CALIFORNIA - May 24.5- 26
A HOP, SKIP AND A JUMP
The trek over to Wrightwood is only about 28 miles from Cajon Pass, a little too long to for me to do in one day but probably not 2 days worth of walking. So, I decided to take off from Cajon Pass late in the afternoon and camp a few miles outside town with the intention of getting to town the following day.
The other trick to this section was the 20 mile 5,500 foot elevation climb I was facing. And there was also a 22 mile no water section to deal with as well. There was word of a couple water caches along the way but with the amount of hikers out here, you can never be sure they will still be stock when you arrive. The other rookie mistake I made was getting a 5 day resupply delivered to Cajon Pass instead of Wrightwood. On paper, it looks logical to get a package delivered to Cajon Pass. I was out of food coming from Big Bear Lake and Auga Dulce is about 5.5 days from here. What I didn't notice though when planning, was the elevation gain and water restriction. Fortunately, trail angels Tom and Not Guilty helped me out immensely. They are on their way driving up to Kennedy Meadows and offered to drop off my 12 pound maildrop to the hardware store in Wrightwood!
The first few miles out of town weren't bad and the first of two water caches was still stocked 5 miles in. After a short break, it was time to tackle the climb...
All I can really say about the next day and a half was that they were two of my favorite days on the trail so far. The climb, which was touted to to one of the hardest of the trail was mostly a gentle slope up and came with spectacular views. I guess I also have to admit that I much prefer ascending over descending because it's easier on my knees and the feeling of climbing mountains is like a drug. On top of that the weather stayed cool so water was not at all an issue. By the time I made it to the second water cache on the following day, I still had 3 liters left, more than enough to get to Wrightwood. My first night out I made it 12 miles out which set me up perfectly for a 16 mile stroll into town the following day.
Being from the midwest, I'm used to space being partitioned vertically; property boundries, fences, streets - all mechanisms to divide space in this manner. High up in the mountains though, space can sometimes be divided horizontally by heavy cloud cover. Deep in the valley's are the towns but up above the clouds I'm blocked from their view. Far below the densely packed clouds block the sun's rays but up here the sun is shinning bright- it's as if I'm in another world.
After getting into town I decided I was in need of a home cooked meal, a little more thought-out than the typical 'just add water' dinners I'm used to on trail. I decided on Seafood Paella with a polish sausage just for good measure! I think it turned out pretty well and had enough leftovers for lunch the next day. The group just rolled into town so I think I'm going to spend another night in town and hike out tomorrow with them.
The next trail town, Auga Dulce, is about 90 miles away. Hoping to be there is a little less than a week.
See you up the trail,