A Travellerspoint blog

Up to Kennedy Meadows

17 days and 250 miles

sunny 90 °F
View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

I haven't had a chance to get online for a while, but I have made it to Kennedy Meadows. This feels like the first really big achievement of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Yeah I have hit the small towns and each one I come to feels like an achievement all of its own, and I have gotten as far as hiking 27.5 miles in one day, but these don't qualify as the big achievements. I am getting a little ahead of myself though, I should update on all the shortcomings of the last 17 days.

After leaving the Saufleys at 1600, it was a good road walk before hitting the trail, and of course, rather than being on the trail, on the road, I see my first rattlesnake of the hike. It was a tiny little thing and I could hardly even hear it, but certainly noticed it. It made Rubs jump about 3 feet over towards the road. After that, we kept on hiking and I ended up pretty far ahead of him. About 1845 before coming down to where camp for the night would be, I heard this high pitched shrieking that sounded like a woman screaming. I didn't know what it was and called back a couple times, but didn't get any response besides more shrieks. Without any calls back, I kept hiking, with a watchful eye over my shoulder and ears perked listening for anything. I made the road at 2000 and waited for Rubs and Southern. As I waited, I began to here a couple more shrieks near me. So I was getting a little freaked. Finally about 2130, I saw these guys head lights coming down the hillside, so I knew they were coming and was relieved! We hiked just a little further to find a flat spot and not be right near cars and camped after about 11.5 miles of hiking.

The next day we got the 12.5 miles into Green Valley. A tiny little town where the Andersons live. Now this place was completely different from the Saufley Trail Angel House. These two call themselves the Hippie Daycare and that is exactly what it was like. Now, I am not sure how many of you know me well enough, but I hardly ever drink and haven't ever done a drug or smoked, but I have no problem sitting back and laughing at all the craziness that can ensue around me. So the Andersons was a nice break. We took a 0 and did NOTHING at all. It was very nice. The next day, Joe Anderson got up at 0600 to give Rubs, Southern, Clay, and I to the trailhead and we were back to things. We hiked a good 24 mile day to find terrible water all day long at a yellow water guzzler and the red rock water tank with 2 inches of water containing dead lizards and dead mice. But we had passed mile 500 to 502.7. We were on a roll! I was off early the next morning and it was such a gorgeous morning. It was beautiful green mountain top meadows with frolicking Deer. I'd been seeing tracks from them for some time, but this was the first I got to see them, 3 of them. After that, it was a long downhill before a terrible up and down trail in dead heat, warm wind, and teasing views of where we needed to go.

Eventually we hit Hikertown, a wonderful little trail angel house where we rested for the afternoon and took some wonderful showers. This was the last stop before following the LA aqueduct and hiking in the flat desert for 25 miles. So we left at about 1800 and hiked for 3 hours in the sunset and beginning of the evening. We walked directly on the aqueduct, and when we decided to find a spot to sleep for the evening, we figured it would be a good idea to sleep on top of one of the 3 foot from the ground cement boxes, no snakes would sneak up on us in out sleep there! Little did we know that it would be one of the windiest nights we had encountered. I almost lost my pack, but caught it before it got too far away from me, tied all my things to it and kept it close the rest of the night, pretty much, we got 4 hours of sleep. It was not a fun night. But we were off in the morning with a few morning clouds that quickly dispersed by 0800. Though we did come to find out that there was water at the next two water sources that we heard were either not flowing or questionable. So that was a good pick up! We made it to the wind farm and got some water, lost the trail a couple times because the construction workers just bulldoze right over the trail, though we kept the trail. This was one of the toughest days I had on the trail. The morning after little sleep, the endless sunlight for the last 4 weeks, the hot days, and the stretches of carrying loads of water, it was getting to me. It took a while to get to Tyler horse canyon, but I made it and we rested there until nearly 1700. A 6 hour break filled with food, water, and sleep! It was a huge refreshment. We hiked out a few more miles after that to make an easier day the next day. On this day I was out hiking before 0500, wanting to avoid the heat on the climb out of the canyon we slept in, which worked well. It was a great climb and a pretty good morning. All except for the 45 average wind speed that was blowing from my left to right side, which had a top speed of 63 miles per hour. It was not the most fun hiking.

