Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 14, Paradise Cafe, Mile 151.9

PCT Hike Trail
Thursday: (05/01) On the trail at 0600. 12 miles over three ridges brought me to highway 74. The trail is closed from here due to a fire so I’ll be going up to the other end of the closure at Idyllwild.

PCT Hike Paradise Cafe Val, Rod and Mike _ PCT Hike Paradise Cafe Jose Burger
But first I had to stop at the Paradise Cafe for a famous Jose burger and a vanilla shake, both things dreamed about while waking the trail. I was picked up by Cindy, a waitress at the cafe on her way to work. Of course, several other hikers were there. Above left is Val For Now, Rod, and Val’s Son, Mike. Val and Mike are fellow hikers from Palo Alto that I met the day before this. In fact, they did a test hike on the Skyline To the Sea Trail down to Big basin State Park the same weekend I did. I was hiking up and they had hiked down. I don’t remember seeing them, but it was rather an unusual coincidence.

PCT Hike Idyllwild Silver Pines Lodge _ PCT Hike Dinner At Idyllwild
After lunch I caught a ride up to Idyllwild and got a cabin at the Alpine Inn. I stopped by the Post office to get my resupply box and bounce bucket to get ready for the next section tomorrow. I washed my clothes and myself, as well. Diner at Ariba’s Mexican restaurant, a nice chili relleno and taco with a beer. If I’d known the beer was so cheap I would have probably had another.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 13, Guzzler Cistern, Mile 139.5

Wednesday: (04/30) On the trail at 0630. I started with a good climb.

PCT Hike Trail_ PCT Hike Resting Feet _
Nothing really interesting along the trails today. Every so often, I stopped and aired out the feet, socks, and shoes.

PCT Hike Angel Mike _
A water stop at Mike’s place before another serious climb was appreciated. I had lunch overlooking a big valley. Another water stop at Tule Spring, even though it was a 1/4 mile off trail down a steep hill turned out to be a wise decision. I stopped for the night at Guzzler Cistern with most of the folks I spent all day amoung. They got their water from the cistern which looked very green. The water bladder I had filled at the earlier water stop started leaking. I had to transfer it to save it. Folding bottles don’t last. Three hikers came after me. Among them was a girl, Carrot Quinn, who wrote a blog about her hike on this trail last year. Must be addictive. It was one of several I read while planning this hike.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 12, Warner Springs, Mile 109.5

PCT Hike Warner Springs _

Tuesday: (04/29) I had a nice breakfast at the Community Center, took a shower, had lunch and hit the trail again at 1300. Before leaving I also updated the blog. Nice place here at the Warner Springs Community Center.

PCT Hike Snake _ PCT Hike Agua Caliente Creek _
I saw another nice long slender snake on the trail today. The trail varied from grassy valleys, forested areas and chaparral. I hiked along the Caliente Creek for awhile, quite nice.

PCT Hike Lost Valley Spring_ PCT Hike Lost Valley _
I stopped for the night at mile 119.6 at Lost Springs overlooking an interesting valley. Camping on the ridge above the spring meant another windy night.

Day 11, Mile 94.4 To Warner Springs

(04/28) Up at 0800 due to waiting for the wind to subside. I passed Black Swan who had camped further down the hill. He’s traveling a little slower than me due to knee pain. I also passed Bunter and Grettle? hikers from Germany doing a section up to Big Bear. I stopped by Billy Goats Cave, a little 12 foot long mine tunnel.

PCT Hike Mile 100 _ PCT Hike Trail _
I passed the Mile 100 point with some rocks in  the trail indicating it.

PCT Hike  Barrel Springs _ PCT Hike Near Eagle Rock  _
I reached Barrel Springs at Mile 101.1 for a nice two hour rest and lunch. Nice shady spot in the oaks with water. I had lunch with a couple of fast hikers Hightech and Hopscotch. I used my folding bucket to soak my feet and taped up a couple of new blisters. From the springs was some of the nicest trail seen. 1/3 oak forest, grassy valley or chaparral. The last couple of miles followed a stream through the oaks. The open areas could have been much worse but the weather was mild when I passed.

