Desert and Sierra Views

Thinking we were out of the ice and snow, we woke up to more ice.  That’s what we get for thinking.

Luckily it was just the tent.

With the clouds still flowing over the top of the San Gabriel mountains, we had a bit of condensation early in the evening.  Then we dropped below freezing, which gave us nice sheets of clear ice covering the tent. That delayed our start as we waited for the sun to crest the ridge and melt it off.

Coffee time.

Once we got moving, the miles melted quickly, just as the ice did when the sun hit the tent.

Soon we reached a ridgeline that gave us a fantastic view to the north looking at the southern Mojave Desert and a glimpse of the far southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Our goal for the next few weeks.

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Then another afternoon of climbing. Climbing while dodging the dreaded poodle dog bush.

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Why dreaded? Read the “Irritant” section of the linked Wikipedia article.

Nasty stuff.

Once we got over the top, the descent was quick to our next water stop, the last before a long 18-mile dry stretch.  It was getting late in the day, so we decided to set up camp in a roadside picnic area instead of pushing forward and hoping to find a spot in a few miles.

We chose well.

Especially since a local stopped by with a stack of hot pizzas and a cooler of PBR.  We had already eaten, but wouldn’t you know it, that PBR tasted pretty good.

Day 38 – 19 / 419

A repeat of yesterday in every sense.

More great views of the mountains ahead, an ugly climb before lunch while dodging a ton of poodle dog bush, a nice descent but continuing poodle dog bush hell, then finally breaking out of that he’ll only to be faced with a couple of miles of poison oak before getting to camp early.  Early enough that we could push forward, but with no sure campsite for at least 8 miles, we stayed put.

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Day 39 – 17 / 436

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More Snow

Day 34/35 – 0 / 369

After two zero days in Wrightwood, one to let the snow finish falling and one for it to melt off the trail, we were off.

A beautiful warm morning brought us fast trail conditions for the first couple of hours.  But we were facing our next climb, the one to the summit of Mount Baden-Powell.

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The worst part about this section was that we were at the same elevation as halfway up the climb, but would have to drop all the way down to the highway at the bottom before we could start the climb.

Being a Sunday morning, the trail was full of day-hikers.  It was quite entertaining to have to pull aside at every switchback to let the unladen pass by, plus answer all of their questions  (“where are you going?”, “you’re going where?”, “how long will it take you?”, “you’re going where?”, etc.).

Since we were on the north face of the mountain, we hit snow about midway up.  It was slushy, so the feet were wet quickly. By the time we were 3/4 of the way up, a few of the day hikers were sliding their way back down, some not so gracefully.

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After a few hours of climbing, we had lunch at 9,399′ amongst the clouds.

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Then it was time to make it down to find a place to camp.  Instead of heading back down the way we ascended, we turned left and hiked westward along the ridgelines.  At that elevation, the snow was still deep from the days before.  Luckily the trail was easy to follow, thanks to those hikers who headed out as soon as the snow quit falling.

Unfortunately, the dry socks that we put on at lunch were no longer dry.  Good thing we wear wool.

Where the trail ran directly on or next to the ridgeline, the drifts were still deep.  Some hikers took detours around the drifts but trampled vegetation, but we stuck to the trail when we could.  That meant post-holing, as Jennifer demonstrates here.

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Needless to say, the snow slowed our progress.  We were hoping to get another 10 miles or so and hopefully below the snow line, but could only manage another 7 before we stopped at a campsite. 

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The campsite wasn’t our first choice by any stretch as it’s one place that the bears are known to come looking for food.  But we didn’t see any prints in the snow and we were beat. Yogi could come shopping if he wished.

Our soaking wet feet kept us cold, so we were fed and in our bags long before sunset.

Day 36 – 15 / 384

Frozen shoes.  As in breaking the ice in them and the laces so we could put them on.  At least our socks from the morning before were almost dry.

Almost.

Needless to say, we rushed to break camp and get moving.  Luckily the slushy snow froze overnight.  On the downside, the slush froze overnight, making for some very slippery steps.  But it was short-lived as we dropped below the snow line a little more than a mile down the trail.

But the deep marine layer was still pouring over the San Gabriel mountains, keeping us cold and damp.

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The rest of the day was climbing to descend, descending to climb and often climbing just for climbing’s sake.

Still beat and drained from the day before, we both had a bad day.  One of those days full of internal dialogues best not shared.  Never was there a negative external dialog other than a quick glance at the next stretch of trail and a “you’ve got to be kidding me” or words to that effect.

