Day 28: It’s Four Feet Stupid!

Start: Mile 369.3 Inspiration Point – Hwy 2

End: Mile 374 Vincent Gap – Hwy 2

I had spent the night in Wrightwood and had re-supplied for the next four days. I was up at 5:10am and out on the highway with my thumb out by 5:45am. Luckily a nice lady picked me up and dropped me off at Inspiration Point where I would rejoin the PCT. At 6:05am I was hiking up the trail – it was another beautiful morning.

I had been hiking the past week from Big Bear Lake to Wrightwood without Donna. She had her knee surgery yesterday and was home recovering. I have solo backpacked many times so was comfortable being out here by myself but something was missing. This dream of OURS of hiking the PCT was supposed to be FOUR FEET. As my two feet hiked this morning I realized that two feet were missing. I could either try to hike the trail solo or wait for Donna to heal and continue to hike it together. By 8am I had decided I was going home.

Soon I was crossing Highway 2 again – this time at Vincent Gap. I took my pack off at the side of the highway and waited for a car to come by heading back towards Wrightwood. Not one car came by in the next hour so I road-walked the three miles back to Inspiration Point.

Shortly after arriving Cowboy John drove up. He is the Wrightwood Trail Angel that had picked me up yesterday and driven me into Wrightwood. My plan was to hitch back to Wrightwood, then hitch back to Cajon Pass where I hoped I could Uber home (90 minutes).

When I explained Donna’s situation and what I was trying to do, Cowboy John offered to drive me all the way home!!! Is that amazing!!! Two hours later I was at home.

Thank You Cowboy John – you are amazing!!!

Donna and I had hoped to hike the entire 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail in one continuous thru-hike. It wasn’t meant to be.

Our plan now is to section hike the trail over the next several years. We hope that we’ll be back out on the trail later this summer.

Thanks for your interest and support.

Day 25: Cajon Pass

Start: Mile 329.5 Picnic Area near Silverwood Lake

End: Mile 341.9 Interstate 15

I was on the trail again by 7am and knew I would have an relatively easy hike today to the junction of the PCT with Interstate 15.

I was looking forward to seeing Donna – she was going to meet me at the Best Western Cajon Pass.

As I hiked up the trail away from Silverwood Lake, I enjoyed the views back towards the lake.

The picnic area that I camped in last night is in the foreground of the above photo.

The first few miles of the trail were uphill as I left the Silverwood Lake area and then headed lower for the next few miles. As looked westward towards the Cajon Pass I could see clouds.

The trail passed through a pretty valley as it headed towards I-15. This is a photo looking back at the valley.

Then the trail headed back uphill and over a ridge to reveal views of Cajon Pass and Interstate 15.

The final few miles before the Interstate were downhill and very windy. It was nice to finally reach I-15 and the infamous sign directing PCT hikers to McDonalds.

I enjoyed a Big Mac, large order of fries and several large Dr. Peppers. Hit the spot!

It was a short walk to the Best Western. I checked in and Donna arrived shortly. It was really good to see her and get updated on her knee and all the happenings at home.

It was also nice to do some laundry and take a shower.

And then Donna surprised me with a delicious dinner of ribs, a baked potato and a fresh salad. Yum!!!

Thanks for following.

Day 24: Silverwood Lake

Start: 312.2 Deep Creek Campsite

End: 329.5 Picnic Area near Silverwood Lake

I had a good night ‘s sleep last night. My campsite was on a ridge and a little exposed but the winds weren’t too bad so the night worked out well.

My goal today was to get to Silverwood Lake at mile 328.5. There would be water, restrooms and picnic tables. My understanding was that this was the last water source before reaching the I-15 interchange at mile 342, where I would meet Donna tomorrow.

Very shortly after starting my hike I dropped down to the Mojave River Forks Dam at the end of Deep Creek. This is a flood control dam. Now I’m confused in exactly what the proper name of the creek is – is it Deep Creek or Mojave River??? I don’t know for sure. Anyway this is the dam – the creek is on the left.

Shortly after passing below the dam on the creek side, I crossed the creek and filtered some water. This is where the creek flows through under the dam.

