Sunday, May 25, 2008

small update

Sorry about the lack of info/details on the last few posts, the computer in Mohave was crazy slow- and now there are no computers for weeks, so I've mailed these updates to my sister. Thanks again Chels! You're the best sister in the whole world! (Even though they are just now being added! Ooops.) I'll add pictures to these posts hopefully from Independence around June 7.

Stuff I forgot to mention:
We have been carrying Marmot Precip rain jackets since we started and have not used them once, haven't even thought about the extra 11oz....until Day 34, 518 miles north of Mexico! Many people don't even carry raingear until Washington State, but it was chilly and we were glad we had them as extra wind protection.
Also, when we left the Saufleys, I put on my trailshoes after not wearing them for 3 days and they didn't fit! My feet were so swollen! So, I had to call Campmor and order another pair of shoes 1/2 size bigger to be sent to Kennedy Meadows.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 34 Thurs May 22

Hiking by 0615, about 7 miles over to Highway 138 where we found "Hikertown". A cute little place with old western looking buildings (another place that lets hikers stay) We left our backpacks there and walked the 1 mile down the road to a store and bought a big ole sandwich for lunch. Chief, Wasa, Neighbor and I. Went back to hikertown and relaxed in the shade for a bit, then started the flat walking along the aqueduct. Walked about 11 miles of 100% flat walking and saw mountain lion tracks alongside of the road! Exciting stuff! We also ran into Squatch (guy who makes PCT videos) and he interviewed The Chief and Neighbor..........I have a feeling that Neighbor is going to make the next video.....for some reason!!!!

Day 33 Wed May 21

We woke up to something wet dripping from the tree above our heads, then Neighbor had to chase a skunk away, so we finally just got up! Made it to the top of the ridge and the wind hit us in full force! If it isn't hot or cold out's WINDY! Today was one of those windy days! We walked through an area of pink flowers, widely spaced trees and meadows today that reminded us of the Smokies on the AT. Hiked about 23.5 miles in the end. Tried to find a safe place to camp where a tree wouldn't fall on us during the night in all the WIND!

Hit the 500 mile mark today!

Day 23 Tues May 20

Up at 5am and started walking before the heat of the day really started cranking up! Beautiful sunrise! Neighbor saw a taranturla (big hairy scary spider with a name that I can't spell) and the guy hiking behind us took a picture of it! It was scary! Hiked about 17 miles by noon and then caught a ride to the Anderson's "Casa de Luna" (another family of trail angels that let's hikers stay at their house!!) We stayed about 4 hours, took a nap, ate one of our dinner's for lunch, then Terri came home and took our pictures in front of the big "Casa de Luna" poster.......and we found out why it's called Casa de our picture was being taken........Terri mooned us! :) Hence the name! It was pretty funny, then she gave us a ride back to the trail around 4pm and we started walking again. Made it another 8 miles in the afternoon and tented under a big tree.

The rest of our day at the Saufley's

Ahhhhh, how we hated to leave the Saufley's! We hung out as long as we could and eventually left around 4:30 in the afternoon and walked downtown to get some dinner before leaving town. The Pizza place and Cafe were closed, so it was back to the Mexican place for us! We started walking out of town at 6:30pm and Neighbor's watch read 97 degrees! Good thing we waited the heat out! Ahhhh! Anyway, we walked by full moonlight until 10pm, it was kinda cool...........until I heard something move in the bushes! Eeeeeek! Got 8 miles of walking in and called it quits for the night. The Chief continued on.........

Monday, May 19, 2008

decision has been made!

North into the desert we go.
We will leave around 4pm (when it gets cooler) and see how far we make it. It is 24 miles to the Anderson's (more trail angels on the trail!!) The Chief is thinking of night hiking it! Full moon tonight, so it would be the time to try it........I'm scared!
Hikers are coming in here by the truckload! Folks we haven't seen in days, some weeks!
Irish, Poptart, Blue butterfly, One step, Sweetfish, many others that we don't know. It's time for us to move on!