We kept pushing.

Then this happened.

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Half a mile later, camp and sleep.

It was still a good day.

Day 37 –  16 / 400

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Wrightwood Vignettes

A couple of scenes in the town that opened its doors to hikers caught in the late winter storm.

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Looking back towards the ridgeline that was the source of our adventure 24 hours prior. The snow showers were just clearing and we would sit tight for another 24 hours so that the snow could consolidate or melt.

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Jen goofing in front of one of the neat public art pieces in town.  Each state is completed only with state correct license plates.

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Our cabin turned into a drying/airing shack.  We were thankful for the open rafters and well-placed ceiling fans, a recent addition to these 1930’s-era cabins.

But most of all, we were thankful for the friendly faces of the locals.

“I Did Not Get the Memo”

Knowing that we had only a 7 mile hike into the McDonald’s rest stop on Cajon Pass on Interstate 15, our early morning alarm was easily ignored and we rolled over for a bit more sleep.

But there was some cause for concern.  An approaching storm with significant winter conditions was forecast up in the mountains in which we were headed.  Before we lost cell coverage leaving Big Bear, it looked to be hitting on Friday, which gave us sufficient time to get to Wrightwood, our next stop.

Three days later, with cell coverage again, we saw that it was still forecast to hit on Friday, but with a new significant shot ahead of it on Thursday evening.  That started cutting things close and got us to talking about changing our plans. 

Instead of a long mid-day break at McDonald’s followed by a short 5-mile hike to campsites at the base of the next long climb, we decided to make a short lunch break then start the climb that afternoon and knock out as much as we could so that we could easily get into Wrightwood by mid-afternoon on Thursday. That would keep us ahead of the bulk of the weather, but perhaps we would get some rain and snow.

It was a beautiful cool morning to hike to McDonald’s.

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Looking back east towards the valley where we slept and the mountains over which we have hiked.

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Looking west towards the mountains we needed to climb in order to beat the approaching weather.

Looking at signs that show progress.

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Looking at signs that some consider a promised land.

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For us, the visit to McDonald’s reminded us of why we don’t eat there, but it was fun to catch up with all of the hikers and fill up on water.  For this next stretch was a 27-mile run without any chance for a water resupply.  

Nothing like facing a long water carry that includes several thousand feet of elevation gain.

We got moving again loaded with 13+ pounds of water, crossing under I-15 and taking a chance to get a typical hiker photo of the event.

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I really liked watching this unfold.  There’s quite a bit of symbolism here, not just for the hike, but life. 

Little did we know how much it would hold true over the next 30 hours.

Steady climbing over the next hours, with a drop into a valley through which the San Andreas fault runs, then the real climbing began.  Our goal was to push far enough up the mountain that, with an early start, we could put in a manageable sub-20 mile day that would get us into Wrightwood by mid-afternoon.

We quickly left behind  the noise of the interstate and train traffic heading over Cajon Pass.

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But even when we were miles away, there was no mistaking the activity on and size of the engineering required to get vehicles and trains over the pass.

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By late afternoon we were able to find an off-trail campsite that gave us great views of the pass, plus the mountains to the east that we had hiked over and the mountains we were about to hike over.

It was a breezy spot, but the views and the fact that we were asleep before sunset made it the perfect spot.

Day 32 – 16 / 351

An early alarm had us breaking down camp when the first hints of light lined the horizon.  Our first steps up the trail were before the sun broke the horizon.  But when it did, it was quite a show.

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Overall, the sky didn’t look threatening, but there were clues of the approaching storm, like a line of impressive lenticular clouds over the neighboring ridgeline just downwind from us.

By mid-morning we took a snack break and I was able to get a cell signal and was able to book a room in Wrightwood for the next couple of nights.  That turned out to be very lucky.

An hour later we were still hiking in bright sunshine, but being exfoliated by wind-driven snow grains.  It wasn’t even noon yet and we were still on the downslope side of the mountain. It became obvious that the weather was moving in faster than expected.

We still had a couple of thousand feet of climbing and half a day’s hiking ahead of us.

Than it just started snowing.  Luckily it wasn’t sticking, but the wind was driving it sideways.

We reached the ridgeline of the mountain and the snow was only accumulating in protected spots.  Soon after, we reached the trailhead for the Acorn Trail, a bailout option straight down into town.  While it was a bailout option, it was less than desireable.  A short 2.5 mile trail, it drops almost 2,500′ into town. A steep trail.  A wet, steep trail. And one we would rather not climb to get back on trail once the storm passed.

