My workbench

My workbench

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lost track of days...

...So here is a rough recap of the past week or two.

I hitched from Ridgecrest down to Mojave, where I caught a ride to HWY 58 and begun to hike again. I hiked the 8 miles to Tiger Tank (water!), where I camped in EXTREME wind. Must have been 60MPH or higher; when I was hiking, I was leaning into the wind many degrees.

The next day, I pushed on through a burn area of the southern Tehachapi mountains, making it to Tylerhorse Canyon midday for water and a relaxing drink. Wind, once again, awoke me, and I decided to move on. Of course, I was still without maps, and quickly got lost on the exit of the canyon. I decided to simply walk south, knowing that I would have to hit the Aqueduct (or some form of road). I had four liters of water, and was not worried. Three miles or so of bushwhacking later, I found a dececently graded dirt road and began walking it; all roads lead somewhere, and the mountains behind me were not terribly promising. Soon enough, a rancher drove by and picked me up, driving me the mile and a half to the aqueduct where the road I was on let out. Back on trail! I re-uped at a water cache under some shade, and met Willy and Adam there (while I was writing). They told me that Hikertown was a mere 16 mile flat hike away, and it was very easy. I departed a few minutes later, determined to make it. The time was 4:30PM.
I fast-hiked until 9PM or so, and lost the trail in the darkness (and road). I camped, figuring that I would find it the next day. Little did I know, I was less than a half mile away...

I awoke the next morning to continue hiking south, quicklying hitting Rt 138. I knew that both hikertown and Gil's Store were on this road, and as I had no passed either, nor the trail, I turned east. Within 5 minutes of hiking, at probably 6 in the morning, I was at Hikertown!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I hate southern california

The title says it all. I am currently [back] in Mojave, heading to Walker Pass, about to enter the Sierras. I should be able to write more in 2 days or so...

Monday, May 25, 2009

A rough timeline

So i totally forgot about the PCT planner. Here is a ROUGH timeline:
Onyx (start) 5-26-09
Onyx to Kennedy Meadows 25.2 3580 49.2 7003 2.0 5-27-09
Kennedy Meadows to Independence 20.8 3399 87.4 14287 4.2 6-01-09
Independence to Vermillion Valley Resort 24.1 4111 86.9 14841 3.6 6-04-09
Vermillion Valley Resort to Red's Meadow 12.8 1949 29.4 4484 2.3 6-07-09
Red's Meadow to Sonora Pass 24.9 3728 112.5 16876 4.5 6-11-09
Sonora Pass to Echo Lake Resort 19.9 1994 76.2 7635 3.8 6-15-09
Echo Lake Resort to Soda Spr. / Pooh Corner 25.9 3214 60.7 7536 2.3 6-17-09
Soda Spr. / Pooh Corner to Belden 26.7 2830 133.1 14126 5.0 6-22-09
Belden to Old Station 26.2 3048 88.4 10275 3.4 6-26-09
Old Station to Castella 28.2 2071 128.8 9457 4.6 6-30-09
Castella to Etna 20.9 2333 99.8 11144 4.8 7-05-09
Etna to Seiad Valley 28.2 2077 56.8 4185 2.0 7-07-09
Seiad Valley to Ashland 24.7 3824 64.5 10002 2.6 7-10-09
Ashland to Crater Lake Post Office 21.6 2029 105.4 9883 4.9 7-14-09
Crater Lake Post Office to Cascade Summit 27.9 2233 79.6 6376 2.9 7-17-09
Cascade Summit to Sisters 27.4 2452 77.1 6891 2.8 7-20-09
Sisters to Ollalie Lake Guard Station 26.2 3084 63.7 7510 2.4 7-23-09
Ollalie Lake Guard Station to Cascade Locks 21.8 1890 103.4 8985 4.8 7-27-09
Cascade Locks to Trout Lake 24.9 3716 82.9 12385 3.3 7-31-09
Trout Lake to White Pass 25.7 3327 65.2 8452 2.5 8-02-09
White Pass to Snoqualime Pass 21.4 1959 98.6 9025 4.6 8-07-09
Snoqualime Pass to Skykomish 18.0 3243 74.5 13420 4.1 8-11-09
Skykomish to Stehekin 24.1 4115 97.8 16720 4.1 8-15-09
Stehekin to Manning Park 25.1 3598 88.8 12723 3.5 8-19-09

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 2/3

Day 2 started off with a bit of tea, my first warm drink in a while. I don't think I've lit my stove since Oregon, a week or two back. A water refill from the spring and some oatmeal later, and I was off on the trail!
This area was pretty nice, passing through pine and oak forests, a few streams, and one very recent (last year?) burn area. Beautiful and breathtaking. At lunch, I decided to crash out and let my food settle a bit. This turned out to be a great idea, as I was woken up by none other than Eric D flying uptrail. I quickly gathered my gear and hiked with Eric for a few miles to the Kelso Road water cache. Well, I caught up with him there after I stopped to pull some rocks out of my boot.