PCT Hike Horned Lizard  _ PCT Hike Near Eagle Rock _
I saw a nice horned lizard along the trail that was nice enough to pose for me. When I got across the grassy valley floor, I came upon a hiker named Rod that had just finished his rest stop in the shade with a nice sloped rock to lean against. I moved in to his spot for a nice rest.  (Above right)

I arrived at the Warner Springs Community Center about 1830 meeting all the hikers that I’ve been meeting each night. Tomorrow, breakfast, a shower and probably lunch.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 10, Sizzers Crossing To Mile 94.4

PCT Hike Sizzers Crossing Campsite_ PCT Hike Trail Above Sizzers _
Sunday: (04/27) The wind, that blew all night, subsided a little so I packed up and hit the trail at 0730. Black Swan was just ahead. He and the others arrived and stayed under the bridge. I camped in the open nearby. One of the hikers I’ve been around, Cody, has a trail name now, Papaya, because he eats a lot of dried papaya. It was a long climb up on exposed trail. Fortunately the weather was mild. I found a nice lounger rock for my lunch stop.

PCT Hike Selfie Above Sizzers _
I tried a selfie photo using my new StikPic camera mount.

PCT Hike Third Gate Dinner Site _ PCT Hike Snake At Third Gate Site _
I caught up with all the hikers I’ve been clustered with at The Third Gate. I had dinner and a two hour break. While having dinner, a hiker started off up the trail and stopped suddenly about 20 feet from where we were relaxing beside the trail. He spotted a rattle snake beside the trail (above right). The snake was comfortable beside the trail and didn’t move so the hiker used his trekking pole and picked up it’s tail and flung him. That made the snake quite upset and there was a lot of rattling for a while whenever someone approached on the trail. Lesson learned, don’t make a snake upset. Eventually the rattling stopped so I was able to then hike another 4 miles to camp on a nice windy ridge stopping at 1930.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 9, More Kickoff

(04/26) Up at 0650, just in time for our bagel breakfast. It was very windy and raining all night and much of the day.  I hung out chatting and avoiding the rain until I decided to walk to the market. They have an I cream shop and were serving breakfast. I ordered a burrito which took about an hour to arrive. While waiting, I noticed they had a special, not on the menu, CFS. Darn! The burrito was excellent. I ate it walking back to camp. I managed to miss the talk on flora and fauna due to my hunger. I spent much of the day trying to arrange a ride back to Julian. I managed to secure the ride about 1636, but we were to leave at 1700. I had to very quickly break my camp. When I arrived the driver said he was going to stay for the nightly movie so would depart at 2030. I got to enjoy our hamburger dinner with potato salad and brownies. They even had a birthday cake for someone, but I’ll consider it was for me since I’m 65 today. I was dropped off at Sizzers Crossing at 2355. It was a very long day. I set up camp and went to sleep with the coyotes.

PCT Hike ADZPCTKO campers _ PCT Hike ADZPCTKO Class Of 2014 Picture _
Lots of little tents in the campground. Above right is the Class Picture about to happen from the classmate side.

PCT Hike ADZPCTKO Dinner _ PCT Hike ADZPCTKO Birthday Cake _
Above left is the chow line. Today was my birthday and they had a birthday cake. It wasn’t meant for me but I pretended it was.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 8, Kickoff Meet

Friday: (04/25)  Up at 0600. With so many people in the park, it’s amazing how quite it was last night. I walked the campground then had breakfast. 0730 the Vendor area opened so I looked at the cool gear. The biggest Ultralight backpacking show around. I have some stuff like on display and could have saved 10% plus the shipping costs if I had trusted them to have what I needed and started my hike after the kickoff. I did buy another pair of socks and a camera mount for my trekking pole.

I attended talks on Trail Conditions, Desert Hiking, a Water Availability Report, Film and Photo Techniques, and Over Use Injuries. I bought Lou a map showing the elevation changes along the trail and mailed it off. The Post Office is one of the Vendors at the show. Lunch with some of the others in my campsite, Anchor, Little Fish, Brent and Gypsy.  Dinner was burritos.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 7, Julian, Mile 77

(04/24) I had breakfast with Erin, a hiker I met on the trail before. The hotel breakfast was typical but free. I called Hippy Longstocking for a ride down to Lake Moreno, where I passed through on the second day of the hike. I need to get down to the kickoff meeting. She’ll pick me up sometime between 4-6. It turns out I’m going with fellow hikers Adam, Black Swan,and Sideshow. I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, Poncho Villa’s. Luckily, they had a Thursday Senior Special. $6 for a taco, chili relleno, rice, beans and a drink. I tinkered with the phone reinitializing it to clear up a crashing problem. Then I only reloaded the apps I need. This morning, after breakfast, I loaded and sealed my bounce bucket and mailed it off to Idyllwild, my next resupply town. Then I checked out of the motel. I stopped at the library and passed some time reading magazines, then went to the lunch mentioned above.

