PCT Days 58 - 63
I’ve only gone and left my spork in my hotel room - I could kick myself. Just last week I was reading they were the number one misplaced item, and there I’ve gone and been a stereotype. Thankfully Joyrider let me use his spoon after he’d had his dinner. And his stove, as I’m nearly out of gas, and there was none in any of the shops in Cajon Pass.
Anyway, I’m back on the trail, sporkless, and nearly out of cooking facilities, for eleven miles today. Another 92 to go...
Bumped into more people I’ve met elsewhere in the hike so I think I’ve found some hiking partners to go into the dangerous Sierras with - Sunshine and Joyce, who like me, aren’t in the first flushes of yoof. Like me, they have about 100 miles to complete in South California, although they are heading southbound right now, and then we’ll say cheerio to the desert section. Yay!
Eighteen miles done today - thirteen sodding continuous ones uphill - but I’m back in alpine again, out of the desert, so I’m happy. Snacksize has rejoined us after getting new shoes and giving her blisters time to heal.
I’m also in a campground with a proper toilet! I say ‘proper toilet’: it’s a hole in the ground covered by a toilet seat. It’s the height of luxury these days. Best yet: if the bears turn up, they’ve eight of us to choose from, and given I’m not the youngest, my chances are good.
A mere fourteen miles - but that did include a seven mile climb to summit Mount Baden Powell, the second highest mountain in the region at 9,406 feet - so my personal highest American point so far. It was hard - the last mile was all snow, very steep and very stressful. But I did it - so that’s good training for the Sierras, a snow hell hole that I’m less than a week away from.
Coming down was even harder, taking nearly six hours to do seven miles, as I crawled along a snow-covered narrow ridge. Followed by at lot of ‘bushwhacking’ as parts of the land were snow free but parts of the trail not. At one point, I was the player piece in a game of snakes and ladders - having slid down a large mound of snow I was trying to climb, not once but twice. Left me with a ginormous hole in my leggings. K-tape to the rescue once again!
Today marks two months on the trail! And 650 miles completed. Just 2,000 to go…
I ‘celebrated’ with a pizza that Joyrider’s friend brought up to us - I even ate the olives; normally I hate them.
What’s been really good about this section is the sheer number of proper campsites - with pit toilets, usually locked, but also picnic tables and sometimes running water. All of them officially ‘closed’ due to Covid-19, but surprisingly well populated with weekenders…This is particularly surprising as I circumvent Los Angeles, one of the areas with the strictest lockdown criteria.
I’m hiking through a state of anarchy it appears.
Woke to the sound of gunshot! At 5am. Can only think “Only in America.” Later on, the Americans in my Tramily (that’s all five of them) were discussing that it was a .22. Could only think “Only in America.”
This was followed by a fifteen mile romp to the fire station, where we ordered pizza, and sat at a picnic table battling desert winds and sand, gulping it down for the second day running! Then, full to the gunwales, we then had a further two mile romp up 700ft.
Two more desert nights and then I’m having a few days’ rest before I go to the snow section…
“It’s only a mist cloud,” Joyrider said optimistically when I asked him if I could hear raindrops landing on my tent. Joyrider’s other trail name is “False Prophet”.
It wasn’t a mist cloud - it was the obvious sign of a deluge to come. By the time of first light, heavy rain, not mist was falling. The foliage was sodden. Worse, the trail is overgrown, each time I passed any of the shrubbery, I was showered by huge globlets of water. Before long, every inch of me was soaked, right through to my underwear. Nothing, and I mean nothing, lightweight is waterproof. It didn’t stop for seven hours.
It wasn’t so much desert strolling, as wet hiking. Or, as they say in the Pennines: a walk.
Hypothermia is the sort of motivation I needed to trek the 25 miles to Acton KOA - where I finished my desert section and now head to the snowy Sierras.