CALIFORNIA - May 10th - 14th
AAAnnnndddd I'm back on the grid!
It's been a few days since I've had any cell or internet service but I just got into the town of Idyllwild and after a much needed shower and laundry, I'm feeling human again. It was a little confusing to get here after a section of the trail was rerouted due to a past forest fire. No official trail has been reinstated and the alternate was a mixture of other hiking trails, mountain bike trails and road walking with written directions about as helpful as Egyptian hieroglyphics. I've been hiking alone most of the time so far, and it was specially tough going through the alternate section with nothing but a gut feeling I was heading in the right direction. Aid also came from some arrows etched into the dirt, from what I hoped was a previous PCT hiker. If a local had been playing a trick or it had rained in the subsequent days, I might still be wondering the desert, contemplating all my life's decisions.
But, I made it to town! And how lovely town is when you walk there.
Here are some of the highlights from the past week:
5-10 Hit mile 100! I also got to my first water cache of the trail. Trail magic is a little different between the AT and the PCT. On the AT, most trail magic is in the form of food, given to hikers by locals who live along the trail. The PCT however i so dry that most trail magic is in the form of water left out between long dry stretches. Some of these stretches are up to 30 miles. To walk a 30 mile stretch, it's recommended to carry 6-7 liters of water which can add 15 pounds to your pack weight. Added to the weight is the blistering heat, these stretches can be slightly tortuous. However, trail angels are known to put water, making these waterless stretches much more manageable. We're warned never to rely on a water cache, because it could be wiped dry by thirsty hikers in front of you, so when you get to one and there's water, it's quite a treat. The awesome water cache at mile 91 is pretty famous, otherwise it was a 30 mile no water zone.
5-11 One of the highlights for the day was walking past the appropiatly named Eagle Rock. Soon after, I made it to the grand metropolis, or so I thought, of Warner Springs. I had planned on taking my first zero here and in the heat of the desert I imagined kicking back at a five star hotel in a comfy silk robe after a trip to the spa. Now, I didn't actaully expect that reality but imagine my surprise when the main part of town was a Post Office and abandonded gas station. Needless to say, I didn't stay long. After quickly picking up my mail drop at the P.O. (containing my next 5 days of food), I headed back to the trail in search of my spa fantasy.
I started the day at mile 140. I've been averaging about 20 miles per day. The night before I l by myself overlooking a beautiful sandy valley below. I especially enjoy camping on a ridge)get views of both sunset and sunrise. Camping alone so often has it's perks- no late night human noise when you're trying to go to bed early and I don't have to be quiet when getting up early in the morning. On a typical morning I'm up by 4:30am and hopefully on the trail by 5:20. This guarantees a few cool hiking hours in the morning, in which I can typically keep a fast pace and don't drink as much water as the middle of the afternoon. There were also two more awesome and unexpected water caches along the way today at miles 142 and 145. By 10 am I had walked 11 miles and made to Hwy 74 crossing, where a good meal was awaiting me at The Paradise Cafe- just a short mile hitch down the road. Luckily, Socks and Cairns were just in front of me and we all hitched to the Cafe together. A veggie omelet and 4 glasses of Poweraid later, I was back on trail, my next stop Idyllwild...
A huge shout out and THANK YOU! to all my friends at The Boxing Gym!!! They all got my an amazing solar charger as a going away present. After having it only a short while, it's quickly become one of my favorite pieces of gear. Typically as a thru-hiker, the first thing you do when you get to town or an establishment along the trail is whip out all your power cords and feverishly charge as many devices as you can, as quickly as you can. I've always lived by the rule that if I'm going to use an outlet, I'm going to buy something at the establishment so I can consider myself a paying customer, I think that's only fair. For some reason though on the PCT, establishment owners have been particularly stringent in allowing hikers to charge up. Not sure why this is, but it's for this reason I'm especially grateful to have the solar charger. Despite the first two days on trail, we've had nothing but full sunshine so I've had nothing but fully charged devices! Now, if I could only get the cell service to match :)
I'm taking a zero day tomorrw to spend in the town of Idyllwild and rest up. Hope to post some pics of this cute little town!
Until next time,