We started late in the afternoon from Big Bear, knowing we would stop at the camp site at mile 275. Afternoon hikes are always hard for me. I’m definitely more of a morning hiker. With the tree covered hike coming into Big Bear, I was expecting for some shade starting out, but there wasn’t much shade initially.
After arriving to camp, we had dinner and hot chocolate with some new friends. We also met some trail angels who supply jugs of water to hikers. They were super sweet and we were super grateful.
I spent the majority of the night prior, tossing and turning… once again. I started off pretty cold, but warmed up throughout the nights. We started walking at about 7am and the majority of the morning was cooler and in the forest, so it was a very pleasant hike. Did 10 miles before lunch time.
I’ll never forget the size of the pine cones from today. They call these pine cones widow-makers. The biggest pine cones I’ve ever seen! The forest scenery, soon turned into boulder fields; boulders as big as houses! The boulder fields soon turned into fields of flowering bushes; the smell of their sweet flowers filled the air.
Note: My instant pudding was an epic fail. The pudding was pretty soupy and the freeze dried raspberries were crunchy. Do not try this at home.
The beachfront campsite location was well worth the afternoon struggle. We had dinner in the Shelter “cabin” before finding a beach camp spot. We met up with the rest of the crew, sat around a beach campfire, playing word games.
It was pretty much like a fairy tale. A flyless tent, on a sandy beach; looking up at the clear, star filled sky; in perfect weather, with just a sleeping bag liner covering my tired body; listening to frogs, running water and crickets… Well, almost a fairy tale, except there was one very annoying frog, that was not in tune with the rest, resulting in my ear plugs. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s darn near close on the trail.
We started the day hiking through a canyon with deep creek running through it. It was so gorgeous.
I’m pretty sure I took a couple dozen photos of basically the same thing. It became stupid hot by 9am though. After about 7 miles of hiking in the hot sun, we came to a creek and we stripped down to our underwear and soaked in the shallow creek and sunbathed on the giant rocks.
Another hot two miles, landed us at Deep Creek Hot Springs. Although I was too hot to soak in the warm hot springs, I jumped into Deep Creek, beside the springs. The water was so cold, but so refreshing. I didn’t spend too much time there before putting the pack back on and hitting the trail again. In the distance, views of mountain range after mountain range could be seen.
I attempted to pee with my pack on for the first time…. peed on my hip belt strap. Got bit by red ants. This is definitely something I should either work on, or never do again.
About 22 miles in, I couldn’t find a camp spot, and knew that I would have to continue, but couldn’t do so until I gave my body some energy. So, I parked my happy butt on a concrete block after hiking 25 miles, made dinner, and shortly after, just kept walking. My poor poor feet!
On the map, I was right next to Silverwood Lake, but had no view of it. I was beginning to think it didn’t exist. At about mile 324.5, I struggled to continue up a hill, until I got a glimpse of the lake.
It was stunning and gave me a burst of energy! It wasn’t long before I saw a small empty beach and as the sun was almost set, said to myself, “that’s the spot”. It was so perfect. My own private beach. The crew showed up an hour or so after, and we had the entire lake front beach to ourselves.
I wake up every day, excited to hike. Even the most difficult day thus far, coming out of white river preserve, I was still so happy out here, even though I was questioning my ability to hike the trail on that 7,000 foot climb day.
Lesson of the Day: Don’t pee on your hip belt strap.
Day 20: Mile 225.2 to Mile 241.9
Life was great until about 3am. The force of my tent hitting me in my face, abruptly woke me up. After fighting with the wind for about an hour, we were all awake and decided to start hiking, since sleeping through the wind was simply impossible.
When you do a short backpacking trip, or a day hike, white out conditions would be bothersome; however, after several days in the desert heat, I was thankful for the weather that soon turned into cooler, white out conditions. The white out conditions didn’t continue all day; the beautiful scenery returned in the afternoon.
It’s amazing how fast one can hike when there’s a McDonalds for lunch! We did 16.7 miles before noon! My hiker hunger has definitely kicked in. I managed to eat 2 sausage McGriddles, a bacon egg and cheese biscuit, a large french fry, a large Oreo McFlurry, a large sweet tea and a couple of large cokes. Some of my friends consumed a lot more than I did!
Well, getting off the trail for bad weather, or waiting out the storm, is kind of silly. Undesireable weather is inevitable at some point on the trail. So, we hit the trail again!
It continued to snow for hours. My hands were super cold. This day… this day, was the start of a few of my least favorite days. I unexpectedly started my period, and I know that you gentlemen don’t understand what this is like, but just imagine someone stabbing you and squeezing your insides every few minutes, with pain radiating into your back and neck, all while carrying a heavy pack, buckled around your abdomen that is constantly being squeezed, all while climbing thousands of feet and being freezing cold. Now that I’ve painted this picture for you, imagine 76% of your energy being taken from you and your muscles just feeling so tired. This, this is what it is the only way I can describe what it is like to be in your period on the PCT. I know you men don’t want to read about it, hear about it, or think about it, but suck it up buttercup; be thankful you don’t actually have to go through it every month.
Lesson of the Day: Don’t leave your clothes out to dry in freezing temperatures… you’ll wake up with frozen clothes.
Things that I was so thankful for today:
The Mouse Works cat beanie
YAMA Mountain Gear poagies (rain mittens)
YAMA Mountain Gear rain skirt
Subway foot long sandwich
Friends that made me laugh so hard I almost peed my britches!
Note: Although I received some of the gear stated above, I would never recommend it, if I didn’t love it. I don’t make any profit from advertisement.
Day 22: Mile 364.3 to Wrightwood via Acorn Trail
For a reason I cannot explain now, I let my friends talk me into going back a mile, to the Acorn Trail, which goes directly into town, verse doing another 5 miles to a hitch hike into Wrightwood. Silly decision, which will be explained in next week’s post!
In Wrightwood, I had my first trail angel experience, which is very exciting! Stay turned to read all about it!