PCT Hike Hippy Longstockings Chariot _
At 1750, Hippy Longstocking, Solstice, 30 Pack, and Outburst arrived in a station wagon and a truck to pick us all up. Both vehicles were already full with camping and other stuff. In all 10 of us in the two vehicles, several cases of beer and other essentials. We drove down highway S1, the Sunrise Highway, that parallels the trail I’ve been hiking. We arrived at the park in Lake Moreno about 1900. I registered and set up camp, shared with 7 others. I received my badge, meal wrist band, commemorative bandanna, and a portable bidet. The spray bottle bidet is part of the effort to eliminate TP disposal along the trail. I then hurried to a “So You Want To Be A Through Hiker” talk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 6, Rodriguez Tank To Julian, Mile 77

: (04/23) Up at 0545 on trail at 0615. I was at Sizzer Crossing at 0810. I met Adam there. He is continuing on to Warner Springs. I’m stopping off and resting for the rest of the day in Julian. My bounce and resupply boxes are at the Post Office. I joined Cody for a hitch up the hill 12 miles to Julian. A nice lady named Irene gave us a lift and showed us where everything was in town. I said I wanted to stay at the Julian Lodge so she dropped us off there. It’s right downtown.

PCT Hike Julian _ PCT Hike Julian Cafe Breakfast _
I checked in while Cody went to breakfast. I then met him at the Julian Cafe. He had ordered a spinach and feta omelet with home fries and an order of biscuits and gravy. I ordered the spinach omelet with Swiss cheese. I just had a biscuit.

PCT Hike Cody At The Julian Cafe _ PCT Hike Dirty Clothes In Sink _
Cody had had lunch at the lodge in Mt Laguna and they served mini servings. He couldn’t finish his breakfast. Irene had recommended the cafe. Nice good food, a discounted room at the lodge and, next, a free lunch at Mom’s cafe. I just had to show my trail permit for a nice ham sandwich and a slice of apple pie ala mode. Gratis!  After breakfast I stopped by the Post Office to get my packages. When I got back to the room, I washed my trail dirty clothes.  I discovered my pants had two gashes in the seat. Must have been when I had lunch a couple of days ago on a rock. I soaked the clothes in the sink in small batches which turned the water almost black. It took two soapy washes and about five rinses to get the water clear. Then I got a shower. My legs below the knee where as black as the water. Nice to get a shower. Now my pack contents are exploded on the bed and need to be reorganized. Some things I’ve been carrying will go in the bounce box to lighten the load. Tomorrow I’ll try to get back down to Lake Moreno for the Kick-Off. When I return to the trail Sunday, it will be 30 miles with little water so I need room for water.

PCT Hike Julian Cafe Dinner _
At 1800 I walked down to the Julian Cafe for a CFS dinner. They cut their own steaks. It was served with a green salad, vegetables and a baked potato. Excellent! I seem to have my appetite back. Fortunately I haven’t been too hungry until now. Hopefully The appetite will return to a minimum so my pack can be lighter. More blogging in the evening and pack organization

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 5, Pioneer Mail PG To Rodriguez Tank, Mile 68.4

PCT Hike Sunrise CG _ PCT Hike Trail _
Tuesday: (04/22) Woke at 0600. Extremely windy all night My Tarptent Moment DW tent stayed in place all night. The wind was still heavy when I got up so I repacked my backpack inside the tent. Then the only things to add to the pack after that was the tent and dropcloth The dropcloth was pulled from under the erected tent first and put away. Then I pulled the down wind tent stake and removed the center rod. Finally I arranged the tent for rolling up before pulling the last stake. I was on trail at 0715. I met some more Southbound hikers. Many of them are hiking South to the Kick-Off meeting that I’ll be attending this weekend. I had brunch along the trail sitting on a rock with a nice desert view. I had lunch with some fellow hikers at the bottom of a ravine about halfway on today’s hike. I had the best shade there so Zak and Taylor, Whitney and Jan (two girls starting a section hike), and Saunter, an older man headed South. It was a long day when I arrived at Rodriguez Tank where I had dinner. Since the water needed filtering I decided I still had enough for tonight and tomorrow having carried 8 litters all the way from Mt Laguna.

PCT Hike Cowboy Campsite _
I left about 1715 to hike down the hill toward Sizzer Crossing. I made it about halfway down before 1930 when I decided to cowboy camp (no tent) in a wash about 5 miles down and four miles before Sizzers. It was extremely windy again tonight. I met Arch Angel (Mike) a guy who started to hike the trail South from I15 when his  Greyhound bus broke down. He’s headed to kickoff too. I thought my pack was heavy at 60 pounds. He said his was 80 pounds.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 4, Morris Meadow To Pioneer Mail Picnic Ground, Mile 52.6

(04/21) Up at 0600, on trail at 0800. I tinkered around. Passed Emily and Honey buzz along the trail as well as a SB older woman hiker named Steady she hiked the trail in 2003. She is from Oklahoma and her husband drops her off and meets her along her current section hiking. Made it to Mt Laguna at a closed campground, I made a couple of posts before walking on to the town store. I enjoyed a steak Hot Pocket, the first I’ve had along with a couple of orange juices and an ice cream. Nice lunch. Lots of hikers on the porch  that I’ve passed or been passed by.