Besides, the snow wasn’t sticking.

So we pushed forward to where the trail crossed a local highway, some 6 miles distant.  From there it would be an easy hitch into town, and an easier start to the hike when the storm passed.

Soon we reached an unprotected part of the ridgeline.  The snow still wasn’t sticking.

It didn’t have a chance.

The wind was gusting well above 40 mph, driving the snow sideways.  But everything was getting a nice coating of rime.

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Soon the snow was accumulating, but the trail was still easy to follow.  Then the snow started really accumulating, but the trail was still pretty easy to follow.  Then we popped out of the forest into an exposed field.

Where did the trail go?

That was the one and only time during the rest of this day where I thought “this could turn out bad”.

We found a marker, but there wasn’t any other evidence of the trail.  Not anything in sight in the driving snow.  Then a glimpse of another marker a bit away on the side of a unpaved road.  Once we passed that, the road intersected another and we lost the trail again.  We broke out the GPS and phone apps, but the snow accumulated on the screen so fast it was almost useless.  We had paper maps, but just then we caught a clearing and saw the trail depart the road a ways away.  So we pushed forward.

We were following the ridgeline along the 8,400′ elevation line, sometimes protected, sometimes exposed.  We were at the top of the Mountain High Ski Resort, watching the grassy runs fill with enough snow that rock skis would have been useful.  In the exposed side of the ridgeline, we pushed through shin- to knee-high drifts as we slid across the hidden rocks on the trail.  Good fun in running shoes.

At one point Jen looked at me and said “it does this in Southern California? I did not get the memo”.

We were still pushing forward, losing track of the trail on occasion, but quickly regaining it and starting to descend toward the highway.

We reached a spot where the trail crossed an unpaved road pullout with a dumpster.  We stood downwind of the dumpster for a few moments before continuing. Just as we were about to step off, a pickup truck slid to a halt right next to us.  Two hikers were in the back and the truck was headed towards town, but not all the way.  We had a choice – continue the 1/4 mile on trail down to the highway and hope for a ride there or hop in now and catch a ride to lower elevation.

It was cold in the bed of that truck.

We made the right choice. Once we got to the highway, there were only old, snow-covered tire tracks.  We had no idea how long we would have been standing there hoping for a ride.  Coming down the mountain, we actually had no idea if the highway was still open.

The driver gave us a ride the two miles to the intersection and dropped us off.  We were looking at a 4-mile hitch into town.  And now that we hadn’t been actively moving, we were getting cold.  Real cold.

Then a trail angel appeared.  A true trail angel.  She had a Suburban with an effective heater.  She piled the four of us in, then drove all of us back up to the trailhead to see if there were any other hikers.  Turns out she, along with a few others, had been running shuttles between the trailhead and town all day once the weather got bad.

While there at the trailhead , another car showed up.  It was a local dad arriving to pick up his son and his dog, both of whom were out for a day hike and surprised by how fast the weather came in. Turns out he had taken shelter in the bathroom with a couple of hikers that had passed us earlier in the day.

With everyone collected, our trail angel dropped us off at our motel.  We were lucky, because there weren’t any bed spaces available left in town.  Locals  started opening their doors for those who didn’t have a room. 

We were safe in a warm, dry place.

Unlike several who ended up spending the night up on that ridgeline.

Once showered, dry, warm and fed, Jen looked at me and said “well, that was outside my comfort zone”.

But now she knows what more she can push herself through.  We still had several layers of clothing we could have put on.  We still had a shelter we could put up.  We still had food and water that we could have ingested.  We still had very warm sleeping bags to crawl into.  We still had the tools and wits about us to get out of the situation. 

It was uncomfortable but manageable and she’s now a stronger, smarter woman for the experience.

Day 33 – 18 / 369

This is Sparta!

An early start and we were at the next milestone.

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Then it was another day of working our way out of the canyon. Lots of ups and downs, lefts and rights, looking at excellent swimming holes that we couldn’t reach.

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We stopped for an early lunch break at a hot springs on the creek that it also the local nudie spot.  Sorry, no pics. At least we didn’t run across the rumored “old hippie who likes to give hugs”.

After that, it was a push to water and camp.  We hit a water crossing that presented a choice – wade with shoes or without.  The gravel sure felt great on the bare feet.  But while we sat on the opposite bank and filled our water bottles, we heard several other hikers talk about camping at the next water spot some 6 miles up the trail.  The spot looked to have had limited space, so that lit a fire in Jen’s belly.  She proceeded to put the hammer down and drug me along all the way to camp, where we got there early enough to get our pick of spots, then let the rest fill in once they arrived.

