Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wrightwood, CA; Mile 370 Pacific Crest Trail

I'm at the library in Wrightwood with the "time remaining" clock winding down on the computer.

It was a beautiful and easy walk out of Big Bear City, back into some big trees, then through a huge wildfire burn from a year or two ago. The next day there were three creek crossings of about knee deep. There was a long walk along a canyon with the trail dropping off steeply to one side. Wildflowers are profuse, especially in places, with numerous lizards for entertainment.

I spent a day at a hot springs. An infinite supply of hot water in the backcountry is a genuine treat. Many thru-hikers stopped for a soak while i was there. What a relaxing day. I hiked with Joker and Motor for much of the next day. I camped in a canyon just above the trail. An anticipated landmark was reached the next day. There was an official sign on the trail that said "McDonald's, 1/4 Mile." I ordered every item off the dollar menu, 7 in all, and ate them no problem.

After that was a major reroute caused by another big fire from last year. It was some hot walking but with some scenic spots. Several thru-hikers and I camped in Applewhite? Campground. Water out of spigots was nice to have, the shade even moreso. I was surprised to experience the first heavy fog of the trip, things were dripping in the morning.

Yesterday was a major climb, over 5,000 vertical feet, not counting all the lesser ups and downs. It was another desert to mountains day, with hours up in the big trees and with significant snow in places. Around 5 PM I hit the road the same time as Happy Feet. We got a ride into town with the second car. I ate four tacos and an order of nachos for dinner, with a big helping of ice cream for dessert.

Southern California has big a big surprise. My impression is that it was mostly desert. There has certainly been plenty, but on this route there's also been a great deal of mountains. The variety keeps things interesting.

There are thru-hikers all over town. I saw them at the hardware store, (run by a retired smokejumper of my era, Mike Troeger!) the post office, the eateries, the grocery store, etc. There are always many errands to run in these busy town stops.

I've been getting up at about 5:30, and starting to hike about 6:00 before it gets hot. I take breaks when I need them. Most full days of walking I'm doing about 16-20 miles of walking, with my longest day on this trip about 28 miles. The pace is much more relaxed than my other hikes as there is still mountains of snow that need to melt ahead of me. Just ahead there is supposed to be deep snow.

Well, that's it for now. The next major stop is Agua Dulce. Enjoy your day!


  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Bruce I am glad to hear your getting along so fast, the weather has been strange in CA to say the least. We are expecting ANOTHER SNOW STORM this weekend if you can believe it and more to come in the following week they say. I'm looking forward to seeing you again after 30+ years. Remeber "5 lakes trail" and you will be down the street from me, I'll come get you or you can meet me, whatever. I'll bbq you a fat steak!
    Love, Cousin Pam

  2. Hi Pam,

    Yup, the snow has been a bit of a bummer. As you may have seen I "flipped" up to Ashland to hike south and there is still snow here, too, even at 6,000 feet. I absolutely plan to stop by to see you, and I'll try to contact you when I get close.

    I look forward to that steak!

    Cousin Bruce