0 In California (USA)/ Pacific Crest Trail

PCT 2018 Days 27-33

Day 27

Miles: About 14

Health: Feet are killing me.

Currently reading: Hidden Figures & James

We slept in glorious hotel beds. I think everyone should do an extended backpacking trip at least once just so you can appreciate things like beds and showers on a whole new level. I slept in until 8am which was way later than normal. (I had been woken up by an earthquake at 4am, but then went back to sleep.)

We dominated the free breakfast. I ate oatmeal and a Belgian waffle and an egg and an orange and hot coco. I like being able to eat everything I want and not get fat. There’s something to this hiking thing. We had to check out by noon so we chilled out for a while and talked with other hikers on their plan for the day.

We had a daunting 28 mile no water stretch that included climbing up a mountain and gaining 5,000 feet. Woof. We decided to leave around 4pm and night hike as much as we could. We went to the famous PCT McDonalds and ate and hung out for a few hours. Hikers are a mainstay at this McDonalds and as long as you order food you can drop your bag and no one bats an eyelash. Well, some of the patrons were a bit shocked.

Cajun Pass is just a junction and not a town so it is filled with travellers passing through and not permanent residents. People don’t know about Thru hikers in Cajon like they do in Big Bear or Idyllwild. We ran into many of our friends and enjoyed swapping stories. We headed out at four o’clock with Smoother and Meat Gazer. We hiked about 14 miles and until 11pm. Night hiking is weird, I’m not sure how I feel about it. But I was so glad we weren’t doing the hike in the heat of the day, it was brutal.

We took a bit of a short alternate at one point. Opting to walk on a road that runs parallel to the PCT instead of the actual trail. The reason being was that there was a fire a couple years back and now that section of trail is overgrown with poodle dog bush, the nastier cousin of poison oak and ivy. Since we were night hiking we didn’t want to risk the inevitable contact we would have and he misery after, so we took the alternate route.

We ended up cowboy camping on the road at 11:00pm and sleeping until 3:30am. It was cool to fall asleep under the stars and the lights of the nearby city.

Day 28

Miles: About 14

Health: Feet still hurting.

Currently reading: Hidden Figures & The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy & James

We started hiking again at 4am to try and beat the heat for the remaining 14 miles. It was a lot of up hill and our feet were still hurting. Today was tough. At the very end, however, we were greeted by two former Thru hikers with trail magic! They were just setting up as we arrived and we got to nab some fruit, sweets, and salsa. It was heavenly.

We got a ride down to Wrightwood by a very friendly but very passionate weed user. She really, really wanted us to try her own brand, and although I don’t really see anything wrong with it, it’s just not my thing so we politely refused.

Wrightwood is tiny. It’s basically two streets. However, it is very hiker friendly. We ate at the local Mexican restaurant for lunch. My nachos were HUGE. We were practically falling asleep at the table and decided we should try to find a trail angel who would put us up for the night.

We stopped by the Mountain Hardware store where we could drop our bags and look at the list of trail angels in town who were willing to host hikers. KP called one on the list and they said they would take us and could pick us up when we needed! Score! We signed the hardware store’s logbook and got a pin as a reward. Next I went to the post office to pick up my new air mattress. The mattress drama continues. The last few nights my stupid Therm-A-Rest has actually been working quite well so I’ve decided to stick with it until it entirely poops out on me and then get my new Big Agnes one sent to the trail. So I sent the box back to my mum but took out my new down booties. Woohoo!

We resupplied at the grocery store and holy heck – it was the most expensive resupply ever! Things that are normally 99 cents were $3 or $4! That was painful. We ran into Danni & Kye again which was nice. We haven’t seen them since Idylwild. We called up out trail angel, Diane, and she picked us up. She and her husband Ken are treasures! We were so lucky to get them! We were given the bottom floor of their house, got to take showers, ate home cooked food, AND they have two cats! It was such a lovely evening chatting about our different lives and talking about the trail. Rainbow, another hiker, was also staying with them. This was such a wonderful evening, although I’m still having a problem with one toe. I think my feet have grown to big for my shoes. Let’s throw more money away and get new shoes, shall we?

Well, goodnight. I have a bed waiting for me.

Day 29

Miles: 14

Health: Feeling ok today.

Currently reading: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy & The Night Circus

We got to sleep until 7ish and then started packing up our stuff. Diana had cooked us a glorious Mexican themed breakfast and we felt so spoiled. We couldn’t have ended up at a better trail angel’s house. Thank you so so so so so much to Diana and Ken, if you ever read this! We were truly blessed staying with you and are so grateful. Diana dropped us off at the trail head and we headed on. We bid goodbye for now to Rainbow as she was going to do a section of trail she skipped a few days earlier. Maybe we’ll run into her again.

We hiked up and down for a few miles to get down to a parking lot at the base of Mt. Baden-Powell. The PCT goes up 3,000ft in four miles and just misses the summit, so everyone summits anyway. The hike was hard. So hard. So uphill. So much elevation. Leaving town we had lots of food and 3 litres of water, our packs were so heavy. It took us 2.5 hours to do the whole hike. Just before the summit we sat on a tree to catch our breath and eat a snack. We saw a sign next to the tree that informed us that the tree for which our butts now rested upon was estimated to be 1,500 years old. Whoa.

We went to the summit and took in the views. It was awesome to look down on the flat desert that we’ll be traversing in no time. We took the normal photos and videos and then decided it was time to press on. We still had six more miles to go and it was already 4:00pm. The last six miles dragged on and I was getting very cranky. I was cold, my feet hurt, and my pack’s weight was resting to much on my shoulders. We finally arrived at the campsite, set up, and had dinner. We met Ironman and Weatherman and swapped stories about living abroad and military life.

