Week 3 on the PCT!
Miles and Smiles!
This week is a week of threes. I am on week three of the PCT, I hit mile 300 and I hiked my first 35 mile day!
We started the week off with a grueling 6400 foot climb out of Cabazon up towards Big Bear. By now 20 miles feels like a very average day so when I got to camp that night absolutely depleted I was a little discouraged. It wasn’t until I watched each tired hiker drag their body into camp that I realized how much elevation gain we had done that day. I am too tired to eat or talk and go to bed at 7pm. After a long deep sleep I wake up feeling revived. The next day Sweetblood and I decide to hike 26 miles. The day goes by fast as I fly through forest and along the ridge line. We both feel great and decide to push on a few more miles and end up hiking 29 miles that day!
Big Bear, Ca
Sweetblood and I hike a mellow 7 miles into Big Bear City, a town just a few miles off the PCT. A local trail angel named Kenny picks us up and takes us back to his house where he has made giant blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage, and smoothies! We do laundry and shower then head into town for beer and ice cream with our new friend Dragon. Downtown Big Bear packed due to the Memorial Day weekend. After coming out of the woods I quickly feel overwhelmed by all of the people, sights and smells. We resupply on snacks and meals at the local grocery store then go back to the house that evening and Kenny makes a Memorial Day barbecue. After a riveting game of Chinese checkers I sleep deep, sleeping under a roof for the first time in weeks. That morning after another giant breakfast we get back on trail. I feel sluggish at first but quickly find my rhythm and soon another 17 miles are hiked and another day is done.
Hot Springs and McDonalds!
The trail takes us out of the forest, back into the desert and down to the river. It is nice to be near near water and in the woods for a while. After a slow morning we make our way toward Big Creek Hot Springs. At this point we have hiked ahead of the “bubble” and have hardly seen anyone on trail the past few days. That day Sweetblood and I run into Dragon and Space Case. We all decide to camp at the hot springs together that night. The springs are right on a river and it feels amazing going from the cold water into the hot pools. We eat dinner on the sandy beach and someone even gives us a cold beer which we happily split four ways. I jokingly mention something about hiking 35 miles to the McDonalds the next day. The next morning Sweetblood, Space Case and I were up at 4am and setting out for our biggest day yet. Lesson learned.
The miles fly by in the morning and we are already halfway there with 17 miles hiked before noon! I am cruising and feeling great. The trail is interesting that day and takes us past a power plant, a reservoir, under the freeway and up a very foggy and windy Cajon pass. By the time we see the golden arches of MCDonalds I am practically limping. However, I forget about all of the pain as soon as I bite into a perfect crispy McDonalds French fry. Yes it was worth it.
The next morning I am thinking about the next snowy mountain we have to go over and I have an unfortunate realization. I shipped my ice axe and micro spikes to the Wrightwood post office and today is Friday. This means I have less than 9 hours to hike 20 miles to get to town and to the Post Office before they are closed for the weekend. I stretch my sore legs and brainstorm ideas before finally deciding to hitch to Wrightwood. I get to the post office before they are closed and enjoy my first zero day on trail in the wonderful town of Wrightwood. It feels like cheating to skip 20 miles of trail but I am grateful for a day off and am happy to have the proper snow gear to summit Mount Baden Powell.
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