Wrightwood to Acton KOA

Hiker trash in Wrightwood outside the village market

02May- Wrightwood (mile369) to Little Jimmy Campground (384) Today was only 15 miles but a very challenging day, in that I not only needed to climb Mt. Baden-Powell ( named after the guy who started the Boy Scouts) but most of the day was walking through very challenging steep snow with Microspikes on, and often with a very indistinct trail. It was a bit exhausting. I decided against the short ascent to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell since the snow was so challenging to walk in. The views were still quite awesome. I was able hitch a ride out of Wrightwood with Scott and Ingrid, and felt great with the hike until the snow hit. This should be the last snow of the “desert” and it gave for a real challenge. Worse yet, there wasn’t abundant water sources and I knew that I would need food for six days so the pack was heavier than appropriate. From Mt. Baden-Powell, the trail followed a snow covered ridge up and down for a number of miles. Sine most of us are wearing trail running shoes that are terrible in snow, we attach microspikes (kind of like crampons) to our shoes in hopes of keeping from slipping. Finally the trail became dirt again and I stopped at a spring to get water for tomorrow. Typically, it is advised that even spring water be filtered for organisms which I did. The camp was nice, surrounded by snow, and after cooking dinner, was able to join the 20 or so other campers around a campfire that somebody started to dry out the shoes and socks soaked from walking all day in the snow. The next few days should be a little bit shorter and tomorrow, the they-hikers must all take a detour which adds a few miles to the hike. The detour was enacted in an effort to save the yellow legged frog. 

Trail covered with snow
Summit of Mt. Baden Powell
Rare campfire on the trail
Tent surrounded by snow

03May-mile 384-mile 395

The length of the walk today was actually about 15+ miles, since I had to walk a detour around a section of the trail blocked off to hikers, in an effort to save the yellow legged frog. After descending to the road from Little Jimmy camp, the trail ascended needlessly to near the top of Mt. Williamson, and then immediately taking you back to the road. After a short trail interlude, the detour began, with a 4 mile road walk followed by a two mile trail to take you back to the PXT. The PCT then climbed up to Cooper Canyon camp. The camp had a stream nearby, it was hot, my mojo was depleted, and knew that an early rise in the am would work wonders. 

Descending back into desert
Detour to save the frog

I’ve had a lot of thoughts now about the trail. The further you go, the more you think about your equipment, what you like and don’t like, and what you would do different. I detest my tent. I think that I am going to order a single wall dynemma fabric tent for the next section of this venture. I need a separate drinking cup. The sleeping bag has been awesome. The pack has been super, with the exception of how it handles hydration packs. The Osprey hydration pack is so-so, as the bite valve now has a leak. It is also hard to know how much fluid is in the reservoir while it is in backpack.

I also contemplate on how a trail is representative of life in so many ways. It is mostly a struggle, but the joys overwhelm any struggle. There are good days and bad days. Beauty surrounds you with the handiwork of God but it is so easy to not notice it. Your past experiences provide input into new decisions, but are never perfect and must be coupled with trusting God for wisdom in every decision. Each turn and bend opens up new and mostly unexpected vistas, just as in life it is impossible to predict what the future will bring. Trusting the Lord for each step of the way is for both the trail Pilgrim and the life Pilgrim. Often one wonders why the trail is running the way it does-it often seems like it should be taking an easier course, and then a bend it the trail and a view of where one is going explains things. It’s a lot like Scripture, in that we often question things in God’s Word, yet a broader view explains the wisdom of God’s commands.

04May – mile 395-419

Today ended up being a little longer than I had planned. After getting on the trail at 6 am, it started as an uphill climb top highway 2. The trail followed highway 2 for a considerable distance until leaving it for good. It was then vey up and down with a lot of climbing though the general trend was downward, leaving the ponderosa forests and again entering a desert climate. Water became my primary concern. I had missed an important water source, and then noticed that my planned camp was high on a ridge and windy without water. There was a fire station the trail passed by that provided water for hikers, and just a short distance beyond was a day only picnic area where a Scottish mathematician (Rescuer) and I decided to set up camp. I think that they are used to PCT hiker s using any available spot possible to set up camp. I cooked dinner (Idahoan mashed potatoes) and then set up camp, filtered extra water, and crashed.

Mile 400
My feet and bottom of tent
Top of tent 

05May- mile 419-mile 445 This was another long day. Starting at 6 am, I hit the trail, leaving Rescuer to wake up. The trail further became desert, and with a very dry air. Guthook suggested there might not be any water on the trail so I was loaded. The plan was for 18 miles, camping at a ranger station. Most of the bulk of hikers arrived at the ranger station at about 1 o’clock where he had jugs of water for us. In addition, he came out and offered cold pop for a dollar. I quickly consumed two cans. We all decided that since the Acton KOA was only 8 miles away, we would hike there. I made it by 5:30, and was able to order some pizza. Other hikers had a few cases of beer to drink. Most of the hikers were going to do a short hike tomorrow to Hiker Heaven, but I decided to zero tomorrow and run into Acton to Resupply for the next phase of my adventure. 

Mojave desert under clouds
Descending into Acton

06May – zero day, Acton KOA Today was restful, with well needed recovery.

Hiker trash campsite at KOA