PCT Week 5: Summits, Road Walks, and lots of Trail Magic
Wrightwood, a Perfect Trail Town
An early morning starts our descent into Wrightwood. We reach highway 2 where we get a hitch into town. Let me start by just saying, Wrightwood is one of the best trail towns I’ve ever been to. I’ve experienced so many wonderful towns over the years, but the support this town gives to hikers is incredible.
From the moment I stepped foot into the town I was offered more help than I’ve ever received. Everyone would slow down or stop to ask if you needed a ride anywhere, or a place to stay. The community really shined with generosity.
I meet up with the tramily to get some food and drinks. Duces and I, who both share a birthday, finally get to celebrate together. Slowly more hikers start to roll in and the relaxing can begin.
What makes Wrightwood such a good trail town isn’t just the generosity of the townsfolk. It has one of the best resupply grocery stores that caters directly to hikers. Hitching is also super easy, as just about everyone will want to stop and talk.
We spend 2 days in Wrightwood, experiencing everything the town has to offer. There’s really nothing I can say that I didn’t enjoy about this town, other than leaving, which was really hard, but I know I’ll be coming back to visit.
Leaving Wrightwood is definitely difficult. But I have a journey to continue. Today’s destination, the snowy Mt. Baden Powell. The climb up is definitely one of the most physically rewarding challenges.
San Jacinto felt like a more dangerous stretch, but Baden Powell is more demanding, especially with the amount of snow. It’s a long morning up, finally reaching the summit around 3:00pm.
A short siesta later, I resume the day with a snowy descent down the mountain ridge. If you’ve never experienced hiking a ridge, I can tell you it’s one of the coolest ways of crossing a mountain. Still the descent is demanding. Finally I reach camp just last sunset. It’s the first campground that has and recommends the use of a bear box. There are bears living in the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest.
A Road Walk for the Frogs
Guess what? It’s another day of climbing. If there’s something this trail has a lot of is climbing. At this point the trail isn’t a physical challenge. It has its difficult stretches where I need to push my body but it has become mainly a mental battle.
This is the second worse day I have had on trail, or at least the second worse morning. The previous day had taken a toll on me for sure. I persisted and started the climb. By lunch time I lost most of the motivation to keep going for the day.
Finally after an almost 3 hour siesta, Duces catches up to me. I hadn’t seen him in a couple days and seeing him reignited my motivation. This next section I couldn’t do without Duces. A 7 mile road walk on highway 2 to bypass an area full of endangered frogs.
The road walk was the most fun I’ve had on trail in a while. The entire 7 miles was met with jokes and messing about, while also being vigilant for cars coming around tight corners. We even received trail magic while on highway!
My entire day took a full 180. The reality of being an optimist is realizing there will always be bad moments, and even when they bring you down, you need to stay positive, trust yourself.
Mile 400, the Longest Day Full of Magic
With the road walk complete, we reunite with Basecamp and Yeti Legs, as well as Renee and Patricia. Camp is just about a mile from the 400 mile marker!
Immediately after I meet the owner of Camp Glenwood. He just happen to pull up as I came through. I get offered a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and obviously cannot say no. We talk for nearly 30 minutes, by then I definitely needed to get going.
Already the day starts with trail magic! I need to keep moving though because I have a long mile day planned. I catch up to some folks and cross paths with trail maintenance crews. It’s because of these amazing folks that we are even able to be out here.
The day feels like it’s going by quick and I still have so many miles left. I do get in a quick siesta but I definitely cannot stay long. It’s on the last stretch that I see it, a blue tarp, from more than a mile away.
Trail Magic! I run down the descent with so much excitement! I finally reach everyone else from camp. All enjoying hot dogs and potato salad. It’s a day full of magic.
The day isn’t over though, as the sun goes down, and our bellies are full, we decide to walk more. Duces and I take on the next climb. The only issue is finding a camp spot. What was supposed to be 2 miles more turned out to be 5 miles because there was no where to set our tents.
The longest day is finally over. It’s definitely the latest I’ve come into camp so far. And after quickly setting up, it’s time to rest, another week has gone by. Each week is coming to a close sooner and sooner. It’s important to take in everyday as much as you can, the miles are fleeting.
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