Monday May 19th

Still here at the Saufley''s going to be difficult to leave all of this, I guess that is why they call it Hiker Heaven! I'm sitting on a couch in air conditioning, eating cookies and cream ice cream and outside the window is a dry, hot, not so inviting desert waiting for us. We went to the Post Office this morning and mailed out our bear cannisters, ice axes and another box of "stuff" to Kennedy Meadows, some food to Independence, some stuff back home, a tent fly back to MSR, paperwork to Priscilla, and a few postcards! On the way back, we saw Low Bridge and Dandy in town! Yeah, so now we will figure out if we'll all go back to hike those missing 39 miles of trail! Tempting, knowing there is nice cold snow on the mountain we will hike down there! :) I saved all of the last stretch of photos onto our jump drive without any help this time! (that's a first) And I will try to get more pictures of us for this site. Chief has the best photos of us on his site (I don't even have to take any pictures, he takes so many!!!) Ok, going to break into the watermelon that Stinky and Chris left for us and figure out if we are going north or south from here!!!
Here's a video of the thru-hikers putting up tent accomadations at the Saufleys, in it I'm trying to console the Great Cheif-Chi-Hua-Hua Rainbowtoes because his LA Lakers are about to lose the NBA championship to the greatest team on earth

Sunday, May 18, 2008

360 view from summit of Baden-Powell

here is a link to the video (quick 40 seconds) of the view from the summit of Baden-Powell by the Chief! You see Neighbor at first, then the view, then the smoke from the fire by Mt. Baldy, then me coming up to the summit :)
me hiking up baden-powell (one of the Chief's pictures) I think you might have to click on the little box and it will link you to the Chief's website, still getting fancy with this thing!!!!

Day 30 Sunday May 18

No miles hiked today! A "zero day" :) We organized a massive amount of food though, so it wasn't exactly a rest day! Figured out what food we needed for the next 100 miles to Mojave and figured out what food we need for the first 113 miles of the Sierra's (from Kennedy Meadows to Kearsarge Pass) including the extra mileage that we'll do to summit Mt. Whitney (the highest peak in the lower 48) :) It is very close to the trail and just too beautiful to pass by (unless there is really bad weather) We fit the 113 miles of food into 2 bear cannisters (which we have to carry to keep the bears from eating our food) Overall a good day at the Saufley's! We just rode the bikes down to the store and got some cereal and milk for dinner (too hot to cook) and then some ice cream for later...... Oh, and we just heard that the 39 miles of trail we missed opened back up yesterday, so we are contemplating renting a car and driving back down to hike those miles and put it all behind us.......but Low Bridge and Dandy wanted to go with us and they are not here quite yet.....maybe they will show up later tonight and we can form a plan! It would be great to go hike Mt. San Jacinto and enjoy the SNOW up there instead of heading into the Mojave desert in record breaking high temps, but we'll see!

Day 29 Sat May 17

Up for 0530 and walking the remaining 3.5 miles to town! I put on my clean short sleeved shirt for the walk in, what a great feeling being in short sleeves! (the sun wasn't up yet, so I couldn't burn to a crisp) Walked past Valquez Rocks (I guess these rocks are famous for being in some old Western movies) We were at the Saufley's house by 7am and signed up for a shower! Then we put our dirty clothes in a basket and L-Rod does all the laundry! Yeah! They have quite the system here and it's great! Found our many boxes in the garage (everyone's in alphbetical order) Wow! Our ice axes made it in once piece! (we will mail them ahead to the Sierra's from here) and 2 boxes of food and stuff that we'll probably need for the Sierra's AND a care package from Gram and Grampa Kingsbury with trail necessities and real homeade cookies in it! (our first homeade cookies on the trail) Priscilla "tried" to pass her cookies off as homeade........nice try! :) And a care package from our friend Yappy (AT 2005 friend who lives in Alaska) filled with all kinds of good trail goodies and a 3 pound bag of M&M's (which we are eating now) And just in was a whole case of granola bars from Linda from work and Peter (who wants to make sure we are having FUN.....and we are!!) Thanks guys! And a letter from Grammy Peg (who recently figured out how to get to and read this blog!!! Good for you Gram and hello!!) After going through all of that, we signed up for the morning trip to REI (we need some new shoes for the Sierras) and grocery store. So, there were 8 of us hikers piled into this massive suburban and Neighbor was driving and off to LA we went! Ahhhhh! What an experience! The REI didn't have the shoes we were looking for, so we tried one other store, then went grocery shopping, then after all that headed back to the Saufley's. With traffic and everything, it took almost all day. As we were pulling off the highway, we get pulled over! Neighbor didn't have a seatbelt on and it is a California law, then the cop realized that there were 4 of us in the middle section of the vehicle (guess there were only seats for 3 I jumped in the back) after all that, he just gave us a verbal warning, phewwww! What a day! Then we get back and who is there, but Stinkyfeet and Chris! Wow! What a fun suprise! We got to visit for a few hours and go out to dinner (Mexican)! They brought freshly picked strawberries, beer, watermelon, cherries and all kinds of good trail electrolyte replacement tablets for us to survive the desert!!! Thanks again guys!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Day 29 Sat May 17