I hit the Tehachapi Willow Springs Road and got a hitch quickly into Tehachapi. I gave my mom and call and she was online and found the Post Office which was pretty far from downtown. I got a new sleeping bag that is rater to 15 degrees farenheit and some new maps and food from my parents. It was a great mail pick up! I love my parents. I then found my way to meet up with Rubs, Southern, Running Wolf, and The Colonel who were getting lunch. We decided to stay the night in town and Rubs put us up in a little motel. It was a mellow night and good to shower and sleep in a bed. We called up a trail angel and were able to set up a ride for the morning to get us back to the trail! After a great nights sleep, we got some breakfast and were off again! After hiking from Willow Springs Road to Highway 58, we stayed under the shade of a bridge to relax in some cool air for a while. Later we set off up from Tehachapi Pass. It was a good evening climb and we made decent time. We were hoping to make it to a "Sweet Ridge" just a few miles before our next water source, but after Rubs saw his first bear in the woods, we quickly found a camp and made up for the night. It was the first night using my new sleeping bag, and Corley had hidden a little note inside the bag when she surprised my mom and mothers day. It was so sweet and wonderful. I was so happy! Corley is just the best that there is and I love her so much. She makes me so happy. I was lucky enough to have cell service and we were up late chatting for my first night with my warm bag. Thanks for that night my love. The next day we made the spring and filtered some water to make it another 21 miles to the Robin Bird Spring. It was a tough day with some big climbs, and after myself and Rubs seeing another bear, we made camp and Southern caught up eventually.

From here, it was a 35 mile stretch with no water on trail, no natural water on trail. There was the possibility of some caches, but we were so far in front and them being caches, did not want to rely upon them to be stocked. So we carried water for 24 miles to get to a Willow Springs Road where we could walk 1.8 miles one way off trail to get water. About 6 miles before there though, at 1600, we hit the first water chache, which had water. It was from there 15 miles to another possible water cache and 28 miles to the next possible water source. So instead of planning to hit Willow Spring Road, we packed out 7 liters of water to make the next source. And we tried to make that next cache that night. Leaving at 1730, we tried to hike 15 miles in STRONG headwind that slowed us down. At some point in here, I was lucky enough to see a mountain lion high tailing it down the hillside just down from me, running away from me. At midnight we had made about 13 miles. We were moving slow and decided to find a protected spot to sleep, which wasn't very well protected. We had hiked 27.5 miles that day. In the morning we were off again after the rough night and the water cache, only 2 miles from our camp, had water! Only 20 miles to the road, so we packed enough water to make it to Walker Pass. After the big climb up to Skinner Peak, it was a nice, but slow hike in the morning. I was just wanting to hit the road so bad my mind wasn't on walking, just getting there. It tested my patience and really worked me mentally. After a short lunch break, I was off again on a nice hike. Not too much up and not too much down.

I hit the road at 1600 and got a ride at 1612 from a very questionable guy. He gave Rubs and I a ride and we both were worried for our lives a couple times. We made it to the wonderful little town of Lake Isabella, about 33 miles West of the trail, where our bodies were ready for a couple days off. We had hiked 175 miles in 8 days with not much break in there. So we got a motel room for the three of us and enjoyed a couples days off! We made the long, but definitely worth while walk to Neldas where they have a shake menu with over 100 shakes on it. It was awesome! The next day was filled with laying in bed and being lazy as can be. By 1600 I had gotten out of bed 4 times to use the bathroom and that was it. It was a glorious day. The next, we resupplied food and got a hitch back to the trail so easy! It was awesome. Southern and I were back to the campground at about 1400 and just relaxed. He had bought us all dinner that he would cook up in the fire, so we searched for fire wood for a while. Rubs eventually made it to camp and Southern made use baked potatoes, steaks, and an apple pie for desert! It was so great. Bodies felt much better!! Next day was right back to hiking. We started off easy and hiked a nice 18 miles to Spanish Needle Creek. We were able to get water and find a spot out of the wind, but not very flat. I still got some sleep. We woke up with some thick cloud cover. Getting up to 7000 and in the clouds, it was cold enough that the condensation in the air was freezing on the trees, then wind would come up and blow the icicles into your face quite forcefully. It wasn't that fun. We came down from it to get water and a nice cache with some soda! Then it was a 2000 foot climb up followed by 1000 down to camp after 24 miles, leaving 8.8 miles to get into Kennedy Meadows. Now Oddball and Copernicus were with us, who we have been passing back and forth off and on for a while. Waking up, there was condensation and frost everywhere. It was cold and wet, so I packed up slowly and got on my way to make it into Kennedy Meadows, excited with every step to have made it so far to such an awesome spot. I made the road into town at 0900 and walked into the General Store.

