Wonderful sleep on the top bunk, most of which was on my back. Side sleeping has always been my game, but apparently I'm crossing over to the world of back sleepers. Hopped out of bed and went downstairs for a spectacular meal of masterfully boiled eggs and croissants....these guys at the Hostel are really sweet and really did put in a lot of effort to make us comfortable and happy.
The vibe was frantic in the old lodge while hikers were running around preparing themselves for the ride out to the trail. We had slack-packed the day before so we offered to be the pack transporters for the people that were slack-packing to where we were starting for the day. The road was rough, the mini-van was tough, and the driver was skilled. One of the owners of the hostel, James, gave us and all of the packs a ride to the trail up a dirt road he had never been on before. This hostel has only been open a month or so and they are really making an impression on us thru-hikers, love those guys.
After the crew caught up with us we all trickled out on to the trail to begin the marvelous dance of figuring eachother's paces out. I hiked with Lost N Found for a bit and we discussed healthy communication techniques. His achilles' tendon was hurting him so his pace was a little hard to hang with for too long. Unfortunately, we heard that he had to come off the trail later because his Achilles hurt so bad. He is resting in Big Bear now and we hope to see him after a quick recovery soon!
Most of the day was spent by myself with wandering day dreams and jammy pack tunes to keep me company. I loved the time to myself and spent it in deep thought about the cosmos most of the time. It was only a few hours, but it felt so good to be reunited with Glitter Bug at the end of the day, it felt like days since I had seen her. She stayed behind with the girls and chatted most of the day.
When we all reached camp we were left with Side Show, The Bird, Auto, Gadget, That Guy, Camelita, and Shuffle. It's a wonderful crew and we love spending time with them all. It feels good to be with a tribe after lots of time with just the three of us. Glitter Bug and I discussed our anxiety over the slower pace of this group and alternative plans for if we want to return to our normal pace. We aren't in any rush, but we do, ultimately, want to get to Canada before the snow starts to fall so we have to keep that in mind when setting our over all pace. As long as the smiles keep shinin, all will work out fine.
It was another amazing day to be alive and living the dream!
Soundtrack: Boombox delight!
Discomforts: my heal hurts! The shoes help though
Gratitudes: an amazing, strong partner. A resilient body. Good hiker trash friends.
Ah, the beautiful sound of water!!! We woke up to the sound of water flowing, birds chirping and the sun shining, it was glorious.
The crew all camped together last night so we all gathered this morning and discussed our plan for the day. Some are nursing injuries so they had a later start. Bird took a spill yesterday, rolling his ankle and messing up his knee, while Sideshow is taking it easy with a hurt achilles. So, Boombox and I headed out for the day and planned to meet everyone a bit later.
We hiked along a stream for a bit and then along the Mojave River. It is so amazing to be around water after being in the desert for a while. The rocks around the river are unbelievable, and there are so many perfect swimming holes. We stopped for a bit under one of the bridges and cooled off in the water.
Before side hilling to our final destination tonight, we crossed a "seasonal stream" that was dry. Luckily, or unluckily, we didn't have to go on an adventure to climb down the cliffs to the river to get some water because we walked a bit further and found another stream.
We saw Auto and That Guy a few hours ago and it seems like the crew is a bit behind us again but we shall carry on tomorrow! We only have enough food for 4 days of hiking to Wrightwood.
Boombox and I had a sweet night camped up on a hill with the river in the distance and moon shining bright above us, things are goooood.
Weather: beautiful! 80s and sunny
Wildlife: rattle snake, other snakes, lizards
News: we passed the 300 mile mark today!
Discomforts: nothing! Seth's foot is better with his new shoes.
Mistakes: kicking a huge pinecone like a soccer ball= big bruise on my foot :(
Soundtrack: playlist shuffle.....
Oh what a day! We woke up to the sounds of a desert swamp with smiles on our faces. We are hiking down the deep creek canyon and there is so much life! It's amazing how much water is in this canyon in the middle of the desert. The creek we camped next too has lots of frogs and crickets and birds that create an orchestra of beautiful desert music once the winds die down. We packed up quick and hit the trail with our pal Gadget, then we ate a wonderful breakfast under the rainbow bridge by deep creek.
A few short miles later and we were at the deep creek hot springs. We heard that the weekend attracts a lot of partying peeps around this hot springs so we steered clear of it the night before. We stopped in to check it out and it was beautiful. All the ragers from the night before had mostly cleared out already so we hung around and chatted with a few mellow heads. We had read a forest service advisory that the hot springs had parasites and potentially meningitis!!! YIPES! And even though the people we chatted with had been soaking in the springs for 5 years without any problems, we decided there would be other hot springs further down the trail.
Our pace was quick and light in the later part of the morning and we made it to our lunch spot after exiting the canyon. The afternoon was mostly spent perfecting my pole dancing moves and levitating over the manzanita. The playlist was HOT and we crushed the 7 miles to the road before the trail climbed up to silver wood lake.