Up for 0530 and hiking the 3.5 miles into Agua Dulce! Yeah, finally here! Warm morning and I actually hiked in my t-shirt for once (sun wasn't up yet) Got to town, cafe wasn't open yet, so we just headed up to the Saufley's (super nice family that let's hikers stay with them and 100% helps you out in anyway possible) So, by 7am we were at their place and signed up for a shower and put our laundry in the basket to be cleaned! Yeah, went to the garage and picked up our many packages! Some we expected, others were a great suprise! Our ice axes made it (we'll mail them up ahead to the Sierra's), our new tent fly made it, our 2 boxes of maps, dehydrated food and other stuff made it! A great care package from Gram and Grampa (with REAL homeade cookies in it! Our first homeade cookies, though Priscilla "tried" to pass her cookies off as homeade) Another package from Yappy (AT friend from 2005 who lives in Alaska) with all kinda of fun trail food, a letter from my Grammy Peg (who just recently found this website, she's a computer genius now!!) Hi gram! And just in the mail today is a package of trail bars from Linda from work and Peter! Thank you so much......and yes, we are having FUN! :) After all of that, we signed up to take the family surburban into the city to REI and go food shopping at a less expensive store. So, 8 of us piled into this beast of a vehicle and went to Los Angeles! Wow, going fast on the highway was a weird feeling, esp for Neighbor who was driving! Got our errands done without too much hassle and made it back to Agua Dulce! Pulling off the highway, we get pulled over..........guess it's the law to wear a seatbelt in CA (I had mine on!!) Others didn't....the cop looked at us like we were crazy (this surburban was older and the a/c didn't work and it was nearly 100 degrees today, so all the windows were down and we were all windblown.) Then he realized that there were 4 of us in the middle row of seats instead of 3, so I crawled in the back row, after all that we only left with a verbal warning! We filled up the beast for 3.99 per gallon and brought it back to the Saufley's! Then we realized that our friend Stinky and Chris were here to visit us! They drove an hour to hang out with us!!! We chatted for a bit, then went out for Mexican food! What a great end to a fun day! It's almost 11pm here now, so I'm going to sign off for a bit, tomorrow involves putting all the food we bought into boxes and mailing ahead for the Sierra's!

Day 28 Fri May 16

Hiking by 0538 this morning, already HOT, but we got a full hour of hiking in before the sun hit us! You can tell we are getting lower in elevation as the heat is picking up. Made it to a road by 1130 and walked to a camping area (that was pretty sketchy looking) but we found out that there was a small grocery store just down the road a bit and caught a ride there, where we stayed for 4 hours during the heat of the day. Sooooo happy to be near cold drinks and ice cream! Both Chief and Neighbor bought 1/2 gallons of ice cream! Around 4:30, we caught a ride back to the trail and hiked another 6 miles closer to Agua Dulce. It wasn't so bad at that time. Had to hike under Highway 14 and the "tunnel" was long and really dark, almost needed the headlamp to see, eeeek! Found a really nice spot to camp after Vasquez rocks, warm night, great sunset. 22 miles by the end of the day.

Day 27 Thurs May 15

Hiking by 0540 this morning! Only because the wind picked up and nearly blew us out of the tent.......nothing like waking up in a windstorm! Hiked up the ridge and the wind didn't stop, it was crazy! With my pack, I prob. weigh close to 150 lbs and a few of those gusts were tossing me around, so they had to be close to 50 mph gusts. Got to a ranger station by 11am and realized that we'd already hiked 12 miles! Wow! The wind really moved us! Ate some food and pushed on, by this time it was HOT. But slowly, we made our way along the trail. At one point, we found a spot of shade and sat along side the trail for a nice break, I took my sunhat off, we aired out our feet and then a big gust of wind came along and poof............there goes my sunhat.......down the very steep enbankment........ahhhhhhhh!!! Neighbor retrieved it for me :) Thank you again! Eventually made it to a closed campground and hiked 23.5 miles for the day.