This is a huge step on this journey. I am getting into the High Sierra Mountains when I leave here and am on my way to the highest points in the lower 48 of the United States. A fair amount of people drop out by this point for various reasons. The next huge point in my journey will be the half way point at 1330 miles. I am at 702 miles. After that it will be the Oregon Boarder. Then the Washington Boarder. Then Canada. I am now out of this dang desert and into mountains where there will be so much water and high altitude and cold nights. It will be an amazing experience. It will all be up and down and push my body to even further limits than it has been pushed already. But it will be gorgeous. One of the toughest parts will be the lack of cell service. I miss Corley so much already and know how much I have been putting a strain on our relationship by being away and not being able to be there with her. I love her very much and don't want to be with anyone else. I just hope that she can hold on to this while I am away because I truly just want to get home and have her and I be together. I may not be able to update this again for a long time, so keep me in your prayers and I will be up enjoying one of the most beautiful parts of this country! Happy Trails!

Posted by walkinman 13:49 Comments (0)

1 Month In

Big bear City to Agua Dulce

sunny 85 °F
View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

So today marks one month on the trail. Today I hiked 10 miles in 3 hours and 15 minutes, which has gotten to be my typical speed whilst upon the trail, making 6 of the last 9 days on the trail be over 20 miles a day. I am still hiking with Rubs and Southern, and have been enjoying their company for the most part, at times hiking off alone for a couple days. On Tuesday the 1st of May, we hiked 17 miles out of Big bear City to a camp site called Little Bear. The day went very well and the weather was perfect, about 65 degrees. The next day was when it all started to pick up! We hiked 22 miles to get to the Deep Creek Hot Springs. Besides the onslaught of old male nudity, the hot waters of the springs made a great way to relax at the end of the day. Then on the 3rd, I decided to hike off much earlier than my companions and made it to Mojave Dam to call my mom, which preceded being lost for about 2 and a half hours, following the wrong creek and adding 7 miles to my day. Once I made it back to the trail, I hiked on to Silverwood Lake, where I happened upon a wonder trail angel cache filled with apples and oranges. After enjoying some fresh fruit, I followed on to my camp, making it a 23 mile day, not including the 7 added miles of being lost. I woke up early the next day and made it to Cajon Pass at Interstate 15, my third interstate crossing. Prior to heading on, I went up to Mcdonalds, which I had made in time to still eat from their breakfast menu! I also ate lunch and headed out at 1230 to keep hiking. I made another 10 miles that day to get 25 miles, however, my left shin began to give me trouble. I was a mere 11 trail miles and 4.5 off trail miles from Wrightwood, where a package from my wonderful Corley awaited me. To pick up this package from the Post office on a saturday, I needed to make it by 1100. So I woke up at 0430 and was hiking by 0445 in the dark with my light to guide me. I made great time that day, stopping about 8 miles in to down so Vitamin I (Ibuprophen) and wrap my shin in an ace bandage to reduce the pain from my steps. I made it the 15 miles by 0930 and was able to pick up my package, with a little something of hers to carry with me every step, so she is always with me. I rested the entire day after this at a nice Inn and took the night off, enjoying some TV and a half gallon of Rocky Road icea cream. It was wonderful and I slept so great! The next day it was back to the trail where I put in a 10 mile day to Vincent Pass, just before the climb to Mt Badden-Powell, now again with Rubs and Southern. On Monday, we hiked up Badden-Powell, myself going to the summit on the quick side trail to enjoy the views. Had there not been SMOG as far as the eye could see, I would have enjoyed views of the Pacific Ocean, and my soon to be home of the Sierra Nevada Mountains! After this quick stop, we continued on our way! I got a bit ahead, and again followed the wrong trail. A group of Asian hikers were coming up from what I assumed was the PCT. It was not. It took me down to Highway 2, the Angeles Crest highway. I decided to follow this rather than climb back up the 700 foot decent I just made. I caught another hiker, Donkey Legs, who had made the same mistake! I eventually caught Rubs and Southern, just before the Yellow Frog detour, which left us with more road walking. We made it to Cooper Camp, a 21 mile day, not including the extra 2-4 miles I added of road walking. We left the next morning on a great ascent, before a wonderful trek to the Station Fire area which was burned years before. This gave us another detour, and more road walking. We made it down the road to Mills Creek summit Fire Station to camp the night. Hiking along a dirt road for 5 miles is so tough. But we made a 23 mile day! That next day, Wednesday, we hiked out a littler early to avoid some heat, beginning the day at a quick pace of nearly 4 miles an hour. That was, of course, only until we hit the Poisonous Poodle Dog Bush. At first we danced through doing the Poodle Dog dance, but then it got much thicker, to a point that you could not go through without touching it. Eventually we gave up avoiding it, since we had obviously been touching it so much already. We hiked through and got to the Ranger Station. Needing to get a shower in, we headed out, but before hand we learned that the San Gabriel Mountain Range is closed to everyone but PCt hikers! 700,000 acres all to us. That is amazing! And we also learned that Poodle Dog Bush is really quite a rare plant and only grows after a large fire and stays around for about 5-8 years before being choked out by the newly grown plants around. But we made the next 8 miles to a WONDERFUL KOA camp in 2 hours and 40 minutes. We got there to receive Cherry Coke, cold water, Reeses Ice Cream Bars, Showers, a Pool and Hot Tub! All for a simple $5 a night! It was wonderful after a 25 mile day! I woke up early this great Thursday to get the last 10 miles into Agua Dulce out of the way before too much heat set in. By 0730, it was already 73 degrees out! I was happy to hit the Vasquez Rocks about 0815, and have some equestrians (horse back riders) help me follow to PCT to the road into town! I made it to the grocery store at mile 454 by 0900! Such a great morning! I am looking forward to a nice 0 day tomorrow here at the Saufleys house! They are wonderful and I will be enjoying my stay here before heading out on saturday for a 24.4 mile day to The Andersons house for another great day with amazing Trail Angels! I am loving the trail and having a great time, even though I am having some huge struggles with heat, feet, and weight, but I am ready to push through and continue gaining strength!