Here’s a view looking back at the dam after I had hiked up the PCT about a mile or so.

As I continued northbound on the PCT (actually the trail is heading westward here as you travel north towards Canada), I had more views towards the upcoming San Gabriel Mountains,

stopped for a mid-morning snack

and enjoyed views of the pasturelands in the foreground.

Soon I passed under the Silverwood Lake Dam

And after a few more miles I reached the lake. It’s a big lake and it took a while to hike to the end of it where the picnic tables and restrooms were.

As soon as I got to the picnic tables, someone was driving by selling ice cream. I couldn’t resist.

Some of the other PCT hikers had ordered a pizza and they were nice enough to give me a couple slices. After eating and resting a bit, I hiked another mile or so to this picnic area near Silverwood Lake. There was water and an electrical outlet, so I decided to camp here and charge my phone and portable phone charger.

And I enjoyed another delicious dinner on the trail.

Tomorrow morning I will fill up with water for my 13 mile walk to the I-15 junction where I would meet my honey (Donna!). I have missed her the last three days.

Thanks for reading.

Day 23: Deep Creek

Start: Mile 292.4 Holcomb Creek Trailside Camp

End: Mile 312.2 Deep Creek Trailside Camp

This morning I was up before 6am and hiking at 6:30. I knew I had to hike close to twenty miles today so I was motivated from the get-go.

I had camped in a forested area along Holcomb Creek. The first few miles today continued along this creek and I passed several large established camping areas.

Soon I had views north towards the San Gabriel Mountains which are east of Los Angeles. The PCT passes through this mountain range and I expect to be there in a few days. If you look closely you can even see the fog bank that is stretching up I-15 near the Cajon Pass.

After about six miles I crossed a bridge

and got to a junction with a short side trail that went to Splinters Cabin,

which had pit toilets (awesome!) and trash cans (nice!). I made deposit in each and lightened my load (Hahaha).

When I returned to the official PCT I was soon traveling down Deep Creek Canyon. There was a lot of water flowing down Deep Creek but the trail stayed several hundred fee above it for most of the afternoon.

I passed the 300 mile mark – another notch in the hiker belt.

And continued down Deep Creek for about fourteen miles. There were a lot of inviting swimming pools but unfortunately the trail was too far above the creek.

At about Mile 308 there is the Deep Creek Hot Springs. This is a popular destination for PCT hikers as well as local people. It is known as a “clothing optional” destination. As I approached the hot springs I saw the following sign, apparently placed by “Party Boy”.

Not one to party with strangers nor take my clothes off around strangers, I continued on down the trail. But I did snap a few photos.

I did hike down to the stream to collect drinking water above the hot springs as I was warned not to drink the water below the Springs (for obvious reasons).

Soon I passed over another bridge

and then continued for another few miles until I reached my camp site above the dam at the bottom of Deep Creek.

Sunset was nice

Thanks for following our PCT journey.

Day 22: Solo Hiking ☹️

Start: Mile 277.7 Junction PCT/Cougar Crest Trail

End: Mile 292.4 Holcomb Creek

Two days ago Donna and I left Big Bear Lake in a car rental and drove the two hours back to our home. It was bittersweet. We picked up our mail, went to the grocery store and took care of some chores around the house. We love our house and where we live … but we wanted to be on the trail together … and Donna couldn’t.

It was nice to sleep in our own bed. The next morning Donna had an appointment with her orthopedic surgeon – he is great and had done Donna’s back surgery thirteen years ago as well as a couple arthroscopic knee surgeries. As expected he order an MRI of Donna’s right knee. Donna will get that done today. I was anxious to get back on the trail and not lose any momentum, so I had arranged for a one-way car rental back to Big Bear. Yesterday I had switched out some gear to accommodate a solo hiker – one person tent & smaller cook system.

This morning I was up at 6am and in the car by 6:45. I arrived at Big Bear a little after 9am, returned the car and Ubered to the trailhead.

I was hiking up the Cougar Crest Trail at 10:15 (2.2 miles) and had re-connected with the PCT in one hour. I did run into a medium sized rattlesnake on the Cougar Crest Trail but he was into the bushes before I could take a photo.

