I Guess This Is Me Now...

Day 7: Julian to random Canyon in the Mountains of Anza-Borrego

Grabbed breakfast at Mom’s Pie House where we met Coffee Cart. He is from Israel & is hiking 1% of the trail per day…in other words he is flying. Before parting ways, Coffee Cart gave me my trail name…DoubleTake. The InkNBurn shirt I’m hiking in looks like I’m wearing a tie and suspenders which causes everyone to do a DoubleTake. Kilo will probably be forever Kilo…he’s had a trail name his whole life. After breakfast we hitched a ride back to the trailhead. The lady that picked us up said she would rather drive us than go home and clean her bathroom. I guess she isn’t very keen on cleaning because her car was FILLED with recyclables. Her trunk had trash bags of recyclables in it. And in her back seat, I was literally sitting on top of plastic bottles holding my legs up because the floor of her car was covered with bottles as well. It’s as if she drank Muscle Milk in her car every morning and then just threw the bottle in the backseat. Regardless, we were extremely thankful for the ride. We were also extremely thankful that her psychic was wrong and there was not a large earthquake that day. The hike today was beautiful with wild flowers and butterflies abound.

Day 8: Random Canyon to just outside Warner Springs

Hit 100 miles on the trail today!

Day 9: Outside Warner Springs to Warner Springs:

Every morning upon taking my first step out of the tent I nearly fall over. It’s as if my feet say, “oh no…we are not doing this again!”

Warners Springs. You are heaven. You are literally an oasis in the desert. The Warner Springs Community Center caters to PCT hikers. They have food and drinks for sale, bucket showers, bucket laundry and you can pitch your tent in the backyard with about 40 of your fellow hikers. One of the volunteers drove me to the post office to retrieve the first resupply package we sent ourselves AND we had a card from the Loo Family! Thank you to all of the Warner Springs volunteers. You are literally angels.

Day 10: Warner Springs to the Middle of Nowhere

At this point our primary objective is to get to Idyllwild before running out of food. Left Warner Springs a little late as we were chatting with fellow hiker Schlurf. Discussed his future plans for a Schlurf and Turf restaurant chain. What Schlurf actually is, as a food, is still undefined but that’s the great thing about it…he can make Schlurf whatever he wants! Be on the lookout for a restaurant coming your way. Hiked with extremely heavy packs today due to the resupply at Warner Springs.

Day 11: Middle of Nowhere to Camp Alongside the Trail

Headed out in the morning with our first planned stop to be Mike’s Place. I’ve read various opinions about Mike’s Place (his house is up in the mountains and hikers are welcome), but we wanted to check it out for ourselves. Nope. Stayed for about 5 minutes and we were out. It was a bunch of dudes sitting around smoking weed, drinking 10am Budweisers, and jamming on an electric guitar. Just not our scene so we hiked on. Camped with like 8 other people this night literally right alongside the trail.

Day 12: Camp Alongside the Trail to Middle of Nowhere (noticing a theme?)

Some observations: No matter how far you plan to hike, approximately 1 mile short of that distance you will swear you are dying and cannot go any further. Everyone on trail goes to bed at 8pm. Everyone wakes up about 6am, and then the stuffing of things into packs begin. Kilo and I are always the last ones to leave camp, but I finally have my morning stuffing of things into packs routine down now and no longer have to restuff my sleeping bag 3 times per morning to get it right. We stink. Not just a little. Every time the wind blows, I can smell myself. Everything we own is covered in dirt. I’m pretty sure we’ve even eaten our fair share of dirt. I guess this is me now.

Hiked through Mary’s today. Mary is a trail angel who dedicates a portion of her backyard to hikers. There are lifesize cut outs of John Muir, Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau with quotes from each of them, books to read at the picnic tables and even a Muir John (get it?…port-a-John complete with poetry inside).. Thank you, Mary!

Day 13: Middle of Nowhere to the San Bernardino National Forest

We see you in the distance Mt San Jacinto and we’re coming for you. First stop, Paradise Valley Cafe where they claim to have the “best burger on the trail.” Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the burger because they were not serving lunch yet. Full stack of pancakes, some sausage and about five cups of coffee later we were waddling up trail leaving the Anza-Borrego State Park and entering San Bernardino National Forest. Cactus slowly started to disappear and pine trees appeared in their place. Camped at a cold 5,200 feet.

Day 14: San Bernardino National Forest to SBNF, but Higher

As we were packing up camp this morning, an older gentleman who camped nearby said to us, “I take you guys have an affinity for drugs with names like Kilo and Crispy, you must like cocaine and you must smoke a lot of weed.” He thought he had overheard my name as Crispy. Hilarious. We’ve seen some drugs on the trail, but we aren’t carrying them. Challenging hike today. This section of the trail was just reopened after a large wildfire that tore through there a couple of years ago. Everything was still charred and crispy. Fallen, dead trees blocked the trail and created an obstacle course. Tomorrow…a long hike into Idyllwild.

Day 15: SBNF, but Higher to Idyllwild

Hardest day on trail thus far. Immediately we were faced with a 1,000 foot climb followed by a decision to follow the PCT via a super sketchy, icy path with a steep drop off or to climb up and over the saddle of the mountain (Apache Peak). We took one look at the sketch section, turned around and went over the saddle. Several times today we had to put on our microspikes to walk through icy sections of the trail. Finally we got to a point where we had to just leave them on because now we were walking on top of feet of snow (and sometimes post holing through the snow). We were now walking with Mona Lisa. A man and his dog are hiking the trail. The dog’s name is Mona so together their trail name is Mona Lisa. There is no path. Just footprints in the snow….that don’t always go in the correct direction as we soon learned. Crash course in navigation today serves as good practice for our future in the Sierra Mountains. Finally got down to the parking lot of the trailhead and immediately a couple from Los Angeles offered us a ride to Idyllwild town center which we gladly took to avoid the additional 3.2 mile walk. We were beat. But after taking our first real shower in over a week, we felt reborn enough to grab a large pizza. And a salad. We do try to eat some greens while in town. Tomorrow…our first zero day.