Day 30

Miles: 17 to mile 400!

Health: Everything hurts but nothing too badly.

Currently reading: The Night Circus & James (I’m purposely reading each book of the Bible very slowly, over and over, that’s why I’m on each book for so long. Just FYI)

Well, today we hit another hundred marker and I thought perhaps my “curse” would continue. Today was a tough hike but the day as a whole wasn’t too bad. It started off with a crazy assent to the (almost) top of Mt. Williamson. We went straight up and then straight down. Boo hiss. Every bit of altitude you lose on the PCT you gain back tenfold. That’s how the rest of the day went as well: we go down two feet, go up twenty.

My hiker hunger is serious now and all I think about it food. I want to have deep thoughts about life, future, faith, but all I end up thinking about is what flavour my next Cliff Bar is.

We did have another snake adventure today, though! We were down in a creek bed, getting water. It was cold and forest-y. You would maybe think you might see a snake but not a rattlesnake by any means in this location. WRONG. We were sitting and chatting, I had just done a short vlog check-in, when all of a sudden Mother Hen (calmly, but with much urgency) yells “Oh my gosh! Snake!” We both jump behind the large rock we were sitting on and watch as the very calm, black snake slithers out. It takes us a moment to realise the head shape was very “poisonous snake” shaped, and then we see the rattle. He sat there and let us take all the photos and videos we liked and then decided we were boring and slithered away. A few minutes later he decided to come back so we took that as our cue to vacate the premises. We passed the 400 mile marker which was crazy. I feel like we’ve been out here forever and yet 100 miles seems like yesterday. Tomorrow is our one month anniversary on the trail! Tonight is gonna be cold! We’re camping with a few people we met way back on day two and Ironman made it as well.

Day 31

Miles: 18

Health: Feeling ok

Currently reading: The Night Circus & James

Today was one month on the trail! Yay! It’s crazy how fast and slow his month has gone. But I am still feeling so blessed to be out here even on bad days. Today was a pretty chill day, actually. We didn’t have any crazy elevation gains and the temperatures were cool. KP and I hiked at very different speeds today so I was alone on trail for much of the day. I’ll tell you a little secret, when I’m hiking alone, I tend to turn on my music and dance a bit down the trail. It makes me happy and no one’s watching, right? Well, today I had not seen a soul in ten miles so I cranked up my Disney toons and started grooving down the trail. A Moana song came on and I got reallllllllly into it. I glanced to my right to a ridge maybe 30-40 feet away and saw a hiker who most definitely saw the show. I did the customary wave and head nod and tried to pass it off as stretching my arms. Probably unconvincingly as I haven’t seen anyone stretching their arms by twirling their hiking poles. Oh, well. I finally caught KP who had service and had called her mum to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She let me also call my mum and we talked for a couple of minutes. We made it to a remote fire station at mile 418 and were able to order pizza, coleslaw, and cheesecake. I friggin love food! We demolished all the food in about five minutes. We are camped in a windy spot with lots of hikers. I hope I’ll be warm!

Day 32

Miles: 17.3

Health: My shoes are breaking down, my insoles are pointless, and my feet have grown to much. I need new shoes.

Currently reading: The Night Circus & The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy & James

It was cold this morning. We took much to long getting out of camp. That pizza last night gave me so much energy this morning, I pushed harder than I have in a while. I know I haven’t been eating enough. I’ve been running on empty. Food is just so heavy! My next resupply needs to be bigger. We had a lot of ups and downs and it stayed cold most of the day. We walked through thick clouds for most of it, the sun never burned them off. We are walking in quite the hiker bubble right now, there are so many people around. It’s nice and annoying at the same time. Apparently, just before getting to camp there was a large amount of Poison Oak that the other hikers talked about avoiding. Neither Mother Hen nor I saw any of it so now we’re terrified that we touched it. So far so good, but I reallllllly don’t need that right now. We didn’t take many breaks today which meant we got to camp at about 2:30pm but we shattered. We had great conversation with the millions of hikers camping here tonight. Tomorrow is a big day with two options for in town stops, (Hiker Heaven or KOA) so everyone just wants to get there. We are going for Hiker Heaven which means we have another 18 miles to go. Hiker Heaven offers rides to REI which we both need badly. I need new shoes and Mother Hen has a few things to look for.

Day 33

Miles: 18 to Hiker Heaven

Health: My feet are in pain, but it’s manageable.

Currently reading: The Restaurant at the End of the Galaxy & James

We rolled out of camp at 6:45am. We had eight miles to get to the KOA, a campsite where we could buy ice cream. I started out quick but soon my feet began to destroy me and I had to slow down. Once we got to the KOA I got some ice cream, an aloe drink, and a burrito. It was 9am. We had ten more miles to get to Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce. My feet started to rub even more so I inches my way there. We passed the Vasquez Rocks, famous for being filming locations in films and TV such as Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and The Lone Ranger. It was quite other worldly and crazy that they just pop up in the middle of the desert. We finally made it to Agua Dulce and were given a ride to Hiker Heaven. Hiker Heaven is run by some awesome trail angels who let dozens of hikers camp at their house every night for hiker season. They offer and outdoor shower, laundry, bathrooms, and carpools in and out of town. There are lots of amazing volunteers who make it all happen. It truly is remarkable and so appreciated. We right away started down the laundry list of things to do including taking showers and getting our laundry done. I spent a lot of time with the animals wandering the property including doggos, chickens, horses, and one very murderous rooster.

Randomly, the girl who set up her tent next to mine was someone I had connected with over YouTube! She recognised me and we started chatting about our treks. Check out Audrey (trail name: Opera) on “Never Have I” over on YouTube for her vlogs.

We went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and crawled into our tents to sleep off our food coma.

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