PCT Day 15: Mile 185.5 -190 San Jacinto Peak


There is something about standing on top of a mountain that gives you real perspective on the world.

I woke just before sunup, and went through my morning routine. I was too low on water to make coffee, but the spring just 0.7 miles north would afford me all I needed. I trekked on in the morning light, fighting off the nipping from the mornings cool breeze.

Soon I found the spring in a nice open meadow and filled up. Without sparing any time I kept pushing on, taking in the landscape as I went. I didnt see anyone as I ascedned a large plateau and started up the long switchbacks to the peak. Was everyone still in bed? No summitters today? Abducted by Aliens?! I thought for sure I would see someone, and it wasnt until a good hour or so before I finally saw 2 day hikers.

I said hello, and pressed on my way, as soon as I got to the junction to the summit, I bumped into Oz, CrisAnn, and Jason! What a treat! I said hello, they stopped for a quick rest and I pressed on, up the trail, past the emergency hut, all the way to the peak where the 360 views were magnificent! A hazy smog hovered over San Bernadino city, but the mountains beyond were magnificent!

Soon the gang joined, and the longer we sat at the peak, the more people started showing up. I snacked, chatted, and soon headed down, back to the trail to head down the mountain. The day hikers were out in droves, I must have counted 4 dozen or more! Finally after bombing down the backside I met the gang again for a quick break before heading to mile 186 for a much needed water refill. There wouldnt be any water for the next 20 miles so loading up was key.

This guys seen better days!

The next section of trail was gorgeous, pines lined the trail that bumped and dipped on the Fuller Ridge down the huge mountain. You could see for miles in the clearing, all the way down to Palm Springs and beyond. I could see the wind farms, the airid desert, and the mountains to the north.

Granite boulders and pines lined the landscape. At one point I found a huge boulder with multiple splitter cracks going up the face. I threw a handjam in one, and it was perfect fit for my hand. I wished I had some climbing shoes to boulder around, but now wasnt the time. I marked it down, and hiked on!

Finally I pulled in to camp at the Fuller Ridge trailhead. Quite a few others joined and we all chatted as we made dinner and set up tents. Another great day on the trail!


PCT Day 14: Mile 178-185.5


I called Grumpy, a trail Angel whos number I grabbed from Claire before she decided to leave the PCT for a cross country road trip. He answered, his quirky voice said hed be there in 50 minutes and that he would be right on time. I had told Dom and Celia the night before they could catch a ride with me, and Grumpy’s charge to ride was nothing more than a good old fist bump. Very excentric fella, but funny to chat with headed to South Ridge trailhead.

I wanted to touch as much of the PCT as possible so I decided to go up South Ridge to tie in at Mile 178 just after the fire closure. After dropping us as the trailhead he took off. I chatted with Dom and Celia just for a few minutes before they pulled off, I pressed on. The ridge was aweomse and the views were fantastic!

As I rose from the valley, the cross country views just continued to get better! Granite rock faces began to rise and I could see some good areas for climbing potential. Taquiets large grey granite face stood proud from the surrounding pines and I knew there was some good climbing history there. I pressed on firther up the ridge bumping into a few day hikers. Super nice and polite, as everyone in the area seemed to be.

I crossed the plateau, through the pines and found my camp for the night at mile 181. It was only noon, and I wanted to do an alternate route to the peak, so I decided to day hike the 4.5 miles (then back) I would miss by hiking the alternate. What a beautiful route! To my surprise I ran into CrisAnn and Oz, they had pushed up from Idyllwild early in the morning and looked a little frazzled from the push. They delibereated on their plan, so I pressed on with mine.

The trail dipped and twisted around the moutnain with picturesk view after view. At one point it seemed as though I could see LA, if only there was a little less fog!

I pressed on and shortly after seeing a few other PCTers and gathering water, I found the turnoff to San Jacinto Peak, and the turnaround point for my day hike! Whew my feet actually were a little beat. I rested up and headed back to camp. Cooked dinner, stretched out, set up the sleeping bag and clawled inside. Another great day!

Hiker Profle:

Celia + Dom

Dom worked as a software developer, and Celia went to UW for computer science. They decided to take a break and come out for an adventure. When U furst met them in Mount Laguna, they were complaining about too much weight and having troubles on the uphills. Now, after cutting down on uneeded gear, they seem to have found heir rythm, walking together on the trail!

Day Hiker Profile

Pete: 50/60s, trail runner, retired Idyllwild. Cool guy, just out there loving life!


PCT Day 13: The Zero


Just because it looks like a rabbit, hops like a rabbit, doesn’t always mean it is one.

My plan is to meet my gilfriend Izzie and buddies Nick and Sam in 7 days, just 60 trail miles away. Needless to say, I either needed to slow down or burn some zero mile days. So I found myself taking a rest in the small mountain town of Idyllwild. I wont bore you with the details of running around in my rain gear to do laundry, or raiding hiker boxes around town, or even using the piblic library to get some administrative work done. But what I will tell you, is that you should definitly make a trip there to check the place out. Maybe do some hiking, mountainbiking, or even rock climbing in the muntains nearby.

