An Emotional Journey
On Thursday, after the storm passed in Wrightwood, we headed out to the road to find a ride to the gate on the closed road. After a short while, a man picked us up and before we knew it, we were walking the road toward Baden Powell. The fog rolled in and snow flurries began to fall. My hands grew cold. We continued our hike along the snow-covered road, opting to skip the climb over Baden Powell. With fresh snow on the ground, I didn’t want to break trail to the peak, and the conditions most likely had consolidated snow or ice under the fresh snow. Without crampons, I chose to hike the safer route. The road had plenty of snow for the 16 miles we had to walk to Islip. We arrived at the parking area, which was covered in snow, and pitched our tents with the other 12 or so hikers.
I woke up in the morning to snow plows making their way up the road. I had a frozen tent and frozen shoes. There was a patch of sun I placed my shoes in the help them thaw so I could begin my hike. I headed out and it was nice having less snow on the road, but I had to be careful of the black ice. I walked through the tunnels and made my way up to Cloudburst Summit. I sat on the side of the road to take a break, and a car drove up and offered me a donut! Back on trail, and before I knew it, I was hitting the 400-mile mark.
Bereaved Mother’s Day
The Sunday before Mother’s Day is called Bereaved Mother’s Day. The day that mothers who have lost a child are recognized. It’s a horrible group to be a part of and I don’t wish it on anyone. As I hiked this day, I could hear the cars and motorcycles drive along Angeles Crest Highway. It was a constant reminder of my son who is no longer with us. He was in a fatal accident on the hills above Temecula while riding a motorcycle at the young age of 21. It brought tears to my eyes, but I continued to hike. I thought of all the moms I have met the past 5 years who have also lost a child. My heart hurts for us all.
The following day we made our way to the ranger station. It was a popular place to camp. As I was putting up my tent, a man named Todd came out and asked if I wanted a beer or soda. Normally I would say beer, but a soda sounded too good to turn down. Todd walked away and came back with a soda and chips. A little while later, he came out and offered me a second soda and I asked if I could have a beer. He handed me a bag of cookies and candy and told me to hand them out to the hikers while he went to go get me a beer. Todd was amazing! He has been a trail angel for 25 years. Thank you, Todd!
We hiked our way to the KOA, where we picked up our resupply box, had cold drinks and ice cream, took a shower, and did laundry. We ordered pizza and beer and played Uno in the lounge area of the small camping store. We went to sleep listening to the traffic on the road and the horn of the train every hour or so. Sleep was lacking, and with the miles I was hiking, I needed my rest.
We left Acton KOA and hiked toward Vasquez Rocks. The hike was warm and pleasant and full of poison oak. Shortly after leaving the rock area, we arrived at Agua Dulce. Our first stop was 2 Foot Adventures. I needed a sewing kit and some gear repair tape. I was tempted to buy new shoes since my feet were hurting more and the tread was gone on my shoes, but I did not want zero drop shoes. After we left the trailer, we walked through town toward Serenity Oasis. We took a tour of Farmer John’s grounds, set up our tents, took a shower, and then headed to town for Mexican food. I had warm chips and salsa, margaritas, and a delicious wet fajita burrito. After dinner we headed back to camp and played Uno with the tiny deck of cards I brought on trail. We headed to bed with full tummies and clean bodies.
We woke up and headed back on trail. It was warm. We climbed the hills and tried to take breaks in the little shade we could find. We ended the day at the old ranger station. There was a covered picnic table to escape the heat. We had water and outlets to charge our electronics. We were going to hitch down the road to the gas station to get some food. Before we knew it, a guy pulled up to drop some hikers off and we hopped in for the adventure ride down the hill. I got drinks, a sandwich, chips, and ice cream. If I can eat real food versus trail food, it’s a good day.
Don’t Drink the Green Water
The next day we headed into the burn area. There was poodle-dog bush everywhere. It’s similar to poison oak, so we wanted to stay clear of it. There was an alternate to walk the road for a couple miles so we chose to do that. We found some shade to take a break from the heat. We continued down the road and made camp in a dirt pull out. It was still warm so we took our tent fly, ground cloth, and umbrellas to create shade for the 3 of us. We were lucky there was a fire hose spigot close by. I went to go get water, and it came out green with worms swimming around in it. Gross!! We used our filters and boiled the water to try to limit whatever we were going to get while consuming this delicious water.
I woke up feeling melancholy. We packed up and began our hike of the day. It was going to be a happy day as we hit a milestone of 500 miles. We finished up hiking in the burn area and camped at a horse camp. Overall the day was good. I thought a lot about my mom and my son. That evening sadness grew over me and I cried myself to sleep.
The 5-Year Anniversary of My Son’s Death
I woke up crying and allowed myself to grieve. I decided today I would hike thinking of all the happy times and memories of my son. I hiked to Hiker Town thinking of so many wonderful memories. It felt good to remember so many moments with my son. After arriving at Hiker Town, I took a shower and then we hitched to Wee Vill Market. I had cold drinks, a burger, and air conditioning. That night we slept on the side of the market listening to the cars and big rig trucks drive by.
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