Day 8 - May 22 - End at mile 193.6. We woke to frosty tents. Sonic, Chris, and I climbed out of Idyllwild this morning towards Mt San Jacinto. This Mtn is over 10,000ft and the highest I've ever walked. We had to climb 5,000ft to get there and this was our hardest effort so far on the PCT. There were Oregon Juncos, Western Bluebirds, and Mountain Chickadees.There was even a little snow left. The top was really calm and offered 360 degree views. We ate lunch there before heading back down. We filled our bottles at a crystal clear stream springing from the mountain to prepare for the upcoming 20 mile dry stretch. Much of today was pine forest which was a welcome break from the desert's exposure. We are now camping at 6463ft, hopefully won't be too cold, and will decend down to nearly 1000ft tomorrow.
Day 9 - May 23rd - End at mile 219.5. This morning was a 15 mile decent down to the small town of White Water. I walked this solo and met up with Sonic and Chris again at Ziggy and the Bear's trail angel house. But before we got to there house there was a 3 mile flat section through deep beach-like sand, coupled with hurricane force winds. I assume it's always this windy due to the giant wind farm nearby. I've never seen a place so windy. We stayed at Ziggy and the Bear's for four and a half hours before departing. We hiked about another ten through neat grassy mountains and are camping in a valley now. There is another trail closure due to fire up ahead so most people are yellow blazing up to Big Bear City. Sonic, Chris, and I want to have a true "continuous footsteps" Mexico to Canada hike so we are taking a 50ish mile detour around the closure starting tomorrow. The detour will have us stay in Yucca tomorrow night at a motel and use a lot of jeep track roads. Hopefully will be back on PCT the day after tomorrow.
Day 10 - May 24 - end in Yucca Valley at Salt Lick's house. This morning we started the two day detour around the fire closure north of I-10. The first 5 or 6 miles went nicely on trail and dirt road. We passed an old stone house that is now a picnic area and remains of some stone bunk houses of unknown origin. Then we had a few miles of walking thru the brush and trash alongside the highway which was rather annoying, then a few more nice roads followed by a long walk on the shoulder and brush of the highway into the town of Yucca Valley. While this didn't feel unsafe, it wasn't fun and the miles dragged on. Eventually we got to Yucca Valley in the early afternoon and started to look for a motel on our frazzled state. A hiker named Salt Lick drove by and saw us and offered us a place to stay for the night. This was awesome and she helped us get laundry done (for the first time) and buy groceries. We pigged out on ice cream and pizza in an attempt to regain energy. Slept on the couch... very comfy.
Day 11 - May 25 - end at mile 265.7 back on PCT. Salt Lick dropped the three of us back on the detour route at 6:15am. We had a 30 mile walk still to get back to the trail, but thankfully we were on quiet roads to no where that got only quieter throughout the day. Five miles in we passed Pioneertown, a small town in which western movies are filmed. There were lots of wild west style buildings and props. Then we entered the even smaller town of Rim Rock and finally the dirt roads of the San Bernardino national forest. Most hikers are skipping this detour because there is actually no official detour, but a few are doing it each day. Amazingly we found lots of signs of encouragement and trail magic on this long stretch of roads. Sonic decided at mile 25 to take a different road and reconnect with the trail 7 miles further south than we would. Not wanting to walk that far south just to get on the PCT and have to walk that far back north, Chris and I continued on the same forest road to pick up the trail five miles north of us. We were glad to be back on the PCT after a long 2 day detour. I slowly did another 4 on the trail and now we are camping on a breezy mountain top at 7000ft. Since most people are shuttling that closure we hope to see some familiar faces again since we are now a day or two "further back".
Day 12 - May 26 - end at mile 298.6. Today was another long day of hiking... 32 miles. Excited to be back on the trail, I had 15 miles done by 11am. The day was cool and we walked through nice pine forest. Then we passed thru a pine forest that had been burned by fire and was in regrowth, this was pretty cool. I started to get tired in the heat of the afternoon and as the terrain turned back to desert. Leap frogged with other hikers all day. I got a second wind after dipping in a big stream of cold water. Ended the day meeting up with Chris at this Pavillion built on the ruins of an old stone cabin. There are trash cans, privies, and a strong creek of questionable water quality here. What more could we need?
Day 13 - May 27 - end at mile 328.4. Hot one today. We spent the morning following Deep Creek Canyon and the sun was up fast. Stopped 10 miles in at a nice shady Oasis to fill up on water. There I saw Robocop again who soon pointed out to me how to ID the rash-giving "poodle dog bush". We passed over a few nice bridges over the canyon and reached the end at Mojave Dam. Had our first ford which was 6in deep and good for the feet. Hiked on a bunch more very hot miles, found some trail magic, crested a hill to see a big lake, and now Chris and I are at the picnic area here for the night. Two new blisters on the pinkies making me hobble.
Day 14 - May 28 - end at mile 356.2. Hiked a quick 14 miles with Chris from Lake to Cajon Pass. Ate 4 burritos, large fries, 1 liter coke, cherries. Was good. Gad station resupply for 4 days. Honey buns and bean dip. Sonic caught back up with us here. 15 miles outta town up hill. Us three are cowfolk camping on the ridge tonight.
Day 15 - May 29 - end at mile 383.6. Three jeeps drove by us at midnight last night. We were camped right on the edge of this forest road on the mountain top. We all woke to rumbling and lights. It was a surreal experience. Nice hike today. Not hot or too sunny. Rained for 5 minutes... second time on trail. All alpine pine forest today. Climbed Mt Baden-Powell at 9406ft. Saw Clark's Nutcracker and Green-violet Swallow.... lifers! Met first guy who has started after us. Sonic, Chris and I are camping at Little Jimmy Spring Campsite.. lots of people here and they are good, gave me peanuts.
Day 16 - May 30 - End at mile 412.3. Started off still in the high up mountain pine forest. Went on side trail to climb Mt Williamson. Overshot the summit by half a mile and had to turn back to PCT. Sonic didn't go this way so we lost her there. Chris and I hiked the rest of the morning to this cabin where we took a break on the porch. It was super hot after lunch and the afternoon was a slog back in desert conditions. Then as the sun started to drop and more shade appeared it got a little better. Entered this cool meadowy piney forest on top of Mt Pacifico and here I am camping tonight. First time by myself on this trail but this he spot was too good to pass up.
Day 17 - May 31 - end at mile 444.9. Hiked solo today. Started off with nice decent to a fire station that had water. By then it started to get hot. Walked thru a burn area with a lot of poodle dog bush but it was easy to avoid. Lunch at Messenger Flats Campground was very windy. Relaxed and read my book. Ran the next 6 miles since they were downhill in like an hour. Soda and water at the ranger station. High on Coke, I ran the downhills of the next 8 miles. Passed the "completion monument", and found a place to camp a few hours walk from Aqua Dulce. Excited for real food tomorrow and to hopefully clean up. Real hot today.