Day 23: Mile 364.3 to Mile 383.9 Little Jimmy Campground
Here’s the thing. You have to do you and I have to do me. I’ve learned that at Paradise Cafe when I skipped the fire closure, to stay with the group I’ve come to love so dearly. However, no matter how much I love others, I love me more. The trail has definitely taught me how to stand up for what I want, even if that means being alone for a bit. I came out here to do the entire trail, even if that means taking a detour around a fire closure. That’s me. I am not judging those who think otherwise, nor do I look upon them differently. For me, I’ve felt bad ever since I hitched passed those 28 miles to idyllwild.
I was going to hitch to Mile 268, backtrack the miles I missed and hike them again, but I was so very lucky to have a super nice trail angel who drove me to the campground we camped at, before going back to Acorn Trail. I had debated doing Acorn Trail back up, but it was a hefty 2.7 mile climb and would have been super crappy to do. So, it all worked out so perfectly. God sure does watch out for us.
These miles are a popular day hike to Inspiration Point, with inspirational (ha!) views! If you take this route, you can easily get back on the PCT where you left off, without extra miles or skipped miles, and hitching to Wrightwood is really easy!
It’s pretty crazy to think that just a few months ago, the area my feet walked along from Guffy Campground, was packed with snow; laughter from skiers and snowboarders filling the air. Oh how I love the mountains, which bring excitement from outdoor enthusiasts, related to the variety of activities they bring with each approaching season.
The summit was awesome… the first time. The views must have distracted me and I ended up going down the wrong side of the mountain, resulting in having to summit again to find my pack.
After the second summit, I found a nice sitting rock, made sure no one was around and had a good cry, that had been building up. Once I got that out of my system, I pulled myself up and just kept walking.
I bet you’re expecting that things got better from this point forward, but they didn’t. I ended up almost sliding down the mountain on the snow, losing the trail a billion times because of the snow, climbing over 5,000 feet, taking 10 hours to go 19.7 miles and having to set up my tent in the dark. Needless to say, I was pretty much over Day 23.
Although one of the most challenging days, it was my favorite days for panoramic views.
Day 24: Mile 383.9 to Mile 406.6
I woke up with a sore throat and feeling a bit puffy…. I didn’t drink enough water the day prior, that’s for sure. There came a point out here, when I stopped looking at myself in a mirror. Partly because I stopped worrying about how I looked, and partly because there’s not much I can do about it! I braid my hair, put my bandanna on, saturate my already sunburnt face with sunscreen, throw the colored sunglasses on to cover my puffy tired eyes, and pack up camp. And then… I just keep walking!
Shortly after the start of the day I came to a sign, similar to Baden-Powell with what appeared to be a similarly steep trail… “Here we go again.”
I stopped for a snack… tortillas with rice, cheese and olive oil. I was pretty chilly, so I had a cup of white hot chocolate to make my heart happy before the climb. It wasn’t as much of a climb as Baden-Powell, but it was still steep and my legs just didn’t want to walk up anymore. The view was nice from the top of Saddle something or another, but I was too tired to admire it.
Half way through the day, I came to a 4.5 mile endangered frog species detour. Road walking isn’t easy on your body, nor is it very scenic. All for good reason though. Once getting back to the trail, I started walking south on the trail, instead of north. Hooray for extra miles! This was how this week was going.
The highlight of my day, was walking toward the campsite, my friends catching a glimpse of me, and cheering when I arrived. This was the first time I had been with them in a day in a half. We sat by a camp fire, told stories from the past 2 days, and laughed the evening away.
Day 25: Mile 406.6 to Mile 430.4
Half of the gang left early early in the morning, trying to get as many miles in as possible, and 4 of us left around 7am.
It boggles my mind, that only a few days prior, we were in a snow storm and my clothes froze overnight.
We had lunch at a fire station, where there was a water source. My lunch favorite of the week: tortilla with ramen noodles, velveta cheese, beef jerky and honey-BBQ Fritos. The firemen and women were nice enough to leave the broken water pipe turned on for us to get water. We spent a couple hours hanging out near the fire station, eating lunch, and trying to wait out some of the heat. This was the first day that we were really feeling the desert sun.
We crossed many previously burned areas, meaning the most Poodle Dog Bushes that we had seen thus far. Apparently there was previously a detour to avoid the highly populated Poodle Dog Bush area, but we didn’t get that memo. We simply avoided it like the plague and seemed to have avoided touching it.
Poodle Dog Bush thrives in recently burned areas, until other growth returns. Their seeds can remain dormant in an area for years, waiting for the next fire to kill off the competitors. Poodle Dog Bush secrets a skin irritant, which has been said to be worse than poison oak, or ivy, causing a reaction as mild as a rash, and as severe as respiratory distress. Poodle Dog Bush has been the scariest thing for me, in the desert section. Boy did we see hundreds of them passing these miles.
Day 26: Mile 430.4 to Mile 454.5 Agua Dulce
I wanted to get to Agua Dulce by the end of the day and the rest of the group wanted to take it easy, so we parted ways again.
I left the Campground around 8am. I could feel that I was back in the desert. The heat was almost unbearable. My sunburn skin was throbbing beneath the long sleeve shirt I was forced to wear. Sunscreen just wasn’t able to keep up with the rays of sun scorching my skin. Water was getting more scarce, but thankfully my pack was pretty light with it being the last day before resupply. My hiker hunger has kicked in, so I was eating all of my food, and wanting more. I decided that I would have to start carrying more food, despite my body not wanting to carry the extra weight.
To my surprise, I happened to look at my Guthook map and see that I was soon approaching the small town of Acton. After reading the comments about what the RV camp offered, I decided to make a pit-stop for a cold soda and lunch before continuing on. During my visit in Acton, I managed to scarf down a Twix, small pizza, ice cream Snickers, 2 Mt Dews and a bag of Cheetos. After letting that settle a bit, I got up and just kept walking.
A mossy stream flows through the rock formations, making it even more of an exotic sight for my eyes, which had been mainly exposed to the desert scenery lately. Soon I realized that if I continued to let the beautiful rock formations and taking a million photos, distract me, I would never get to Agua Dulce. So, I continued on and shortly after, I arrived in Agua Dulce.
The infamous Hiker Heaven lies in Agua Dulce. Read about my time in Agua Dulce and at Hiker Heaven next week!