Saturday, June 1, 2013
Sorry about the dearth of postings over the last few weeks.
I've been neglecting my duties.
I have notes and will endeavor to get caught up as quickly as I can.
We are safe and sound in Tehachapi, CA at mile 567. This is past where they have shut the PCT due to a fire in Green Valley, in case you were wondering.
We're leaving town tomorrow, I'll work on blog posts during breaks and can hopefully have some uploaded soon.
In the meantime you can always check in here:
BooBoo does a pretty good job at least updating the mileage. You can sort by date under our picture on the left.
Starting Mileage: 436
Ending Mileage: 454
We were faced with 2 possible destinations Agua Dolce home to the Saufleys and their hostel Hiker Heaven or just about halfway there a KOA that was right off trail that lets hikers camp for $5.
As I still felt weak and not quite right we decided to take it slow and see how the day went.
I focused on the KOA and their camp store of cold junk food (soda, ice cream, Gatorade, etc) for the first portiin of the day.
This included when we took a break and used our Tyvek ground cloth to create shade where none existed.
Coming down the hill to the KOA we spotted a familiar white truck. Natural Hiker (aka Coppertone) was in the parking lot at the bottom of the hill. We hurried to get to him hoping for some Trail Magic, after all we first met him when we got Rootbeer Floats from Shepherd & Co. outside of Silverwood Lake.
Sure enough he was setup to offer Rootbeer or Cream Soda Floats. BooBoo & I sat in camp chairs enjoying our ice cream and chatted with him for awhile.
After a spell we headed on the 0.5 miles to the KOA. We promptly went and loaded up on even more cold calories. We consumed said calories at a picnic table in the shade. We decided to continue on, somewhat reluctantly. We later found out that since it was Memorial Day weekend the KOA wasn't letting hikers stay that night anyway.
Shortly after leaving the KOA we came across the monument marking the official completion of the PCT
Next we had to go under highway 14, which I believe was 6 lanes. There was a tunnel shaped like the rounded triangle of the PCT logo, which if you squint at my blurry picture below you can see.
We ate lunch in the shade of the tunnel along with 3 other hikers.
Shortly after the tunnel we came to
Vaquez Rocks, a famous geologic formation used in many TV shows and movies.
It was pretty cool to see the place that has represented several different planets across several different Star Trek series.
After a road walk into the town of Agua Dolce itself we stopped for a cold soda. Which we drank on the 1 mi walk to Hiker Heaven.
At Hiker Heaven we secured our spots for the night (they have a guest limit) then had dinner and showers before retiring for the evening.
Over breakfast we discussed three different destination based on how we were feeling and where water was located.
The furthest of these options would put us at the North Fork Ranger Station in 29 miles.
The Return of Poodle Dog Bush; there was miles and miles of trail where this annoying plant grew within striking distance. This bush generates an allergic reaction described as "Poison Oak on steroids" and grows in burn areas. Avoiding the plants while walking on a narrow trail that frequently runs along the sides of mountains is challenging. It takes mental focus to find the plants, acrobatics to avoid touching the plant, and saps your strength when you do it for miles/hours on end. The fact it grows in burn areas means there is little to no shade and the sun is beating on you the whole time.
Toss in bad balance and it just sucks.
On top of all that it bothers me that there is no resemblance between the plant and the dog its named after. At least none I can see. I've included a photo maybe you can see the resemblance.
One endpoint was Mission Creek fire station. It is in an area that has burned recently and is brand new. They built a little picnic area with table, outhouse and water source for hikers. We ate a late lunch there. It was a little bizzare, with ruined high voltage power line towers standing next to newly erected towers. The fire must have been hot enough that the old towers lost their structural integrity.
After lunch we left and had long hot climb up. We were determined at that point to get to N. Fork Station so that we could do a half day into town the next day and get out of the heat.
This was a mistake.
When we arrived at the Ranger Station I wasn't hungry and had the chills. I got sick a couple of times while we setup camp. Clasic heat exhaustion. I was able to get down some hot chocolate then went to bed.
Our beautiful campsite from yesterday turned into a wind tunnel, making for a lackluster nights sleep.
In our unbridled enthusiasm to be back on trail for the first full day we set a goal of 26 miles to the Sulfur Spring Campground.
Following the PCT takes you almost to the top of Mt Baden Powell. To reach the summit you have to take a side trail 0.1 mi.
BooBoo and I decided that it was worth the trip. The views were spectacular.
Baden Powell was the founder of the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts helped cement my love of hiking and camping. So it was neat to see the monument at the peak.
The rest of the day passed quickly as we stretched our legs in moderate temperatures and sunshine.
We had to road walk around a section of the trail that is closed due to the presence of an endangered species of frog. Even the road walk was pretty with views out over the valleys.
We made it to our destination tired but happy and made camp for the night.
For the second night in a row we were treated ro a beautiful sunset.
Our flight was delayed in DC, but not for too long. It took an hour to get our bags after we landed.
Aloha and Lion King picked us up from LAX to take us back to Wrightwood. The drive back through the mountains was very scenic.
In Wrightwood, we grabbed a few things at the store that we couldn't fly with (fuel for the stove, lighter, etc) and mailed the last of our front country stuff back to Seattle.
Aloha and Lion King dropped us off at Vincent Gap about 4 PM. It made for a nice climb up the mountain.
I would not have wanted to try it in the heat of day. On our way up we came across Natural Hiker coming down the mountain. I'll let you figure out how he got his trail name.
We found a great camp spot as the sun started to set.
(Sorry no pictures from that day, I was out of practice)
Starting Mileage: N/A
Ending Mileage: N/A
I'm going just summarize this time as its not really hike related.
Tuesday morning Aloha took us to our hotel near LAX. We took the free airport shuttle to the international terminal in LAX for dinner (dining was outside of security).
Our flight the next day was uneventful, but we were both impressed with Virgin America having never flown with them before.
We had arranged to stay a couple of nights with a member of our AT trail family in the greater DC area. We had hoped to spend that time catching up with him. Sadly he had family emergencies while we were there so we weren't able to see him much. On our way out of town we stopped at the local REI to try and fix my bent trekking poles and resupply some other things. BooBoo started talking to a salesman who turned out to be an AT thru-hiker who was going to hike the PCT in 2014.
Snarky was very helpful.
In fact he offerrd to try and get my poles fixed at an AT event he was going to over the weekend. We could pick them back up on our way back through on Monday.
Trail Magic on the other side of the country!
We headed down to Charolettesville where one of BooBoo's friends would be putting us up along with BB's sister Maggie. Maggie combined a vacation to FL with time to attend BB's graduation. She was not the only family member to fly across the country to see the ceremony, Magic Man and Red Shirt combined a vacation touring old historic gardens with seeing BB's graduation.
BooBoo's same friend graciously offered her lake house to Magic Man and Red Shirt.
The hooding took place Friday night, it was a proud moment seeing BooBoo get her hood.
The graduation ceremony on Sunday was impressive. UVA follows traditions dating back to its founding by Thomas Jefferson. I'm just thankful the rain held off.
We ran some errands in Cville before heading back to the greater DC area. We texted our friend abd let him know our ETA. We also arranged to meet Snarky. Unfortunately he couldn't get my poles fixed (wrong manufacturer was at the event) but he bought us an iced tea and we talked for a while. I purchased new poles (I really shouldn't hike without poles). We bid adieu to Snarky and headed towards our friend's place.
Unfortunately his families' medical issues persisted. We crashed at his place but didn't get to see him before flying out early the next morning.