Posted by walkinman 16:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Idyllwild to Big Bear City

87 miles

all seasons in one day

This section of my hike has been a pretty tough stretch. Right out of Idyllwild, myself and a group of 7 others hiked along Fuller Ridge. The morning started off great with beautiful views to the West. Then we came around the northern face of the ridge and there was so much snow. It was great to be in such a large group to attempt to follow the trail. We hiked in snow for 3-4 hours and at the end of the day had only hiked about 13 trail miles to the Fuller Ridge Trailhead. The next day was all down hill, about 20 miles of it to Interstate 10 in San Gorgonio Pass, the lowest elevation on the trail in California at 1190 feet or so. It was a good, long day with lots of sun. A trail angel has left sodas and beers and water under the overpass and a bunch of us slept there to avoid the possible rain during the night. About 2330 we woke up to getting a little wet, but it wasn't too bad. In the morning, I attempted to hitch to Palm Springs to get food to make it to Big Bear City with no luck. But some trail magic happened and Bone Lady, Swiss Cheese, and No Amp, headed off to kick off offered me some food to make it to Big Bear! I set off to try to catch Rubs, Southern, and Bucket. I went 9 miles in 3 hours in attempt to catch them. I caught Estero and Lala who said no one had passed them. So I kept hiking slowly out to about mile 227 or 228 and camped out that night, finding out that the three others had camped just a mile or so behind me. We met up the next day along Mission Creek at Creekside Camp at lunch time. After eating, we started up the steep ascent through Poodle Dog bush all over the trail. We made it up to Mission Spring campground and stayed the night there. Temperatures hit the mid 20's that night and my sleeping bag was not near adequate for that, but I got some sleep. Started off the morning in the bitter cold to get warm and was able to hike 26 miles by 1700 to get into Big Bear City and am now staying at the Hostel here and headed out in the mid morning tomorrow.
I have recently found out that my Grandma Steck, my moms mom, passed away on Tuesday while my mother was showing her the PCT documentary and talking about Eagle Rock with her. Eagles have always been something to make anyone in my family think of Grandpa Steck. Whenever I have seen statues of Eagles in towns, I know Grandpa, and now my Grandma are up there watching me. My parents say that if it were up to Grandma and Grandpa, they would have me keep hiking on and keep them in my prayers as I continue on my journey. This is what I will do and I will press on to the Sierra Nevadas and on north until I am able to make it home, when I will be able to go to my grandparents grave sites and pay my respects to them. I love them both very much and they are going to be missed!
Next stop, Wrightwood to resupply and then to Agua Dulce and The Saufleys house in nearly 200 miles. I will be able to update again at that time. Keep me, and my family in your prayers!

