Weeks 4-6: Hiking Through Home

Howdy, it’s been a while. A lot of stuff has happened since. I am not going to break up this large number of days in the day-to-day format this time. This is going to cover a lot of time so buckle up for this longer blog post.

Deep Creek but not the hot spring

Week 4

Since my last post, I believe I had just left Big Bear. The views out of Big Bear were amazing. You follow the river for most of it. And there are fish in these rivers! I made sure to mark it on my map. The whole day I was distracted by the river because I was looking for fish. Hiking along Deep Creek was another familiar feeling. I had done this super small section of the PCT back in high school and it was really cool to see it again. At the end of the day, I had reached Deep Creek Hot Springs. This is where I had my first backpacking trip when I was like 15 years old! Hiking through these familiar areas brought me so much joy. I had also hit mile 300!

Cajon Pass near the I-15

Leaving the Deep Creek area brought me closer to Wrightwood, a very familiar place. On the way, I made a stop at Cajon Pass with the infamous McDonald’s. I haven’t had McDonald’s in years. I thought it was pretty mid. The air conditioning was nice though. Here is something I do not recommend: eating a McDonald’s burger and fries 3+ hours after you buy it. Me and my friend Chris had the most depressing burgers of our lives at camp.

Pine Mountain and Dawson Peak

The hike into Wrightwood was long and brutal. Fifteen miles of climbing with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain. It was almost completely exposed the whole time. As the day went on, I started to feel at home. Angeles National Forest is my home for hiking. I have done so many mountains there and it brought me lots of joy reminiscing about climbing the surrounding peaks. Hiking through this area was something I was really looking forward to. In particular, getting to the Pine and Wright Mountain junction and the Acorn Trail. I have the most memories in this area. I had last hiked through the area last August. I remember thinking I will be here hiking the PCT in less than a year. And there I was. It was really special.

PCT hiker hangout at Mountain Hardware

I had a nice zero day in Wrightwood. I met some dogs and got to hang out with my mom. Wrightwood is one of the most hiker friendly towns. There are deals and discounts everywhere for hikers. I got to shower and do laundry at this amazing trail angels house. Shoutout to Mandy and her husband!! They also let us sleep on her back porch/balcony. It was nice getting to hang out with a lot of other hikers there.

Leaving Wrightwood was brutal. It involved climbing up Baden Powell and Mount Waterman and long detours. Baden Powell still had snow, which means there are no switchbacks because you just follow the mountaineers’ boot pack. I have now hiked this mountain three times. Two of those were in snow. The snow makes this trail so incredibly steep. The snow after the mountain was sketchy as well. I camped with other hikers at Little Jimmy, where we had our first campfire!

Imagine hiking through the thick of this

The next day was the longest hiking day of my life. Twenty-four miles. It involved walking Highway 2 to go around a closure for an endangered frog and hiking through thick clouds. The road walk was kinda cool since the roads were closed. The clouds were a little spooky. There were times where you could only see like 20 feet in front of you. I was honestly scared that a mountain lion was watching me or something. The next day wasn’t easy either. I had walked 22 miles. My feet and body did not like what I was doing. After these two days, my legs and feet were dead. I did hit mile 400 though which was really cool!

The following morning was supposed to be a nice 17-mile day into Acton, CA (mile ~445). It was relaxing for the most part. I had met some new people and actually hiked with them for some decent time, had some trail magic at a fire station, and got to see lots of pretty views. However, my good day was gonna turn south. In the morning my Achilles was a little sore, but I thought nothing of it because it felt better after two miles. Later in the day it started to bug me again. I was four miles from reaching Acton. I had spent about 30 minutes soaking my feet in a cold creek, and when I left, my Achilles was not having it. About a mile into hiking, it got really sore, and then suddenly I felt this sharp pain. I had to hobble all the way to the Acton KOA. Luckily, I had service and was able to talk to my mom. Talking about the pain made it better for me mentally.

Weeks 5-6

I decided to get off trail and go home for a little. It was most definitely the best decision. I could barely walk without a pack for a couple days. The rest was well needed. I took two weeks off and did physical therapy as well. Being off trail was nice. I got to see my dog and friends and be with my dad for Father’s Day. Now I am back on trail. I made my way to Chester, CA and will start hiking soon.

The reason I chose Chester rather than Acton was because I did not want to be in the desert in early July and I did not want to hike through the Sierras. I am concerned about the snow melt and the rivers. If possible, I will go hike the Sierras in the fall. 

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Comments 1

  • Chloe Naylor : Jul 6th

    Killin it Andy!!


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