After kelso road, I let Eric pull out ahead. He was going to push 30+ miles for the day, I planned an easy 25. This would get me 2 miles offtrail, but at a spring where I would camp the night. UNfortunately, I missed the road turnoff, and by the time I realized I had overshot, I was 2 miles beyond the turn. So that's a 4 mile backtrack, or 5.5 miles ahead to the next water cache. With 3/4 liter of water. Realizing that I had just drank one liter in the 6 prior miles, I pushed ahead. Darkness fell, and still I persevered. I made it to the water cache area to the surprise of Eric, whom promptly exclaimed "Man Stove [my trailname] you are IN-sane!" Bone dry and dog tired, I crashed out right there. 33 miles straight into darkness, I was happy to sleep.

Day 3 was a relatively short day. I woke up 15 minutes after Eric, and never saw him again. Days later I was to learn that he is legendary, one of the fastest hikers out here. Wow!
The climb out of the water cache wasn't too bad, despite a 3000' switchbacked ascent. This would take me to the highest point until my destination, Walker Pass, and so I was delighted. I stopped near the top to eat some instant mashed as breakfast, and banged out some 15 miles through another mixture of forest and burn area. McIvers spring, some 15 or so miles from my campsite, was my water re-supply destination. I found the spring, along with a comfy chair and table (70 miles without a cushioned chair. What a luxury!), and made some Ramen on my stove. A mere 7.5 miles lay between McIvers spring and Walker Pass.
The hike out was relatively painless, although the end did drag on, and on, and on, for quite a while. I eventually made it, hit Rt 178, and promptly (20 min?) got a lift all the way into Ridgecrest.

What a sh*thole. Adjacent to Death Valley, this poor excuse for a 'city' was the epitome of suburban sprawl. Despite the financial disasters plauging this state, they are refitting ALL of their schools AND hospital, meaning all of the motels are taken. I managed to get a room to the tune of $88, but it had a shower, toilet, and a bed. What luxury! A quick dinner of salad, and I was off to bed, after watching a bit of Tv (what a waste of time). Here I was to end day 3.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 0/1

Day O: As I adjusted the straps on my pack for the thousandth time, I looked ahead at the PCT trail marker showing the entrance to the trail. I watched RJ pull away, having redirected me from old town Tehachapi to the Cameron Road exit of RT 58, a jump-off point for the PCT. I was started!
Two miles later, I began to climb. My first instance of Trail Magic appeared in the form of an arrow created with rocks, pointing to a cache of water bottles and V8 vegetable juice behind an bush. I guiltily grabbed both a 16 oz bottle of water (quickly chugged, and used to store my alcohol/fuel), and a v8. The rest of the afternoon was spent climbing the ridge against the wind, until the sun was just barely setting and I had found a stand of trees able to provide a bit of shelter against the raging Mojave wind.
That night, the nearly full moon was so bright I thought someone had turned on a spotlight. I was so nervous about the trail I refused to nighthike, as had been my plan. Instead, I attempted to sleep despite the blazing light shining into my eyes and the wind blowing steadily across the ridge. Suffice to say, I did not sleep very well.
Day 1: I got dressed, skipped breakfast, packed up, and was off! Footprints preceded me, showing the path I was to follow. The wind was blowing steadily, and naturally I found a much better, less wind-prone and shadier campsite not 100 feet uptrail. Oops, a lesson learned. Soon enough, I stopped for some cold oatmeal, non-instant as I had been given in SLO. With a bit of brown sugar and honey, it tasted fine to me. I saw a black bear not 20 minutes later, quick enough that I was able to glance up as he scampered away. not 24 hours on the trail, and my first bear. Hopefully this would not be a recurring theme.
After a few missteps and some confusion, I completed my first 18 miles of the PCT, at Golden Oak Spring. I filled up on water, took care of some business, and took a short nap. I woke to find a tick on my leg, and decided to pack up and keep moving. My next goal was again 18 miles away, making for a 26-28 mile day on my first full day. 18 miles later, I would find a spring, which meant water, which in the desert, means safety. I pushed on.
Hours and miles later, I felt faint. I dropped my pack, unrolled my bedroll directly on the trail, and lay down. I had a number of dreams, including quitting the trail with less than 20 miles to my credit, and awoke. I nibbled a bit of chocolate, drank some water, and departed. I pushed out another 8 miles and made it to the spring. I was so tired I was unable to start a fire, too tired to light my stove, and therefore ate a tuna wrap in darkness and went to sleep. I had completed 32 miles, and was proud of myself.

More to come later...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Journal Entries forthcomming

When it isn't so hot indoors, I wil be posting my journal updates for the first few days/hundred miles of the PCT. It's too hot to do right now, as I've written down a fair amount.