Did you catch that?  Jen put the hammer down for the last six miles of our second 20 mile day.  She continues to amaze me.

Day 30 – 20 / 318

A beautiful day, meant to be a bit of a recovery after the previous day, plus poise us for the next couple of days. 

If you haven’t noticed, every day is not just about that day, but planning for the next few.  It really is a bit more complex than walking all day then camping.

Although we try not to get too complicated.

The start was early in the midst of a very crowded campsite. Too crowded. Not our scene, even if it’s full of smiling, familiar faces.

Jen set the pace early and we were moving.  A quick we are stop and we already had our eyes set on lunch at a picnic area next to a large lake.  I looked forward to a cold bath in the lake and Jen laughed at the thought.

It turned out that we had great views of the lake, but the picnic area where we planned our stop wasn’t on the lake, but a few hundred yards off.  No worries, we had plenty of shade and a spigot with ice cold water that we didn’t have to filter.  Add the cool breeze and it was a heavenly spot in which to take a long break, nap and eat lunch.

But soon we were back to climbing, with great views of the lake receding in the distance.

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It was already breezy, but as we climbed higher on the ridgeline, the stronger the gusts.  As in plant the trekking poles, take a step, plant the trekking poles, take a step, and so on.  Pretty windy. 

But once over the top, the descent was quite mellow and the mountain did a fine job of blocking the strongest gusts.
We strolled into a campsite early, poising ourselves for a short morning hike into the McDonald’s at Cajon Pass on the 15.

Day 31 – 17 / 335

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No Snow ’til Next Time

Our plan to stay an extra night in Big Bear paid off.  By the time we got to the trail mid-morning all of the snow had melted.  Matter of fact, most of the time the ground didn’t even look like it had any moisture on it in weeks.

Several miles in we had good views of the lake and ski areas.

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Other than these views we were mostly in forest.  But we had our sights on getting at least 16 miles in, since that area on the mountain look to level out a bit.

Our gamble paid off and we got a nice flat area with a view of the steep valleys that we would spend the next two days traversing, plus the distant mountain peaks that we wouldn’t get to foe another several days.

Day 28 – 16 /  282

Today was a pretty uneventful day.  We spent the bulk of the time working our way down a valley, looking at the creek, beaver ponds and hills.

For a stretch that was to drop a few thousand feet, we are spent a lot of time climbing.  Short punchy climbs.  The kind you can’t settle into a rhythm and just grind out.  The kind that really take their toll on you.

But not enough that we couldn’t stop and laugh at some of the finds.

Like pine cones bigger than her head.

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We got to a water source around 4:30, assessed the stretch ahead and decided to call it a night.  We were headed into another canyon area and while there might have been an area flat enough to pitch out tent, we weren’t sure and it was only 3/4 of a mile further up the trail.  So we stayed put.

The area was also a popular swimming and recreation area for the local towns. We got a few “you’re doing what?” questions and “no way could I do that” statements.

My favorite was when a lady asked “aren’t you afraid of the animals?”, to which I replied – “no, not of the animals” and left it hanging.  She caught on pretty quick and finished – “yeah, I guess it’s people you need to be more concerned with.”

Exactly.

But we haven’t had those experiences. Yet.

Day 29 – 16 / 298

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Then Gradually Down

It got downright cold overnight up on the mountain, just above 8,000′.  A couple of other hikers made the mistake of leaving their water bladders outside and woke to 1- and 2-liter slushies.

Jen was still feeling pretty down about her perceived performance the day before, so I had to put it in perspective for her – she hiked 14 miles with 5,000′ of elevation gain in the same amount of time that on our third day took us to cover 10 miles with only 500′ of gain.

That perked her up, but didn’t change the way our bodies felt.  On paper we were planning a 16 mile day with a bit of climbing, but mostly descent.  We started talking shorter options since we weren’t on a time crunch.  That made the day seem easier from the beginning, knowing we could make the call at our next water source 10 miles up the trail.

We started later than usual and enjoyed warming up in the sun.  It was slow going for us, but it’s amazing how fast the body works out the soreness and gets back to work.  By early afternoon we were at our water source knowing it was only six miles to the next water source and camp. But we carried extra water should we decide to stop short and dry camp.