Day 26 Wed May 14

What a long day. Had to hike part of the road today (a detour) due to some endangered yellow-legged frogs (I'm serious) Then another trail to get back to the PCT, then back to the road and cross it a few times and then we lost the trail somewhere and ended up on the Chippewa trail (2 miles out of our way) and got a ride back to the trail from a nice family and then at 6am, we still had 4 miles to hike to get to the next water! We hike the 4 miles and the water is this green slimey creek.........oh well, not hiking anymore and we put up the tent, should have guessed for a place called Sulphur Spring........Also came to realized that we need more protein in our diet, new plan on the next stretch, protein with every dinner! Roughly 20 PCT miles, but more like 25 miles hiked today........too many for us, we were exhausted by the end of the day!

chief's website

chief is updating more pictures......some are GREAT!

The video from the summit of Baden-Powell should be on there soon, you can see the fire smoke in the distance too!

And Neighbor spitting his toothpaste into the sunset is a good one too, like a fire breathing dragon!

Heading to REI and Trader Joe's now (in LA) and Neighbor will be driving............eeeeeeek! LA?!

Day 25 Tues May 13

Our most exciting and beautiful day yet on the PCT!!! Walked to the Cinnamon roll bakery for breakfast, (yummm) then caught a ride up to the trail with a guy from town who is on the rescue team and told us about a fire that had just started behind Mt. Baldy that morning. Hit the trail in the crazy wind, I was getting blown all over the place! Crazy!!! By 1030, we were to the parking lot before our big climb up Baden-Powell and found a note from another hiker saying that crampons and ice axe were necessary........eeeek, but we decided to go see for ourselves (many hikers do not have any experience hiking in snow out here) Sure enough, we made our way up the mountain and there were small patches of snow at first, but nothing scary, then the snow got deeper, but it was close to noon and the snow was soft, so it wasn't scary at all. It was actually fun and made for some great pictures (which I'll attatch later!!) We made our way to the summit and we could see the smoke from the fire over by Mt. Baldy, it looked rather serious, esp with all the wind blowing around. We followed the ridge for a couple miles, trying to avoid the 6 foot suncups for as long as possible, camped at the bottom of the mtn after about 16 miles this day.

The rest of our day in Wrightwood

Mon May 12 -

We found our way to Kate's house and dropped our packs there (lugging them all over town is not fun) Someone told us to go on in and make ourselves at home, but that felt a little strange, just going into someone's house.....she didn't even know we were showing up, so we walked back to town. Found the pizza place, bought some fuel for the next 5 days and then walked back to Kate's. She was home this time and she was super nice, made ourselves at home, showered and did a load of laundry. Ash was there also, he came into town with an injured foot, but then realized that he has an infected blister..........a very infected blister. He wanted to see a doctor about it, but there wasn't one in town, so he went to the vet......and the vet gave him penicillin.....for a fish! It seems to be working, cause the infection is going down, though it says "not for human use....for tail rot" on the bottle! Whatever works! The 4 of us (Ash, Chief, Neighbor and I) all had a pint of Ben & Jerry's each and then went to bed!

Monday, May 12, 2008

playing around with adding bigger pictures, seeing if this works.
small tree down in the trail :)

playing around with adding bigger pictures, seeing if this works.

small tree down in the trail :)

