Happy Star Wars Day!

We left the Vintage Lakeside Hotel at 7:00. The hotel has drop off services to the trailhead and we were joined by two other hikers. We have a good six days until Wrightwood, so our bags were heavy with food. Thankfully we shouldn’t have crazy water carries, at least at the beginning. The terrain was pretty good today. Ups and downs but nothing super steep or long. I know I don’t have my hiker legs quite yet but I feel that they are well on their way. Uphill isn’t quite as awful as it used to be. I packed out a couple fruits and veggies this time, which is heavy but worth it. My first snack of the day was the orange I brought. I have been craving oranges in trail which is odd because I don’t so much care for them in my “real life.” I also packed out some avocados to go with dinner. P.S. – the orange was heavenly. We went through a lot of burnt sections of the trail today. It’s both sad and beautiful at the same time. It’s sad to see these massive trees either burnt to a crisp or fallen with their hundreds or rings visible. But it’s also kind of glorious to see all the new growth bursting out beneath the death and decay. There were so, so many lizards out today. Every ten seconds you would see a wide-eyed reptile running out from under an old stump or branch. They would run along next to me and as they were filled with fear at the sight of me, their presence filled me with joy. We hit our first 20 mile day today! Well, 20 TRAIL miles. It feels like a great accomplishment because that’s pretty much all PCT hiker’s goal is to be going 20 miles a day. Some find it easy, but we had to work up to it. Now to get to 25! Water was scarce at the end and although we weren’t dangerously low on water, it was a bit discouraging to come to one dry creek bed after another. Finally, we found a nice pond with space for two tents. We set up and I gotta say this has to be our most breathtaking spot to camp yet. There is the quiet trickle of water and many birds and insects singing their melodies for all to hear. There is also a duck! This is euphoric. This is what I pictured back when the PCT was still just a dream away.

Day 24

Miles: 18.9

Health: Sorry Nina Simone, I am not feeling good.

Currently reading: The Halloween Tree & Wildwood & James

I’ve decided I have a “hundred mile curse”. Each day we have reached a hundred mile marker has been a bad day. At 100 miles we were hit with a severe wind/rain/sleet/snow storm on top of a ridge. At 200 miles we did the stretch that Thru hikers notoriously call one of the worst days of the PCT, walking down from San Jacinto to the 10. And today we hit 300 miles, and it was a bad, bad day. First off I fell about four times. The worst time I hit my knee really hard and limped the rest of the day. Blisters have started to appear on my feet as well. I was just hobbling along for the whole day. But let’s focus on some good things!We arrived by a large stream where many locals come to swim and spend time together, picnicking and enjoying the summer. It seems summer has officially begun. I heard so many, “Have a great summer!” before I left for the PCT. It seems like so much more than a summer, but essentially, that’s what it is. As kids get out of school and summer vacations begin, we walk. And then we continue to walk. And then we walk some more. Sitting by the stream, watching the young families come and ago reminded me of such lovely summer days gone by. Days as a child when your entire world was wrapped up with what fun you were having at that moment, not drawn away by the thoughts and stresses of adult life. The pure joy of no school, burning sun on red skin, and the laughter of your parents who were also forgetting the stresses for that one blissful moment. Hiker Hunger and thirst seems to have kicked in. I’m just thinking about food at all times and constantly eating. Now just for those hiker legs to show up.

Day 25

Miles: 22.4 to mile 325

Health: My feet want to murder me.

Currently reading: Wildwood

I just walked 22.4 miles for pizza.

Not my best decision, not my worst. The day started off well enough. We got up and headed to the Deep Creek Hot Springs. The hot springs are popular with both locals and PCTers. It consists of five pools and is clothing optional. We made the easy decision to keep our clothing on and we hopped in for a half-hour soak. We couldn’t stay to long or all our well earned calisus would rub away. We ended up being wet for the next few hours as we hiked which was an unfortunate side effect. On the hike out of the hot springs and event occurred that was possibly one of the scariest moments of my life. We were up on a high ridge, the trail is 18 inches and below was a deep canyon. I was in front of KP and as I walked past a bush about three feet above me on the ridge I heard that very distinct rattle that will send shivers up even the boldest of spines. I glanced to my right towards the sound and saw a huge rattlesnake sliding down the ground from the bush towards my feet. I lunged forward and narrowly avoided it. I yelled for KP to hold up and I swerved around to see the snake. He looked incredibly my pissed off and was huge. I must have accidentally started him and he lost his balance and slid towards me. We stood there staring at each other for a few minutes and the he reluctantly slid off the trail. It was really creepy. We ran into a trail angel waiting for her husband and she offered us each a cold apple. Fruit tastes the way it’s described in Biblical times out here on trail. Like honey from heaven. I’ve never tasted such an amazing apple. The rest of the day went down hill, not literally, unfortunately. We knew there was a campsite down the trail that a pizza place delivered to, but it was further than we had planned to go. We decided to push for it, we had to make it by 7pm in order to order a pizza. Mother Hen was going faster than most of us that day so she took some orders and blazed on ahead. After 300 miles I am finally getting blisters which is super annoying. I guess maybe my shoes are wearing down, but my feet felt awful. I practically inched my way the last few miles. But dang, that pizza tasted incredible. I guzzled down a bunch of 7up and went to bed. I love being at lower elevation because it means I’m not cold at night.

Day 26

Miles: 13.8 to Cajon Pass

Health: Feet are killing me.

Currently reading: Wildwood (I’ve given up on it.) & Hidden Figures & James

Well, today turned out much differently than we had originally planned. This is a perfect example of “LISTEN TO YOUR BODY,” even when you don’t want to. We slept in until 6am and both of us felt like we had been hit, squashed, pummelled, and mutilated by a train and we were glad we only had about 14 miles to go. That was the shortest day we have had in a while. There is a 28 mile dry stretch coming up into Wrightwood that includes gaining 5,000 feet and it is a daunting to say the least. We planned to come into Cajon Pass and hang out for the afternoon and then night hike most of it. Well, that’s not what happened. The 14 mile hike wasn’t to crazy, then ending involved a fun decent of switchbacks that felt a bit like a rollercoaster. But once we arrived at Cajon Pass, known for its McDonalds, we changed our plans. We stopped by a fruit stand and I got a huge box of fruit, complete with lemon and hot spices on top, and we went to Subway for lunch. Most hikers hit the McDonalds but being a veggie, there’s not much for me there. We planned to stay in a hotel in Wrightwood but found the town totally booked up. (Well, in our price range, at least.) I understand that there are a lot of trail angels that let you stay with them, but both of us were in such bad shape that we didn’t want to risk it. We decided to stay at the Best Western in Cajon for the night to rest our feet and head out late tomorrow for a night hike. I have a package to pick up in Wrightwood and we don’t want to beat that either. It turned out to be an excellent choice because once I took off my socks I found I had more blisters than I had thought. I need to stay off my feet and let them dry out before heading up that intense next stretch.

We took showers and I aided my blisters. We stuffed ourselves full of the much inferior Del Taco and called our families.

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