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Looking back at Mt San Jacinto, including the terrain that took us four days on trail to cover.  Three of those days were our hardest so far.

Just a half mile or so out of the water source, our morning mojo was gone.  The bodies were beat up so we decided to call it short, finding a nice campsite just a mile later.  It poised us well for an easy downhill 14-miler the following day, one that would get us to a highway for a hitch into Big Bear Lake for resupply.

Plus we needed to suss out the trail rumors of an upcoming snowstorm that would impact the trail.

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Day 24 – 12 / 252

This day lived up to expectations.  An overall smooth downhill course that had me struggling to keep up with Jen.  She was moving and feeling good.  We covered the first 10 miles in about 4 hours, which is moving for us.  But we were still getting passed by the fast folks.  No worries.  After a few tough days, everyone was excited to get into Big Bear.

We stopped for a quick break.  I wanted to get my dehydrated lunch soaking so that it would be ready for lunch.  Jen mentioned that she hadn’t set anything out for her, so we decided to just make it a snack stop. A stop that sure took the wind out of our sails.  The last four miles was slow going.

But we did cross 265 miles, so we are 1/10th of the way done.  We’re in good health and great spirits, so all is good.

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We got to the highway and met up with several of the hikers that passed us earlier.  The large group made it tougher to hitch a ride into town, but after about 30 minutes a nice retired couple got us to our hotel.

A bit of research showed that the forecast storm was going to be significant, so instead of a one-day resupply in town and hitting the trail the next morning in the midst of or at the tail end of the storm, we opted to stay an additional night to see how it played out.

If we were on trail when it hit, we would just deal with it.  We don’t mind camping in the cold, but hate being cold and wet.  We have the option, so better to play it safe.

Day 25 – 14 / 266

Big Bear Lake – I realized as we were walking to the highway that I hadn’t been here for 30 years this coming summer.

The area was the scene of summer training camp for our high school cross-country team.  Many great memories with a lot of fun people (you know who you are).  Plus, the scene of my very first unofficial half-marathon+, as those of us who wanted to could run around the lake.

Day 26 –  Zero Day with about six miles of town walking / 266

Day 27 – Zero/Snow Day – several inches fell in town overnight but it melted quickly. / 266

Up. And up. And up.

Finally back on the trail.  Two Zero’s is more than enough, three is too much.  But at least we got the gear in we ordered, even if it was a day late.

We could have started hiking early evening and gone past sunset, but opted to just stay put.  We should have hiked.

A nice breezy desert night turned into a downright windy night.  Windy as in having to retension the guy lines, reset a pole, turn to not catch a shot of sand in the face windy.

A beautiful sunrise behind a wind farm started the day.  They were still, because of course the wind died about an hour before the alarm went off.

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It was a cool climb out of the valley.  A handful of miles up the trail we had dropped back down to almost the same elevation at which we had started.  Then it was time to climb again. 

The next 30 miles was a climb.

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The climb, with Mt San Jacinto fading off in the distance.

Roadrunners ran, lizards skittered, and I jumped.  Far and fast.

It was getting to be the end of the day, the shadows were getting longer and we were within a mile of camp.  I was having a tough day getting the pack to feel right as it was loaded down with resupply. But that didn’t keep me on the ground.

I think I was at least a foot off the ground and moving sideways when I realized that I saw the coiled rattlesnake just off trail left.  Gotta love instinct.

Jen was about 20 feet behind me and wondered what the commotion was.  I hooted, since we had been grumbling earlier in the day when we saw signs warning about rattlesnakes and we had yet to see one.  Heck, other hikers had seen many.

Even when I pointed it out with my trekking pole, Jen couldn’t see it, beautifully camouflaged and coiled tightly in a depression it formed whole settling in for a treat.  Once she got within 10′ of it, she was able to spot it.

I coaxed her to the far side of the trail to give the snake a wide berth and as she started to step, the snake decided it would rather get under cover.  So it slithered over to a nearby bush, finally showing us a beautiful 4′ long, 6-button diamondback body.

We never even got a shake of the rattle.  And I didn’t get a picture.

Something fun to talk about as we set up camp and had dinner.

Day 22 –  15 / 226

The next day dawned early, as they are doing this time of year.  We were in the deep shadows of the canyon we were camped in, but the sky was blue above and filled with lines of puffy turrets.  Rows of altocumulus castellanus

I looked at Jen and mentioned that this could be a sporting day.  Not just the climb, but we would be in canyon bottoms and washes for most of the day before the steep climb into the mountains.  The clouds were just a hint of the moisture and instability available for thunderstorms.