Day 24 Mon May 12

What a crazy night! The wind was so strong it nearly collapsed the tent. I was thinking of all the large pine trees around (and the many already laying on the ground) and hoping for the best. Once 0530 came around, we were outta there in a hurry! Packed up and hit the trail. Only 5 miles to Wrightwood. Since we are up at such a high elevation, there was still snow on the ground and we walked over many patches. Then we came to Mtn. High ski area, it reminded me of hiking in Vermont, the pine trees, black capped chickadees and ski lifts! Ahhh, home! :) Made it to Highway 2 around 0830 and there was a woman dropping off Wasa, so she gave us a ride down into town! Perfect! We went to Mtn. Hardware where we picked up a care package from Pilgrim! (hiking friend from the Long Trail in 2003) He actually mailed the box to Big Bear City, but we had so much food, we bounced it ahead to here! What a great friend! Trader Joe's trail mix, Lindt chocolate (which is already gone!!), ginger chews, flattened bananas, good stuff for our next stretch! Thanks Pilgrim! Then we went to the food market to resupply for the next 85 miles to Agua Dulce ( 4.5 days of hiking) We called a local lady who lets hikers stay at her house and she gets out of work in 30 minutes, so hopefully we can stay with her! Things are going well. No knee pain here since the hot springs! Gotta love it! 6 min left on the computer, going to wrap things up! HI to all!

Day 23 Sun May 11

Ahhh, the train ran all night long, all 4 of us barely got any sleep at all......but we are clean! Took advantage of the continental breakfast this morning, I made my 2 mom phone calls and then we hit the trail for 0730! Happy late mother's day to all you moms out there! :) We got on the trail knowing that there was NO water for 22 miles, so we were carrying all the water we thought we'd need. It was a hot uphill climb basically the whole 22 miles and rationing water is NOT FUN. But then the Chief kicked it into gear and just started running up the trail! Crazy man! That lit a fire under my butt and we put the move on! 22 miles later, we were at 8,000 feet to camp for the night. What a day. Great view of Baldy Mtn covered in snow right there. The wind started to pick up, Neighbor went down to the spring (which I guess was quite the haul) and I whipped up dinner. After that the sun started going down and it gets chilly once the sun leaves, so we jumped in the sleeping bags for the night and that was it! Camped with Vizor, Super, Chief Chi hua hua and 2 others. Woke up during the night in the wind storm and saw the many city lights in the Mojave desert below.....pretty in a weird sort of way.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 22 Sat May 10th

Slept great, but lots of condensation, our sleeping bags were quite wet in the morning. We aired them out for an hour and got on the trail around 7am. Only 13.6 miles to Vanilla milkshake land! The miles came easy again and we were to McDonald's before noon! Today, Neighbor nearly stepped on this little snake, then realized it was a baby rattler! He tried to pick it up with his trekking pole and it started to rattle like mad, but being a baby, it sounded just sooo cute, like a little bee! Back at McD's, the Chief, Neighbor and I all got chicken salads, and ice cream sundae's and I got my shake! Neighbor got his iced coffee, it was a good time. Nimblewill came in and it was a grand ole time. Then we decided to take the rest of the afternoon off (as it was the hottest part of the day) and stay at the Best Western just up the street. We are splitting a room with the Chief and Detour. Tons of other hikers here, it's the place to be! We now have clean laundry and clean bodies! Just ate a footlong sub from subway for dinner and we'll head back out on the trail in the morning (after we put a hurting on the included continental breakfast!!) We'll be in Wrightwood in 2 days. And we checked, the San Jacinto 39 mile missed section is STILL CLOSED! Ahhhhhh. We are starting to think we'll have to fly back from Canada to finish the trail in Idlywild! Seeing tons of poison oak lately. I have an eagle eye for it now!

Day 21 Fri May 9th

Up and ready to go early......but maybe we'll just put our feet in the hot springs before we go....then that turned into, let's just get in for a few hour later, ahhhh, okay, time to hike now! 8am and heading north. Walked over a beautiful bridge over a massive gorge on our way, then down to the Mojave river dam and lost the trail for a minute in the bushes, but quickly back on track. We crossed the river on a log, Neighbor held my trekking pole while I crossed for balance, sometimes I'm not that graceful on balance beams over deep flowing rivers! Walked a few more miles and came to a van where we found Marlene handing out rootbeer floats! Trail Magic! yeah! Reminded me of my great grandmother, she always made those floats! And it powered us right up the hill! We'll have to have more of those on the trail, thanks Marlene! Also saw Gordon who is driving Nimblewill Nomad's support van. Hiked a few more miles and saw Gordon again, he gave us gatorades this time and then Nimblewill came walking up the road and we got to meet him (he's sorta famous in the hiking world, he'll turn 70 this year and he's hiking the PCT) He's very nice and wow, in shape! We hiked a few more miles, not really planning on making it all the way to Silverwood Lake, but we did....another 22 mile day. The campground was full, so we kept walking and then Chief Chi hua hua found us a pavillion with picnic tables just off trail to camp for the night! We made some Velvetta mac and cheese (thanks Priscilla) and called it a night! Oh, tomorrow there is a McDonald's just off the trail somewhere and that is all everyone is talking about! I'm thinking Vanilla milkshake!

