Thanks to a wonderful trail angel, Mary Munoz, I was driven to the water cache in the am and started hiking fresh. Since my car was 22 miles away, I still had to pack sleeping bag, tent, pad, 1st aid, etc but decided to leave my stove and heavy food to reduce weight.
Last look at the Cajon Pass Inn where I stayed 2 nights. Great hot tub and 1 washer/dryer but nothing else. Only crappy fast food nearby, but it’s cheap and a ton of hikers stay there.
Was a little worried about the possibility of hiking all 22 miles, but was prepared to camp if needed (did do a “good” patch on my pad (thanks again for the ride to REI Mary!).
I have done 22 miles before. I have carried 6 liters of water before. I have climbed close to 5500 elevation gain before. But I have never done 2 of the 3 before, let alone all 3.
Very cold drizzly morning. Good for keeping my temperature down and water use down, but terrible for photos, so no more pics till I walk thru the mist (which looked like scenes from “the hills have eyes”. It was a tad scary).
Finally hiked above the mist after about 8 miles. Happily it turns out the climb is steady but pretty gradual (maybe 300 to 400 feet a mile). If it’s possible to have an “easy” 5500 foot climb, this was it. Easy well groomed trail with few steps or obstructions. I really pushed it for the 1st four hours since it would likely take me 10 to 13 hours of walking, I wasn’t able to start till 8:30 due to school and crazy traffic, and I didn’t want to hike in the dark at 8500 feet elevation.
Pretty cool mist views at 8000 feet.
That’s what I hiked and climbed thru. At this point I was happy as I had covered 9.5 miles in 4 hours (just under 2.5 mph which is fast for me. That gave me strong hope I could finish before dark as I only had 12.5 miles to go, 2/3 of the climb was done, and it was only 12:30.
Had about 8 snow crossing to maneuver on east exposures. Was slippery as I did not have micro spikes or a self arresting tracking poles. Some of the drops offs below the snow crossing are scary, and I am concerned about may 1st when I restart with some friends at Vincent Gulch Gap). Reports are that more snow crossing is expected as we traverse mount Baden/Powell. I suspect I will bring micro spikes as a slip could have very bad results.
Off in the distance, far below, is highway 2 and the very cute town or Wrightwood. Wright wood is very hiker friendly and some residents Offer they’re homes as hiker hostels (like Mary). Pretty cool. Mary also helps stock the water cache which literally helps keep hikers healthy and alive.
This is the Acorn trail that goes into Wrightwood at mile 363 and elevation 8500. It’s called an “ankle breaker and blister maker” because it’s snow filled, is 3 miles long and drops 3000 feet in elevation super fast. I will not be going to Wrightwood that way. Lol.
A concrete fenced in pond is here for some unknown reason.
I was very tired at this point ( about 19 miles in). Tried to press “down” on the ski lift. Sadly it did not work. Lol.
The day stayed mostly cool till the end. I carried 6 liters (weight 12 pounds). Drank 4. Dumped 1 at about mile 12 and finished carrying 1 full liter with me. On a hot day, I would easily have drank all 6 liters.
There is my car in the parking lot.
Finally made it just arriving before the sun went behind the hills at 6:45. Did 22 miles in about 10.5 miles. With the elevation gain and the water carry, I felt pretty good. The last 1/3 of the climb was still gradual, but I was getting tired and slowed down a fair amount. Still Actually passed 3 hikers ( that rarely happens).
Had a long drive home last night, stopping for catnaps when tired. Now it’s time for a real nap before I start preparing for the continuing hike on May 1st. Lost between 3 to 5 pounds which isn’t to bad. Felt like more.