We talked to a local earlier in the day and she recommended that we go eat at the sushi/Korean resteraunt by silver wood lake. We smiled and nodded all the while thinking you would have to be nuts to eat at a sushi resteraunt out here in the middle of nowhere! Why is there a sushi resteraunt out here any way? Gadget talked about the idea the rest of the day and by the time we hit the road, Glitter Bug and I were convinced. I don't think I have made such a great decision in my life!
We got a ride within 10 minutes with a guy that drove some turbo something or other and before we knew it we were sipping sake and eating sushi and Korean BBQ. We got a huge spread and the food was amazing! We were so suprised at how good it all was, it was literaly the only establishment for miles and miles. The sushi chef has apprently been in the sushi business for over 30 years and they get fresh fish twice a weeks from LA. This one is going to be remembered. As Gadget always says "smiles before miles".
We got a ride within a few seconds with some friendly folks that work around big bear at a youth camp and we smashed the last 4 miles to camp while run-hiking from the swarms of nats that were surrounding the lake. We camped at a boat- camp that had no trail to it. We had to bush wack down to it and it was lovely. We camped right on the water and fell asleep to the sounds of big fish jumping. We love our friend Gadget and we are so grateful for his inspiration! Another great day!
Food: what!?!! Sushi and Korean BBQ
Soundtrack: BOOMbox delight
Thoughts: pole dancing while hiking is the next transcendental practice of our era. Sometimes I get into these trances while hiking where my legs become one block of dead weight and it almost feels as though my upper body is detached, floating weightless an separate from my lower half. In these moments my legs go on working without my mind propelling them or my effort, they are their own seperatded machine. That is where the magic and glory of pole dancing takes place. Without havin to focus on my step my upper body is free to get down with the groove of my tunes. Love it!
Sleeping near the lake last night was so great!! I awoke to the bright orange sunrise reflecting on the lake while fish jumped around like crazy. Most mornings we aren't able to see the sunrise because it's behind mountains but this morning was perfect!
It was a bit of a slow morning but once we had our breakfast stop we were able to get in the groove.
Boombox and I hiked a bit of the day alone for the first time in a while which was nice. The morning started in green lush terrain by the lake and went back into super dry desert as the day went on.
We've been hearing about a McDonalds in the middle of no where and today we reached it...Most hikers stop in Cajon Pass and load up McDonalds before the ascent to Wrightwood. Seth and I have not had McDonalds or any fast food for many years and we were fighting internal battles about going today after hiking 16 miles in extreme heat in the desert. We could smell the food from a half mile away and then we saw the billboard "Quench Your Thirst $.99 32 oz soda".... After a discussion about food ethics, I was the one that was pushing for us to go there and just get a damn Reese's McFlurry. I mean, really!!! It was hot and I had been dreaming about ice cream for a while.
So into McDs we went. We saw so many of our stinky hiker friends in there eating feasts. We enjoyed our mcFlurrys and quickly left.
After getting some snacks, we headed out to hike about 5 more miles. About .25 miles in, after walking through a tunnel, we came aross some trail magic! 30 Pack and Outburst dropped off some cold Keystones for hikers to enjoy.
5 miles in and we were ready to set up camp. Gadget, Liz, Jay, Windsong, and Pinecone all camped near us. The sun was setting, the moon was bright and we were excited to cowboy camp and play cards with Windsong and Pinecone. I won the game and happily went to sleep.
Soundtrack: playlist shuffle........
Mistakes: eating McDonalds McFlurry, made my stomach upset! Too much dairy or something. :(
News: Boombox is perfecting his (trekking) pole dancing and it's hilarious.
We woke up in a sandy wash about five miles past Cajon Pass. The climb started right off the bat as we began our ascent for the day. This climb has been all the buzz for the last couple days on the trail and we have been anticipating it with excitement. The trail was very moderately graded, as always, and it felt great to work the climbing muscles. After our energy bomb of a breakfast, the pace quickened and it felt as if we were levitating above the trail and the earth sped along on it's rotation below us, all we had to do was turn this way and that to follow the trail. We had to cautiously maneuver our way through some Poodle Dog Bush that was crowding the trail through a burn section. It was a meticulous, delicate dance of dodging the sticky poisonous plant. We managed to make it through the mile section without brushing it....I hope. Apparently Poodle Dog Bush causes extremely bad itchy blisters that can easily get infected. Yuck!
Once we began to feel the fatigue from the depletion of calories and our steps began to make contact with the sandy soil once more, we were in need of a break. Just in time we turn a corner and there is a red truck with a shade tent set up next to it and all of our friends relaxing in comfy camp chairs. We were greeted by Band Aide with cold beers and candy bars and we sank into the shade with grateful sighs from our bodies. Band Aide kept feeding us goodies and making sure our beer hand was never empty. Hot dogs and burgers were grilled, the burgers and hotdogs were quickly devoured, shade was enjoyed, songs were sung, and smiles were smiled. THANK YOU BAND AIDE!!!
