Mile 369 - 517!
Wrightwood ended up being an amazing little town where it would have been really easy to spend a couple of days. Luckily for me though, I got out of town at my earliest chance. I was able to get a ride with a couple who dropped a few of us off at a day use picnic area to camp for the night. However, we were dropped off really late, around 10:30/11ish so my usual wake up by 5am probably wasn't going to happen. I let myself sleep in, have a slow morning and got started by 8.
The plan for that day (5/23) was to summit Mt Baden-Powell and then try to push for another bit to end up around 25 miles on the day.
Mt. Baden-Powell was definitely the hardest mountain on trail so far. The trail was 4 miles of constantly steep switchbacks. However, once making it to the top you are rewarded with amazing views that stretch across a bunch of valleys.
On a side note, Mt. Baden- Powell was named after Lord Baden-Powell who founded the Boy Scouts. Being an Eagle scout myself and having spent so much time involved with scouting this was really cool to pay tribute to the man who started it all.
The rest of the day was filled with a lot more climbing than anticipated and another alternate for a fire closure which put us on the road for a few miles.
Day 16, 5/24 started with a bang and anticipation of reaching 400 miles. Most of this day was spent hiking in clouds with not nearly as much climbing leading to a 25 mile day that ended at 4pm.
Day 17, 5/25. The goal for today was to reach the North Fork Ranger station and then hopefully make it to the KOA in Acton. We had reached the ranger station my 12:30 (18 miles) and I was feeling really good. They had snickers and soda for sale at the ranger station, which I of course took part in, and then took off for the KOA only 8 miles down the trail.
Because the next 8 miles was mostly downhill I reached the KOA in two hours leaving me looking at only 10 miles to Agua Dulce. I decided to push on and went for another 9 miles before setting up for the night just outside of Agua Dulce. This was cool because it was my biggest day yet with 35 miles.
On 5/26 I walked into Agua Dulce and immediately jumped for the cafe. For breakfast I had a stack of pancakes, a burrito, toast and orange juice. I then followed that with a pint of ice cream and a soda. Hiker hunger is real.
I then got on the shuttle to Hiker Heaven. A stop for hikers to do laundry, shower, hangout and do basically whatever you need to do. Here, i did my laundry took my second shower of the trip and was able to bounce some stuff to Kennedy Meadows. The Sauffley's who run it are amazing people and have everything down to a science.
To avoid getting trapped in town or "sucked in" as they say, I left town about 4pm and hiked until 7 before setting up camp and watching an amazing sunset.
The next day came and I really just didn't feel into it. My legs weren't as peppy as they normally are and I just couldn't get the motor running. Which, to my surprise turned out to be a great day for that. After hiking 14 miles to the fire station there was a section closed due to fire. Instead of walking the road I used my thumb, making it in three hitches and just about an hour to where I needed to go.
I hiked about 4-6ish more miles that day and set up my tent for the night.
Morning came as fast as the sun went down and I had 19 miles to make it to Hikertown, where I would pick up my next resupply. The first 10 miles ( and passed 500 for the trip!) were through nice rolling hills but the last 9 kicked my butt as the trail dropped out of the forest into the hot sun and plains. I still made it my 12:30 though, and upon arriving picked up my box and paid $10 for an amazing shed all to myself for the night. It came complete with a couch, so I was more than excited.
The rest of the day was spent talking strategy on how to tackle the next section with a 45 mile waterless stretch through the desert coming up.
Today, 5/29, I'm going to my taking my first zero day and laying on this couch as much as possible. My body is telling my it's tired from all these miles and going so fast.
I think I'll do a 2am ish start on Monday to cross the desert floor and walk the aqueduct for 17 miles.
Random tidbits and thoughts: When going to the grocery store make a list, otherwise I always buy everything.
Fresh fruit is still my craving food of choice after hiking. I could definitely go for a big watermelon.
My feet have hardened up quite a bit and are no longer causing me pain, which is great.
Mosquitos showed up in the forest. I'm not sure if I'd rather have shade and it be a little cooler with a swarm of bugs or it be hot and no bugs. Which would you prefer?
My next stop is in Kennedy Meadows, aka the gateway to the Sierra, marking the end of the desert section (Mile 702). I'm really excited to get there but, there's 185 more miles to go before that point.
Thanks for all the support, it really keeps me going! Happy Trails!