We spent the night at Hiker Heaven and I did my laundry and took a shower there, which was great. As I said, my shoes hadn’t arrived yet, which was not great. Left the town in the afternoon after a big breakfast and a lunch. It was hot that day and I didn’t make it too much further. There were some cool rock formations just south of Agua Dulce:
The next day was pretty brutal. I didn’t make my 30-mile goal and called it a day after 28.8. Over the course of those miles I gained 9,200′. That must be a new record (for me). The next day was great and I did 31.2mi to compensate for the previous day. Still a lot of elevation gain that day (about 8,000′, I think) but it felt okay. Some pretty views that day as well:
The next morning, we were treated to a cool sunrise over low-hanging clouds that moved in from the ocean. We climbed up and followed a ridge line that gave us great views in both directions.
We took the little spur trail up to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell, named after the founder of the Boyscouts of America. It was super windy up there but the views were great:
From there, it was all downhill to the highway from where we got a ride into Wrightwood. They had another informative sign at the trailhead, showing that we’re getting closer and closer to the border…
In Wrightwood, we had a big breakfast. I went to the post office to mail off my fleece, my sleeping bag liner, and my Kindle. Made my pack almost two pounds lighter, which is great. Did my resupply and then met Rapunzel. He’s a fellow hiker that I met up in Washington (at the Dinsmore’s) and who lives in Wrightwood. I had my shoes sent to him. So, after 1,035mi, I finally got new shoes:
Rapunzel took us back to the trailhead and we hiked for another half hour before making camp. The new shoes felt amazing!
The next day was tough because we gained 5,500′ (which isn’t too bad) but lost 9,500. Had to carry water for the first 26mi stretch of the day and the backpack was full with food fresh out of Wrightwood. Tough on the knees. We stopped at the famous on-trail McDonalds for and afternoon snack and then found a campsite about 6 miles up the hill.
The following day, Day 108, we came past Silverwood Lake, which was a surprising sight in the desert and looked like a nice recreational area. The trail went around one side of the lake and I had a really good signal there and skyped with Kim, Berry, and Susie while walking for a while.
Later that afternoon, we went past the on-trail Deep Creek hot springs. My feet were hurting and I was running a bit late. So I only sat down for a snack and then went on instead of joining the drunk, naked hippies.
The last full hiking day in this stretch was kind of uneventful. It was hot and we basically went uphill for 20mi straight; and very slow, gradual uphill. In the morning, we passed the 300-mile mark and after about 31mi of hiking, camped about 7mi from the highway that take us to Big Bear City.
We got into Big Bear City this morning and I’ll try to get back on trail by 13:00 and do another 15mi.
The next stop is Idyllwild. This stretch will include the last challenge for southbound hikers: San Jacinto. It’s going to be the longest sustained climb. Should provide some awesome views! There’s a two-day heatwave moving through the area right now so we’ll probably not be spared the 100+F temperatures but I think that just adds to the desert experience…
I got some concerned messages and questions after my last post so I think I should clarify: I am still enjoying the trip very much. My self-imposed deadline requires me to hike at least 30 miles a day, which just means I am very exhausted at all times and comfort is not really part of my life right now. But that’s by choice and it’s okay. I am fine and have a great time still. It’s just that when I wake up in the morning, I am more excited about and motivated by sitting on a couch back at home than finding out what’s on the other side of the mountain I’m currently going up. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to go up the mountain anymore, though. I’m just getting increasingly excited about the prospect of sitting down for a while and letting my body recover beyond the 8 hours of sleep it currently gets.