These hikers are some of the many we have met or seen along the trail. Some have been hiking with us for most of the trip and others have just been common faces.
After some big days and a foot scare, we ended up taking a pair of full zero days at Jeff’s house, a local trail angel with a twang in his voice and a Brett Favre motif; Levis and a steady, unwavering gaze. Jeff and his two kids, are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Without question, they took Finna and I into their home, along with a couple other hikers, and a few trail rats. One of the latter ended up ‘sleep walking’ and pissing on the floor. Though a herculean amount of alcohol and hash will afford you the same consequence as sleep walking. I’m just saying.
From a tangent in a conversation, I mentioned to some hikers that I never shot a gun. Jeff looked up calmly and asked if I would like to. At first , I assumed he was joking, but soon realized he was quite serious. The next thing I new I had a tiny .22 caliber handgun in my hand and I was taking aim. When I say tiny, the thing looked like a toy, but be assured it was the most badass thing you would have ever seen- trust me. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Wrightwood to Aqua Dulce”
Staying at Jeff’s hiker hostel was an inspiration. His family took us into their home and treated us with the upmost hospitality and generosity. We took several “zero” days here to rest up and get the hell out of the desert sun. This is the attic that became home for a few days.
On the 3rd day of our stay, he took us out back to shoot a couple rounds off with his 22.
On day 17, it was decided that waking up at 4:30am and hitting the trail at 5:15 was the best option. The early breakfast was inspired by a 20 mile waterless stretch that lay ahead. Knocking out 10 miles before the heat of the day allowed me to carry only 2 liters during the waterless stretch.
When it was all said and done, I arrived at the next water source at 2pm. I wasn’t dehydrated, I still had half a liter of water left. But, I was mentally and physically drained from the morning and afternoon hiking.
Of course, that’s when the trail provided something to uplift my spirits. A trail supporter must know of the difficult waterless stretch, so he/she setup a nice spot to relax and enjoy yourself.
Next to the water cache, this trail angel provided a couch and a garbage dumpster filled with some PCT Magic. Inside the dumpster was 8 different kinds of soda, various cookies, water, fruits, first aid supplies, and a trail log for thru hikers to sign. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: 370 Miles North – Trail Magic”
The white bronco took another one of the hairpin turns at breakneck speed. The vehicle itself, which may have been held together by duct tape and paranoia, shrieked in protest as the driver gunned the engine and took another turn like he was in a car chase. Maybe he thought he was. No this isn’t OJ- this is D-Wayne. Not Dwayne. Not D. Wayne. D-Wayne.
“Is it Dwayne or Dee Wayne?”
D-Wayne was our driver, as he stopped at our extended thumbs and asked, “where yer heded?” We told him Big Bear, and we clambered into the front seat. Finna sat in the middle and could be seen trying to keep his body from flying side to side as D-Wayne floored the car around each corner.
” You know bout dem kim trails?”
As we are both hiking, and could barely understand the words coming out of this guys mouth, we assumed he was talking about some nature trail in the area, despite us telling him we were from across the country.
“No, whats that?”
“The damn white lines in the sky coming off dem planes! They got special aluminum in dem trails, so they can control the weather. Make it snow when it ain’t snow time, and make it hot when is ain’t supposed to be hot. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Idyllwild to Wrightwood”
Snow at 9,000 ft in SoCal
Tantalus stands in a pool of clear, sweet, water, in the shade of a fragrant fruit tree. He is racked with an insatiable hunger and is dying of thirst. But, every time he stretches his boney fingers towards the tree or his cracked lips to the water, it moves just out of reach. As I made my way down the 167th switchback of Fuller Ridge, and I wasn’t halfway down yet, I understood Tantalus’ predicament- temptation without satisfaction. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Descent into Madness”
He sat in the dirt resting his back against a graffiti covered wall. Cleanliness had long since become a secondary thought, and a little dust would not make a difference anyway. Grime is caked upon his legs and face, and found comingling with the dried sweat on his shirt. Someone hands him a small plastic bottle of cheap tequila. He takes a swig without much thought and passes it on in a fog. Next to him, two bearded me in cotton sweat suites eat cold beans out of ziploc bags- with their hands.
It was about this time I contemplated if I was a hiker, or a homeless man lurking under a bridge in the desert. Choice- It is the only difference between a hiker and a bum, and maybe a $200 down jacket. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Bridge People”
On April 17, I began my Pacific Crest Trail thru hike. Traveling north from the Mexican border, I will reach Canada sometime in early September. I’m currently in a small town called Idyllwild, about 175 miles north of Mexico.
Mornings on the PCT begin when the sun rises. After wiping the condensation off my sleeping bag, I chow down on some protein bars, force down a liter of water, and start my day. The cold desert wind is advantageous hiking weather, so 10 miles before noon has become habitual. Continue reading “Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hike: Mexican Border to Idyllwild”