PCT Hike Trail Near Mt Laguna _ PCT Hike Flower _
I filled up my water and was back on the trail about 1330.  A way up the trail I met another older woman Blue Butterfly. She is a recent widower who decided to hit the trail. She’s headed south. More nice flowers along the trail.

PCT Hike Trail To Sunrise Picnic Site _ PCT HikeTrail Near Mt Laguna _
I arrived at GART Faucet (above right) about 1630. Zak and Taylor were there. I rested, cooked dinner and topped my water off. There was a nice pleasant grove of trees, likely what the area I’d hiked through from Mt Laguna that had all burned used to look like. Mt Laguna Recreation Area is an island on some open hot portions of the PCT. Not all is bad along the burnt trail. The wild flowers are in abundance and beautiful. I left GART faucet about 1800. I had four miles to go to a good campsite, Pioneer Mail Picnic Ground, where I arrived at about 1930. I was comfortable in my tent by 2000.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 3, Boulder Oaks CG To Lower Morris Meadow, Mile 38.8

(04/20) Up at 0600, Kevin accepted a trail name from a fellow hiker. Electric Panda because all his toes have electric tape on them and he carries a panda headed ditty bag. On trail at 0806 after Taylor’s dad stopped by with donuts.

PCT Hike Trail North Of Hwy 8 _ PCT Hike Hazard Sign _
I stopped at 0915 in some shade and at 1115 without shade. I used my chrome dome umbrella much of the day. At one of the rest stops I had good cell signal and tried to do some posts but my phone was uncooperative. I stopped next around noon in a nice shady grove of oak trees with Zak and Taylor, and Electric Panda (Kevin).  As I was leaving an older gent named Dugger arrived. He pretty much is always on a trail and has a Kool Aide red streaked beard. It was a wonderful rest in the shade and I didn’t want to leave but it was now 1400. It was more sunny trail after the nice rest. The biggest plants came to my armpits. My umbrella was helpful all day. The sign above right, could be a little unsettling if thousands of other hikers hadn’t have successfully traversed the same path.

PCT Hike Campsite _
I finally arrived at Long Creek about 1800. Adam was settled in there. He passed me earlier on the trail. Electric Panda, Zak and Taylor arrived shortly but planned to hike up the hill beyond the creek about 1.1 miles to a meadow to camp. I decided to do the same even though I was worn out already. Nice meadow campsite. I was settled in bed by 2000.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 2, Hauser Creek To Boulder Oaks CG, Mile 26

PCT Hike Beast On A Rock _ PCT Hike Trail To Lake Morena _
Saturday: (04/19) I slept in until 0650. Nice bird serenade to start the day. It was a serious climp up from the creek then down to Lake Moreno.

PCT Hike First Trail Angel And Fellow Hikers _
As I was walking through the park I heard someone yell "Days Late", my trail name. I joined them. Sherpa, Honey Buzz’s dad was doing trail magic. I enjoyed a beer, well deserved after the climb. He also served up bacon sandwiches and some Middle Eastern tea call Jahed Tea or as he called it Sherpa tea because of professed sherpa-like invigoration powers. Kevin, Owen, Emily and Honey Buzz were there. Zak and Taylor came later. Heather and her nice beagle/setter dog joined. I finally managed to say goodbye at about 1400.

PCT Hike Rosie Boa Snake _ PCT Hike Trail To Boulder Oaks _
It was a hot hike away from the park. At 1530 I stopped to rest under a low tree, the only one on the open section of trail. Vern, from Marin, had the same idea and shared his tree. A short while further up the trail I saw a rosy boa snake, a lovely silver snake about 4 feet long with a rosy tail. The last part of the hike before the campground was through some nice green grass fields.

PCT Hike Zak Taylor and Kevin _
At 1750 I arrived at Boulder Oaks CG near Interstate Highway 8. I spotted Kevin and joined him at his camp. Later Zak and Taylor arrived too. Actually, the campground was full of hikers. Nice day but not too many miles accomplished. I seem to be with the herd but two days and only 26 miles up trail. I have a small blister on the second toe of the left foot and my deep ball blisters on both feet are talking.