Currently I am staying at Hikertown, in Lancaster, CA. I'm helping to build a new Hiker dorm, so it's a worthwhile endeavor. That means that I won't be seeing a bit of the pack as they get here, but it is nice to stay in one place with hikers and interesting folk, meeting hikers as they pass and helping around (cooking, building, demolishing, etc). I need to call home to check in...

I've decided that I will carry a CAMP Corsa 50cm ice axe with me through the sierras, because I am going to start earlier than normal. Suck it, weaklings. Everyone seems to be afraid of a little snow...

I am also going to print out the halfmile maps, because I will be navigating through snowfields.

That's all for now folks!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


80 miles, 3 days. Stil alive, will post more when I have time.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Still not on the trail, but that certainly doesn't mean that I'm not staying active! I've been hanging out in SLO, crashing on the couch or in the back yard (ahh a place where it rarely rains!), and having some wicked fun. In the past few days I've biked 50 or so miles, helped out in a beach cleanup, eaten a BUNCH of food, tried some good beer and wine, hiked around the beach hills, and went surfing (kindasorta) yesterday. We're going to be going climbing, and then probably to a drive-in movie tonight! There are so many things to do around here, it's ridiculous. I can easily see this becoming a Belgrade; I might actually want to stay, however. I've been meeting some hella cool people, and there are opportunities for pretty much everything around here.

In the next few days, I REALLY need to get out on the trail. Not so much for the sake of time so much as the longer I stay OFF the trail, the more things I am finding myself interested in doing.

So my current plan is (SOMETIME): Amtrak to Bakersfield ($27), hitch RT 58 to Tehachapi, and start hiking NORTH. Around the 16th, get off the trail and hitch SOUTH down 395 to get to Agua DUlce. I should be ablet o get there on the 17th, 18ths early at the latest. Then I will meet mom, go for a lil hike, help her get back to LAX, and then hitch BACK up 395 to resume wherever I left off. In 10 days or so I fully DO NOT expect to get to KM, but I can make a significant dent in sections D and E of the SoCal PCT.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Last night was fun, and more than a little eventful. For some reason, when I arrived in San Luis Obpismo and tried to call Kat from a payphone, I got some janked error. Go figure, so I decided to walk from where the bus dropped me off, down 40 suburban blocks to the house. I was unable to find it, and of course again unable to call Kat's phone. I called parents, got them to relay a message, and went into the store. They, of course, let me use their phone, and I got ahold of Kat, whom showed up nearly immediately and picked me up. Now, of course, I am at Broad House in SLO, hanging out for a little while. We were supposed to go surfing hella early this morning, but I slept in (I may not have been the only one), and later we are supposed to be going biking.

Max *JUST* got back to me with info about the DIY Festival, I'm really not too stoked to go, but I may head down into the area. Need to make that call today-ish, as it runs saturday and sunday.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Northern California

So, here's a filtered and sbridged version of my trip down the northern and central california coast.

I got a lift out of Arcata after waiting for two other kids to get a lift. Beverly, a cute late 20-s woman in a pickup drove me down to Eureka. I ate a chicken salad and had two beers at a local brewpub, and then proceeded to walk the 3 miles or so out of town to the 101. A guy (cannot recall his name!) actually stopped to pick me up BEFORE I even put out my thumb; he recognized me as a hitch-hiker from his past travels. He dropped me at what he would have considered a good spot in Rio Dell; I ended up walkng a few miles, hitching back in the opposite direction with a guy whom didn't seem to be all there (likely baked), and got dropped on the non-freeway portion of the 101. I stuck around there for a little while (30 min? 45? maybe), until I got picked up again by a gent who's name I cannot recall. He actually drove me all the way through Avenue of the Giants, the bypass road through Redwood forest. It was AMAZING! Beautiful! Gorgeous! I then spent the night almost exactly where he had dropped me, as I was too tired to even do a real search. I woke up in Garberville in a huge bank of fog.

This next morning, I illegally walked directly on to the 101 and down a mile or so until I could find a good spot for hitching out. A few CHP officers drove past in the opposite direction with no repercussions, so I felt safe in hitching from my pull-out. I made some oatmeal in my cup with the alky stove, ate it down, and then resumed hitching. My next ride was again an old hitcher and hippy, whom had reformed himself into a totally clean and sober gent and ran the whole family thing. He said he enjoyed it, while enjoying reminiscing about the old days on the road. He (Gary?) dropped me on the side of the 101 right before it became Freeway again, wishing me luck as I wished him a safe drive home. An older woman, whom did not reveal her name when I introduced myself, gave me a lift to the outskirts of Ukiah, where I stood for again perhaps 30 minutes until I was picked up by Telly. She gave me a lift ALL the way in to downtown San Francisco from Ukiah, where I hung out, and after some miscommunication I grabbed a train down to San Jose, where I camped the night.

More later, as usual.