Day 20 Thurs May 8th

Great day! Started hiking by 0630 and heard this bird that sounded like a big crow, I looked around and saw a blue heron coming in for a landing in the creek, I never knew they made noise! Walked for a few miles and crossed the small creek, stopped, aired out our feet and washed our socks, clean feet are hard to come by out here. Saw a hummingbird by the creek and heard it make noise too! Decided to aim for the natural hot springs some 21 miles away today.....lots of walking. Crossed the creek a couple times, it keeps getting bigger each time we cross it and I took my shoes off twice for the crossing (others didn't...I'm a chicken) :) Finally made it to the hot springs at 4:50, what a day. We get there and set our packs down and notice that some of the regulars feel it is a clothing optional kinda place. Neighbor says hi to one man and he doesn't respond.....then the man reaches down into the bushes and grabs this rattlesnake by the tail! Ahhhhh, we never even saw the thing! It starts rattling like MAD! Someone yells, take a picture.......but the man is completely naked (and very old) and I think, that would not be a very good picture for the scrapbook! Anyways, that's the story of our very first rattlesnake encounter on the trail! ha ha ha! So, we get into our hot springs gear (yes, we wore clothes!) and oh my.......wonderful! We soaked for over an hour and our skin was prune-like once we got out, but it felt so great, many were going from the hot to the cold, but I stuck mostly with the hot! What a great ending to a long day!

Day 19 Wed May 7th

We were up early and mailed out some postcards, bagel, cream cheese and avacado for breakfast and back on the trail for 9am! The miles came easy today. Walked through a burn area from 2 yrs ago and the scenery was beautiful. All the trees were black, but small flowers were starting to grow again, it was beautiful to see the regrowth and what comes first. The purple lupine and small yellow flowers and patches of grass here and there. Hiked 19 miles in 8 hours and camped with Supa, Vizor, Pipi, Outback, Gazelle and Chief Chi hua hua. Ate a freezerbagcooking meal of 4 cheese rice and turkey burger and it was awesome! The ground where everything is burnt is very soft (if you do any off trail business) and you feel like you might sink right through. Some of the burnt trees were burnt right down to the ground, created a HUGE hole and then burnt out the roots even!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dandy's website

he just put up a great picture of us and the possible baby rattlesnake we saw........and Neighbor offered a great photo opportunity for!!

0730 here, we're heading back to the trail in an hour!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day 18 Tues May 6

Slept great, took today off to rest, relax and regain calories! Feeling good today. We went through our packs and together pulled out 1 pound 14 oz of stuff that we are not using and mailed it home! And right now Neighbor is picking up the memory card to the camera and another care package that someone sent! Goodies! We bought some extra food for the next 80 mile stretch to Wrightwood and we'll be heading out in the morning! Wasa cooked us some amazing french toast this morning (he's showing me up as a cook......which isn't really hard to do!) I just took my vitamins (only because Tina sent me some and I didn't want to carry them!) But those were the biggest vitamins I've ever seen, wow! Called the ranger station again today to see if those 39 miles were open yet,, not yet. So, that's it for now, 0 miles and feeling good!

Day 17 Mon May 5 (cinco de Mayo) :)

Woke up freezing cold 27 degrees! Our drinking tubes to our camelbacks were both frozen solid! Brrr, I didn't even peek my head out from underneith my warm sleeping bag until 0630! When we did get going, we just kept our sleeping clothes on (smartwool bottoms) and threw the hiking pants right on over top of them until we hiked a mile or two and warmed up! Easy walking, still in the beautiful trees! Got to Highway 18 around 1:30 and hitched a ride into Big Bear City to the Post office and picked up a package from Priscilla (with yummy cookies and goodies inside) and a letter from gram & papa! Then we caught a bus on the scenic route to a hiker hostel in Big Bear Lake. Tons of hikers there, free internet, phone and good times. Showered, did laundry and Wasa went to the store and bought supplies for dinner! He's quite the cook, salad, baked potatoe with chives, shredded cheese and sour cream, steak and real garlic bread! I went to bed FULL! Second time sleeping in a bed on this trip and it just keeps getting better!