Shortly after reaching the PCT and heading north I had nice views of Big Bear Lake – it would be the last time I would see the lake. After a few miles on the PCT, I got into a section that was not that pretty, which is unusual on the PCT. It appeared to be a section where there had been a previous fire as well evidence of mining activity.

It wasn’t long before I reached a more scenic part of the PCT and enjoyed forward-looking vistas, trailside pine cones and ducks in a pond.

I reached Holcomb Creek and found a campsite by 5:30.

Thanks for following our PCT journey.

Day 21: Zero Day; Donna’s Knee!!!

Miles: 0

Today we spent the day in Big Bear. It had been planned as as zero day where we don’t hike any miles.

Our plan today was to organize our food re-supplies for the next month, package them in USPS Priority Mail boxes and mail them forward. We were sending re-supply packages forward to three locations – the Best Western at I-15, the Acton KOA and Hikertown near Lancaster.

Rob and Stacy, who we had spent the last few days with us, had brought us some re-supply food (freeze-dried food, energy bars. etc.) that we had previously given to them. We also needed to go to the local grocery stores to buy additional supplies (fresh tortillas, cheese, salami, peanut butter and of course a little Jack Daniels).

Since Big Bear Lake is a little spread out, we rented a car for the day. We ran to the grocery store, picked up a hiker-friend (GQ) and took him to the grocery store and then to the trailhead and made several trips to the local post office to mail our re-supply boxes. I think we mailed a total of 6 boxes. At the end of the day we picked up another hiker friend (Dana) who had slack-packed the same part of the trail that we had yesterday, and brought her to the hotel for the night. So it was a busy day. We weren’t hiking, but were busy taking care of other hiking-related business.

At the end of the day, after all our chores had been completed, we decided to order a pizza from the local pizza shop. It was five minutes away. When I returned with the pizza, Donna had a funny look on her face. Apparently, when she got up, her knee locked up. Now she couldn’t walk or put any weight on her right leg. It was very apparent that her hike at ended, at least for immediate future. We were both emotional but agreed that we needed to return home tomorrow (home is only 2 hours away) and get her to the doctor.

So that’s our plan. Donna has had two arthroscopic knee surgeries in the past, both for a torn meniscus, and feels like this is the same problem. We will see.

My initial feeling is that I will get Donna home and to the doctor. Then I will likely return to the trail solo. It will be different and not what we had planned. Hopefully Donna will be able to join me later down the trail.

Thanks for reading – I will update you when I know more.

Day 20: Slack-Pack #2

Mile 266.1 Highway 18

Mile 277.7 Cougar Crest Trail Junction

Our plan today was to slack-pack this 11.6 mile section of the PCT with Rob & Stacy. Donna has had a sore right knee for the last week or two so she decided to stay at the Big Bear cabin and ice her knee.

Before starting our hike Rob made homemade Brioche French Toast with sliced strawberries and bananas and syrup. Yummy! Now that’s the way to start the day before a hike.

After breakfast we returned to the PCT Junction at Highway 18 and started our hike. Soon we came to a closed 2+ mile portion of the trail because of the Holcomb Fire in June 2017.

There was a detour around the closed portion of the trail on dirt roads.

There was a section on the detour where we got a glimpse of snow-capped Mt. San Gorgonio.

Soon we were back on the official Pacific Crest Trail And had views east towards the desert.

Rob and Stacy are great hiking partners

and after four hours of hiking we finally got to a point on the trail where we had great views of Big Bear Lake.

Shortly thereafter we reached the Cougar Crest Trail Junction with the PCT and hiked down the 2 mile side trail to the Trailhead where Donna was able to pick us up.

After a lunch of burgers, fries and onion rings, and of course a beer, we returned to the cabin and packed up. Rob and Stacy had to return home so they dropped us off at the Holiday Inn at Big Bear Lake.

Donna and I plan on taking a zero day tomorrow. We have to go to the grocery store, resupply and mail some packages forward.

Thanks for following our PCT journey.