Posted by walkinman 13:50 Archived in USA Comments (0)

13 days in...


View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

So I have been out on the trail for nearly two weeks. In that time I have had to avoid a snow storm, had multiple blisters on both of my heels, dealt with shoes being to small for my ever swelling feet, hiked 24 miles in one day, followed foot marks in snow for a few miles, seen lizards, coyotes, birds, sqirrels, marmots, and chipmunks, met some awesome people, cowboy camped and slept in my hammock, and walked 179 miles. In those thirteen days I have taken three 0 mile days to avoid storms and to rest. So 179 divded by 10 is averaging 17.9 miles every day I have hiked. It has been an intense journey thus far. My body has been aching every day. I have done one load of laundray and taken two showers. I have been covered in salt and sweat that doesn't dry for 45 minutes. I have a good sun burn across my nose and cheeks. Rashes on my hips and areas that should not be mentioned on here. And have been enjoying it so much! Some of the things to experience out here are so amazing. I have laughed in joy from a breeze of wind during a 95+ degree afternoon. I have given so much thanks to trail angels for hiking hundreds of gallons of water to places just for us hikers. I have made some wonderful new friends that make amazing laughs all the time. It has been an amazing journey thus far and I am trucking right along! I am called by the trail name, Lucky Nalgene. My third day of hiking I stopped for lunch after leaving Mt Laguna and must have taken out my most favorite nalgene that has been with me to Hawaii, on all of my boat excursions, and is with me for the trail. I didn't realize until hiking 5 more miles that I had not put it back in my pack. I hiked back a mile or so and didn't find so figured it was lost to the world. Luckily another hiker picked up and caught up with me to get it back! I was so happy! So, now I am Lucky Nalgene out hiking the trail. The people I have been with include Hot Wing, Mike and Stephanie, Penn J, Running Wolf, Drew, Astero, Voices, Salt Monster, Rubs, Southern, Bucket and have met so many other people who have been so helpful down in the desert section on the PCT. Special thanks to Dave up in Mt. Laguna at the outdoor gear shop for hot cocoa and great storm advice and rides. Thanks to the ladies in Warner Springs who have opened up a resupply shop for hikers, Sherri, Colette, and Nancy! And of course thanks to every trail angel there is out there! You all have been making this tough trail hike much easier! My trail legs are definitely starting to show! Friday morning, I was able to make 9.5 miles in 3 hours! Felt so amazing! I am looking forward to getting new shoes tomorrow, 4/23. My brother Joe, and his roomate were able to mail me the shoes I had left there for when I hopefully hike with Joe near Lake Tahoe. So much thanks! They will make hiking much easier! I'll be sure to get on again some time, who knows which city I will be able to work in the internet in again or when I will get there, but updates will come! Happy Trails

Posted by walkinman 18:57 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Two days away

Getting close

sunny 60 °F

It is Easter Sunday and I have driven down to San Fransisco with my parents to spend the weekend with my brother Joe for the Easter weekend. We've had a great time and are about half way to the trail head. My pack is full with all that I will need and weighs close to 50 pounds! Went on a short little walk with it today around Bayfront Park in Redwood City, CA. It felt pretty good and not overly heavy so hopefully the first few weeks hiking won't be too terrible adjusting to the weight and carrying it for 15-20 miles a day. Tomorrow, Monday April 9th, my mothers birthday, will be spent driving to San Diego, or possibly a little bit closer to Campo, CA. Then early Tuesday morning, my parents will drop me off at the trail head, take a few pictures, and send me off on my way to walk home along the Pacific Crest Trail. I will hopefully walk 20 miles the first day to Lake Morena and get on my way back to the US/Canada coast. I am not sure when I will be able to make it back online to write on here, but whenever I can, I will. I'll have a small phone and when I have service I will update facebook through texts, but may not be able to check posts on my updates until I make it home in September. So wish me luck, keep me in your prayers, and I will make it home before anyone knows it! Thank you!!

Posted by walkinman 01:25 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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