Day 16 Sun May 4

What a great day! Pine trees, squirrels, cedar trees, beautiful smells, even a small patch of snow to walk through........we were in the mountains! Over 8500 feet up and loving every step of this day! We would actually re-hike this section (where as in the couldn't pay me enough to re-hike any one mile that we've already covered) Towards the end of our long great day, we came up to these wild animals in cages. I guess they are the retired Hollywood wild animals from movies. Lions, tigers and bears.........and one VERY big BEAR! Yikes! It was actually rather sad to see them all caged up. We hiked 1 mile past the cages to camp and listened to a lion roar all night long! Cold night.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Day 15 Sat May 3

Up and hiking by 6am and it was already 68 degrees. Yuck. Beautiful section of trail through San Gorgonio Wilderness and by 0830 we were at Whitewater creek where we found a note in the trail for "trail magic" (nice deed done by other people, usually means food that we can eat and didn't have to carry!!) So, we hiked 1/2 mile off the trail and met Brian and Lisa who were serving up pancakes and eggs! Yummmm! We hung out for a couple hours and then had burgers, soda, chips, mangos and were on our way with full bellies! After a few more miles, we were in the heat of the day and came to Mission creek (an actual creek!!) Neighbor was SO excited, he stripped down to his underwear and jumped in face down and started making whale noises! I think the other 4 people who didn't know us at the creek were a bit in awe! But that water felt great! Hiked another 4 miles and called it quits for the day, camped with Asaf (who was Hungry hiker on the AT in 2003, but we started calling him Chief Chi-hua-hua) The Chief name comes from him trying to pronounce chiuahua (the little dog) but he's from Isreal and it came out all mumbled like chi-hua-hua (hence the name) :)

interesting stuff

Everyone keeps asking what we are seeing for wildlife.
Answer: NOTHING!

We "think" we've seen 1 rattlesnake, but it was a baby and didn't even have a rattle. ALL the hikers around us have seen multiple rattlers.......not us!

We've seen tracks of various animals, but haven't seen any actual creatures.
In all seriousness, we sleep with our foodbags (I use mine as my pillow) I thought that was scary when I first heard of it, but everyone else does it and lives!

We LOVE the sage bushes. The smell is amazing (I guess any smell is great after smelling your own B.O. for miles and miles) but brushing up against one of these sage bushes is wonderful!

Ants...everywhere, red, black, brown, etc. everywhere.

Day 14 Fri May 2

Beautiful sunrise, cresent moon, Mt. San Jacinto right there! Just after 6am we started the 13 mile downhill hike to I-10. 7000 foot elevation loss....ouch! 17 miles later around 2pm, we are under the I-10 bridge with Papabear, cold soda, brownies, bananas, chips and something that I wouldn't touch at home....a McDonald's double cheeseburger! (and it was GOOD) :) The last 3 miles to the bridge were awful. DEEP beach sand and basically no trail, just follow the washout to the highway, it was brutally hot and just NOT fun. At the bridge, in the shade, Neighbor put his watch in the sun and it read 124 degrees! Ahhhh! We continued on for another 4 miles to camp below a windfarm (wind turbines) for a total of 21 miles for the day. The turbines make a very soothing sound......almost like thousands of Canadian geese flying south. :)

Day 13 Thurs. May 1

Good night sleep at the campground, we all went out for pizza last night! Yumm! After breakfast, we mailed home our crampons (that we were going to use for San Jacinto/Fuller Ridge section) and then found out that the fire is still out of control and the trail will not re-open until after monday. So, we called a local trail angel and got a ride to Black Mtn. trailhead where we hiked 8 miles UPHILL just to get to the PCT! It was very uphill, but beautiful. We got to the trail, hiked for 1 hour and put up camp at about 7000 feet with a great view of San Jacinto. Back on the trail! 39 miles of trail not covered, but we'll get back to it..........definately! Camped with Asaf and Dogwood.