Being in a canyon or wash in the desert when there are thunderstorms over the mountains is a place you don’t want to be.  Flash floods are always a possibility.

As we climbed in the cool shade of the deep canyon walls, we were dripping sweat.  Oy, it was humid.  Midwest US humid.

By 10 am the cumulus were forming, by 11 am the thunderstorm anvils started spreading across the sky. Right where we were walking.

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As we got closer, we watched the storms start to decay with just a few drops of rain on us, although there was quite a bit up in the hills.  A quick burst of redevelopment and we had to break out the umbrellas for a shower that brought the desert alive with the best petrichor  in the world – wet desert.

Someone bottle it.  Please!

We got out of the canyon and started THE climb.  A climb that folks had been talking about for days prior.  A climb that veteran hikers, some with a dozen PCT hikes under their belt, absolutely hated.  Rumored to be a soul crusher.

The rumors were right.

After yesterday’s hilly 16-mile hike and today’s “short” 14-miler, starting with a 9-mile approach with “just” 2,500′ of elevation gain, the next five miles gained another 2,500′.  And ate souls.

Even the fast uber-fit hikers are trembling by the top.  If they are lucky.  Others get injured trying to push it too hard.

Or miscalculating a step when the trail is full of these ball bearings.

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But we made it.  Barely.  We were shelled.  Completely spent.  The tent was up and we were asleep before sunset.

But we were not beat.

Day 23 – 14 / 240

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One-tenth

That’s 265 miles of continuous footsteps.

One-tenth of the trail complete.

We’re in good health and good spirits.  Actually, having the time of our lives.

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The spot, along with a Joshua Tree, the first of the trail.

This is Not a Love Song

Post title and song reference by Jennifer.

Because we stopped short the day before, we knew we had a long day ahead of us.  It would be a new record for us – 20 miles.  Downhill the entire way.

Too easy.

What was that I said about figuring?

The morning started well with us heading out right after sunrise.  The trail was smooth and flew under our feet.  It was going to be a good day.

Until about three miles in.  Then the trail just went to crap.  Long sections of overgrown brush followed by sections where the trail had completely blown out, sliding down the mountain.  In some sections hikers before us started making their own shortcuts to get to good tread below.  We were doing some serious bushwacking.  Needless to say, it was frustrating.

After about three trail miles, the trail improved.  We were descending and it was getting hotter and hotter through this waterless stretch.

But, as expected, the views were good.

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From our camp at 7,800′ to our first water source 15.2 miles later, we dropped to 1,720′.  As the crow flies, it was only 4.3 miles.  So you can imagine, lots of switchbacks.

That was the common complaint – move 1 mile horizontally to drop 10 feet.  A bit of an exaggeration, but at one point we were about 250′ above our water source and knew that we had about an hour before we would get to it.

Once we made it to the water source, we would have been happy to call it a day.  But we already had plans to get to Ziggy and The Bear’s, then see about getting a ride to a nearby casino for at least one Zero.

The last five miles through the soft sand of the desert valley floor were insult to injury.  Yes, it was still downhill, but the soft sand and heat were really taking a toll.

It was the kind of hot and dry where the common complaint was that everyone drank about 7 liters of water and didn’t have to urinate once. In other words, the desert.

We finally made it to Ziggy and The Bear’ just after sunset, booked a room at the casino and bummed a ride from one of the local guys who was helping at Ziggy and The Bear’s.

After showers and room service, we were out cold.

Day 18 – 20! / 211

Our first off-trail Zero.  We woke up, had breakfast and napped.  We woke up, had lunch, then napped.  We woke up, hand-washed our clothes, had dinner and went to sleep.

It was glorious.

Day 19 – Zero / 211

We had to check out as there wasn’t any availability due to a convention. No worries, as we were planning on heading back to Ziggy and The Bear’s for an overnight then early start.

Until our guaranteed overnight delivery for Friday from Amazon suddenly became an “on-time” delivery for Saturday.

Day 20 – Zero / 211

A forced third Zero didn’t make us happy, but it also let us sit tight another day to recover before what is considered the toughest stretch in Southern California. Plus, it made us sit through a break in the heat and let us start in much cooler weather.

So while it’s frustrating, it’s not all bad.  Plus, we’re still ahead of our planned schedule, we’re in good health and great spirits.

Considering this fantastic opportunity, what more can we ask for?

Day 21 – Zero :(   / 211

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