Sunday, April 19, 2015

PCT MM430 To MM444 Acton

Sunday: (4/19) I was on trail at 0715. I was the only person in the campground, in fact I haven't seen any other campers on the trail since leaving Wrightwood. However, last night I did see a light about a 1/4 mile away. I thought it might just be something related to the communications building I'd seen on the way in. Anyway, as I got back on the trail I passed two bicyclists riding by on the dirt road next to the campground. Here I am in the wilds and this early in the morning the traffic is terrible! Then a few hundred feet down the trail I saw three hunters all decked out in camouflage gear and carrying their hand guns. They were the lights I'd seen last night. They said they were scouting for a later hunting trip. One was a trail angel and gave me a delicious pear. I was interested in making some miles so I carefully carried it for a couple of miles before I took a break to enjoy it. I had five miles to go to to get to the Mill Creek Fire Station, the next place with water. On the way down the mountain I met three young guys coming up the mountain to Pacifico peak on a day hike. Shortly later I met a group of about six older day hikers heading up as well. Again, I'm in the middle of nowhere and the traffic is terrible. As I arrived at the Los Angeles County Fire Station at Mill Creek the truck was leaving for a fire. As I filled my water and cooked lunch I listened to their radio communications on their outside speaker. They had responded to a yard fire at a house that got out of control burning a 1/4 acre. They were right on top of it with three engines from LA County, Forest Service and a Riverside County Truck, three water tenders and an aircraft all on their way before most were called off as the first arrivals contained the fire. Interesting. As I got back on the trail I crossed the Angles Forest Highway. There were two flagmen there assisting construction truck traffic. One offered me a soda. Unfortunately, I had to decline that wonderful offer. I had not only just filled my water bottles I had tanked myself up as well. I wouldn't want to carry it either. I then climbed up toward Mount Gleason. These next few miles were the last of the poodle dog bush problem areas on the trail. In fact most hikers have detoured onto the roads for the past few years. Trail crews have been working for the past six years to repair the trails and clear the post fire growth of PDB in the Station Fire Area. I didn't find much of a problem on the trail to here and only a couple of places where I had to walk around some PDB growth on the trail. A lot of dodging but usually easily passable. In fact, at MM 435 I met a trail crew clearing the last serious trail overgrowth which included PDB. The hikers I've been following must have had to back track or slide through watching for the nefarious PDB hiding amongst the friendlier overgrowth and doing strategic pushing with sticks. No place to walk around on the totally overgrown steep hillside. I made it to the closed North Fork fire station at MM436. Todd lives at the station as security. He keeps some five gallon jugs of water available at the closed picnic area next door. As I was filling up and having lunch, Todd came over and brought a wonderful peanut butter cookie. That and my sausage made lunch. From the fire station it was just nine miles down to Acton KOA where I was to meet Lou. I had called her earlier when I had 11 miles to go and she was way overoptimistic as to my hiking speed. I had planned to arrive by 1600, she thought I was now going to arrive at 1300. As I was about to cross the road to the KOA, she pulled up. She had been waiting and wondering where I was for the previous two hours. Different understandings of how fast I hike.

We picked up my resupply box from the KOA and headed off to Bakersfield. I was rather ripe, not having a shower at the KOA. We stopped at the Rice Bowl Chinese Restaurant for dinner. I changed clothes in their restroom and took a spit bath. Even after days on the trail nobody was running away. We just love the Cantonese Chinese food there. Then we were off toward home arriving just after 2200. A quick shower and all was well.

I have returned home because of a nasal infection and sore throat or something. Evidently, on my hurry down to Acton I strained my left knee as well. Now I need to limp a bit before I can walk normal A little rest for that as well. Again, time to look at the hike plan to determine what to do next.

More. Lou stopped at Aunt Helen's to spend the night on the way down. She had to take her to the hospital this morning. All's well now.

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Interesting flowers on the way down the mountain.

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More burned area today.

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