The human’s best survival quality is his ability to adapt.
The alarm blasted its insistent ring, letting us know it was time to start the day. We started the day without big expectations really, we figured we would just hike and see how far we got.
The first miles of the day were relaxed compared to the day before. Nice settle downhill through a pine valley all the way to a cool creek at mile 258. All the pain in my hips from the day before was totally gone. Maybe I just needed to break back into the backpacking groove!
On our way to the spring we kept leap frogging some of our camping neighbors from the night before. That’s when we met Kevin and Trout. Kevin went to school in Birmingham AL, an area where I had actually spent some time. Soon after meeting Kevin, Trout ran up and without introducing himself began to regale us all the tale of his runin with a scorpion . . . I’ll let his Hiker Profile tell the rest.
Once arriving at the 258 creek we ran into Mayo and Greyscale who we happily chatted with and learned they were both doctors and asked quite a few more questions about Sweden and how they came to meet. We sat by the trickling cool creek and enjoyed the break in the pines.
After filling up on water we pressed on, the gain became hardy again and it finally eased up once in the wide open high desert area where Joshua Trees started to appear. After trekking in the open desert for a bit we finally stopped to rest below a nice pine for a lunch break. A little Tanager bird chirped away in the branches above.
We pressed on further skirting the mountian and finally getting expansive views of the Lucerene Valley and a piece of the Mojave Desert. Finally we came to Highway 18 where we enjoyed a cool drink from some trail magic and a rest where we met Raider from Austria. He happily chatted, and was super friendly talking about the miles to come and the PCT McDonalds challenge (more to comb on this in future post)!
We said our goodbyes and Izzie and I pressed on, snaking through the hills enjoying the views of the desert and Lake Baldwin. We were halted by the Holcomb Fire closure at Mile 268. Talk about a burn, that area was scorched!We slogged the dirt road climb to bypass, man what a push! We finally met back up with the PCT and started desperately to find a flat spot to camp. After a few miles we finally found camp, a beer that we lugged from the trail magic cooler (thanks to Raider!), and incredible views of the setting sun.
What an unexpectedly nice big day!
Trout – 20s, told us of the tale (from a few days before) where he was stung in the penis by a scorpion. He was filtering water 3 miles into his hike, when the arthropod crawled into his shorts and stung him. Only 15 miles later with a swollen situation, he exited the trail to get assistance.
Kevin – 30s/40s, grew up in ATL, went to UAB at Birmingham for Engineering. He moved to San Diego where he worked as a quality engineer for a small production plant. He saw the movie Wild and figured “I can’t let that bitch Reese Witherspoon show me up”. He took a leave of absence and started hiking!
Kevin (left) & Trout (right)