This is a very special day for me, finishing my first full month on the trail. I’m also excited because I’m just 150 miles from Kennedy Meadows which is the beginning of the Sierras. The last several days has been spent walking through forests of wind machines in the flat Mojave Desert, sometimes punctuated with steep climbs over abrupt mountain ranges. The weather has been perfect for walking across this section of the desert. Normally this is the hottest and driest section for the Southern PCT but this year has been pleasantly cool and even raining hard at times. Yesterday was so windy that I was blown off the trail several times and last night most the people along the trail crowded into a small gulch to try to escape the wind, only to have their tents blown apart in the middle of the night.
Rocking it down the trail from Ague Dulce to Casa Luna after an awesome night of treats and good company of old friends. My friends, Tom Mulholand, Dr. John and Pierre flew in yesterday to treat me to steak, foot care and a hotel. Awesome! They dropped me at the trailhead refreshed and ready to go. Thanks guys. M
Mile 444 on day 26, it’s great to be back on the trail. After a few stormy days, held up in Wrightwood, I hit the trail again and climbed up over mount Baden Powell in a foot of new snow. Three days of 20+ miles have made up for some of the lost time waiting for the weather to break. Who would have expected several inches of snow in May in the SoCal desert! All is good, my gear is working well and the body is generally fine although my feet are still pretty sore (I promise no more gross photos). My days are pretty much spent in solitude, although there are plenty of people on the trail, hiking today I didn’t see a single other person. Plenty of time to ponder. By the way, thanks for all of your great comments and words of encouragement I do read them all and respond when I have a connection.
I am pinned down in the town of Wrightwood by a freak summer snow storm. It has snowed 5″ today with more on the way tonight and tomorrow. I pushed hard to get to town to pick up my resupply box, only to have the weather fall apart and force me to take a few zero days. Some folks got tired of waiting in town and hiked out, only to return a few hours later feeling lucky to be back. The top of Mt. Baden Powell had wind gusts of 74 mph, 28 degrees and 8″ of snow and rime ice coating everything; Welcome to May in sunny Southern California. Everybody is geared up for the heat and the desert, not for winter weather. Tomorrow is more of the same so it will be a Saturday departure.
Yesterday was an awesome day, I crossed the 300 mile mark and put in a 30 mile day. That felt great and this morning when I woke up I was surprisingly not sore. The 30 I was inspired by my friend, Joe Zamodio who told me about a hot springs that the trail crosses. From my location I could’ve done a 20 mile day and then a 10 mile day to get to the Hot Springs but that seems too short and awkward so I decided to go the distance. The Hot Springs was way worth the walk, a perfect natural pool just deep and 103°. Today I’m doing an easy 20 which seems like a cruise after yesterday.
I am taking what is called a Nero, which is like a zero day meaning 0 miles but you just do a few miles. I did a short hike, 8 miles into big bear and checked into the hostel to regroup and pay attention to my rather sore feet.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve been out of range of any phone signal for quite a while. For the last several days I have put down 20, 20, and 22 miles. It feels good to finally be ramping up the miles although my feet have really paid for it.
My last post was from home a trail angel site called Ziggy and the bear. When I was getting ready to leave it was 97° in the shade by 9:00 am so I delayed my departure hoping it would cool down.
Finally at 2, I decided to leave with my sometimes hiking partner, “Misery.” As we crossed the blazing hot desert a 4 Wheeler came screaming across sage yelling at us. I couldn’t quite understand what he wanted so we stopped and when he approached us he asked “are you thirsty”? In the back of his four wheeler he had three ice chest full of cold beer and soda. This is what is referred to as trail magic.
For the next two days was an endless climb in the oppressive heat, going from 1400 feet to almost 9000. Super long, super hot days, but beautiful nonetheless. I feel like I’m hitting my rhythm and believe that I am capable of going the distance.
Although I’ve had very little issue with the rattlesnakes, a family with a 9 year old girl and 13 year old boy said they saw eight rattlesnakes yesterday. And yes they are going the distance. Although the terrain is difficult and the temperature hot this is still one of my all-time top experiences.
One more thing I want to say is the real hero is Robin who has been amazing, moving our family to Idaho, keeping her business running and supporting my efforts. thank you so much, I love you. More to come later.
Mile 210 on day 11 pushes my average to 19 miles per day, a little better than I was expecting but still feeling good. Yesterday hiking out of Idyllwild, we had snow very early in the day and hiked up through snow above 9000 feet.
Today we hiked all the way down to 1400 feet and we are now definitely in the desert. No shade little water and over 90°.
It’s a strange paradox given that I lost hiker died yesterday on the mountain, they’re searching for the body now.
I’m starting to settle into the rhythm and getting my camping system worked out. If I can just get through the heat of the desert, I feel like the rest will just be a mental exercise of perseverance, I feel like physically I can do it.
Check out the new Interactive Map on the top tab! It shows Dean’s progress on the PCT.