Before we could have too many beers we decided to move on another 10 miles for camp. Pinecone walked with Glitter Bug and I the rest of the day and we were joined by her partner, Wind Song, down the trail. What wonderful ladies and wonderful convos on the last leg of our hike for the day. We dry-shredded the slopes of some closed ski resort on our decent to camp. I had a lot of thoughts about our current fast food situation in our country that is slowly spreading like a disease around the world. I formulated and wrote a little rant about the fast food industry and other concerns before I went to bed.
Gadget decided to push the last couple miles to the highway and hitch into wrightwood because he left his pants behind at the last campsite. He ended up walked most of the five miles down the highway to wrightwood....big day for him. He left me his pad since mine has holes and is getting fixed right now, THANK YOU GO GO GADGET! What an amazing day full of friends and great memories!
Gratitude: trail friends and trail talks. Trail angels and trail magic!
Soundtrack: still trying to finish the Boombox playlist...it's very long.
Miles: 367-369 --- nearo into Wrightwood
Two miles felt like a nice morning stroll this morning! The wind also blew me off the mountain but besides that, it was wonderful.
Boombox and I got to Inspiration Point at about 745 am. Shortly after, Flash, Roadkill, The Monster, Shrek, Pinecone, Windsong, and Buttons all joined us in the highway pull off to wait for a ride. The road was dead and all I could think about was the supposed phenomanial breakfast at the Evergreen cafe which was 6 miles down the road in Wrightwood. Finally, Mermaid was getting dropped off at the trail and 6 of us were able to catch a ride with her husband, Johnny, down to Wrightwood.
Town days are always so interesting. I get anxious thinking about everything I have to do. go to grocery store to resupply. Go to Post Office. Find a place to shower. Do laundry. So much to do and so little time. While eating breakfast, I started to think about everything that needs to get done and got antsy to finish up and get it done.
Once I showered I felt like a new person. Seriously. Who knew that showers could be so magical?
Resupplying in Wrightwood was a mistake... we heard it was a great place to shop at so we didnt send a box. Shopping for 4.5 worth of food was $109!!!! are you kidding??!?! And we even got super cheap shitty food.
We lined up a ride with a man named Hal that we met at the store. Our plan was to leave at 530 and hike a few miles. But, of course, we got sucked into the town and ended up enjoying a lovely night at the cafe and then the Mexican restaurant with our friends Tracks, Pinecone and Windsong. Worth it.
food: breakfast at the Evergreen- biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs, french toast. Pizza at the Yodler! Margaritas at the Mexican place... delicious.
We got out of wrightwood in good time after our sleep at the summer camp. Coffee in the morning was wonderful and the hitch was easy. We got a ride from a retired gas station owner who was on her way to go on a hike with friends. She was a sweet lady and we ended up seeing her on the trail later.
As we approached the saddle where the trail began its ascent up Baden-Powell, we could see a LA sheriff's helicopter circling around the peak an a few cop cars in the parking lot. Our imaginations began to run wild as we quickened our step to find out what was happening. We found out that a hiker that we had met the day before that goes by the name of Shrek has been missing since 7:30 PM last night! Paha had seen him and they were going to meet at a trail junction just up the trail. When Paha got there, only Shrek's pack remained. Paha waited by the pack all night and there was still no sign of him the next morning. The police were called early this morning and they have been searching for him ever since. We talked to the police and to Paha once we ascended to his location and there were many different concerns and guesses as to what happened to him. Shrek is known as being kind of a crazy guy on trail so my guess is that he just went for a stroll and didn't want any of his gear any more. He did leave his cell phone in a hiker box in Wrightwood and is somewhat of a minimalist. We hope he is safe and we are thinking positive thoughts!
The climb up Baden-Powell was very enjoyable. I was able to tap into a great rhythm with my breath and my step and we made it to the top in no time. I love the meditation of hiking up peaks. We had a good conversation with a retired grocery store manager about food politics and discussed Shrek's whereabouts. After lunch on the peak we hiked with Sparkle Plenty and The Flash until we reach a beautiful camp on the ridge over looking LA. Before we hit camp I almost passed out from lack of calories, I need to remember to eat constantly. We played FYB with Sparkle Plenty and The Flash after a fine dinner complete with boxes wine and a stunning sunset. Sparkle Plenty and The Flash are great company and we look forward to seeing them on our journey North.
Cascade (thermarest) sent me a replacement pad and I used it for the first time tonight.....it has a hole! Hahahah! Oh well, I will try to patch it tomorrow. What a beautiful life!
Food: rice jambalaya with jerky and mashed potatoes......not the best, but it felt good to eat anything. And the wine made it all good.
No music today
Feeling fortunate for the life we lead.