Awesome wood statue in town

Full statue, thing is huge

Sweet little theater

Cool mosaic for the town

Metal Statues

Awesome cabin town

Hiker Profile:

Vagabond- Phx AZ, 50s, served in the military as infantry. Was hit by a truck few years back, and was told he’d never walk again. After reconstructive surgery and a few pins and plates later, he worked his way back to his feet. He decided to show the doctors wrong by walking across America. He was in Idyllwild taking some rest days, attempting to recover from double pneumonia. Of course his chain smoking ways wasnt helping much. I though the guy was homeless at first, but after hearing his story, I undestood a little better where he was coming from. Kind eyes from a rough road.


PCT Day 12: Alt route Mile 7-14. Idyllwild


Woke up late (late in hiker terms) 6:30 and sluggishly got moving. I only had 7 miles to push the back way to Idyllwild from Hurkey Campground and I was in no hurry to get goign.

Smokebeard was already up and gone, Darin, Oz, and ChrisAnn were hanging out and playing it slow as they were hoping to catch a hitch into town. I was trying to slow play the day so I packed up and got on trail a little after 8.

Strolling on, it was nice to have a bit of change. I had the trail all to myself and the trail went from nice and prime to rutted out and unclear. It reminded me of being back home, on backcountry trails.

I used the chance of being off the PCT to call home as I walked. Taking in the views as I hiked, 1 headphone in, without another soul in sight. Thats alright by me!

Finally after a few miles I entered the city limits of Idyllwild. What a sweet town! There were quant little cottages, and a small down home feel to the moutnain town. The small comunity continued on as I hiked down into the town center. I peered into side yards and admired the houses and cool decorations.

Finally I pulled into town where I was surprised to find such a high amount of traffic. The town was buzzing with locals, hikers, and tourists looking to get a taste of the vibe in the town. It was small, but not too small to get bored. Plenty of cool little shops, art galleries, cafes, resturants, post office, outfitters. If you have never been, take a little time and visit this remote, yet accessible sweet town!

I found my way to the state park where I would call home for the night, set up my tent, and rand some erronds in town. Although no true PCT miles, it was still a great day exploring a new place.

Hiker Profile:

CrisAnn + Oz

The 2 teachers met in Indonesia while teaching English to children. They became great friends and soon after decided to try to find out what they wanted to do with their lives, out on the PCT. CrisAnn (from Houston TX) sports a hefty DSLR camera, and Oz has bright red shiny gaiters which earned her the trailname she reps . . . . She also goes by bun bun . . . Because she has a niece and nefew who she babysits . . . and apparenty when she sees a bunny on the tail, she reverts to speaking like she would with them =)


PCT Day 11: 159.5-168 + 7 miles alt route


I woke up without an alarmhi and started the morning routine. About half way through putting on my shirt I felt a bite on my leg. I instinctually slapped my leg, and thought nothing of it. Then bam, I got hit again. I looked up and the morning light started to shine though, I could see in the silloette 6 or 7 ants, CRAP!

I grabbed my headlamp and shined it, there were ants everywhere! Let the war begin! The ants must have got on my backpack in the night and when I went to grab my clothes out the were distributed inside my tent. I shook them off me, grabbed my stuff and undoubtedly looking like a mad man shook off my clothes and my sleeping bag. When the dust settled, I made it out alive andI felt really bad about the holocaust of ants I left behind =(

Finally after the tragic event, I packed up and got on the trail a few minutes after I saw another couple of hikers pass by. It was all uphill first thing with killer views all around! I pushed up and on, to the next campsite where I found Catfish and Rose hanging out and chillin out on a break. We chatted for a minute before pressing on up the ridge.

After a few miles, I took a break making a tasty chicken and pepperonni burrito. Ohhh it was tasty and I took in the views! Soon Lewis, Janet, and Darren showed up. We chatted for a moment before dropping off the topout and headed towards Forbes saddle.

Once at the saddle, we chatted for a bit and then looked at each other before makiing the decision t press up the ridge and touch every bit of trail we can or drop down early. Darren and I decided to press on where Lewis and Janet decided to drop early. The push was hearty, I headed up alone, heart pumping and sweat dripping up the good grind until finally I got the Spitler trail where the official PCT alternate trail started. Smokebeard, Oz, and CrisAnn were hanging out, Darren soon showed up.

Darren and Lewis

Finally we dropped off together, gathering water at 1.2 miles, and pressed the final 4.5 miles to the road. Man what a push, although it was downhill, it was a long long stretch. We went down the burn area and I could imagine how beautiful it was before the burn. Birds chirped and squirrels skampered. Finally we found ourselves hot, tired, and at the road, woundering if the last stretch was only 4.5?!

An awesome trail angel couple showered up and shuttled 6 of us to the Hurkey Creek campground where 5 of us found our home for the night. What a great day! We pitched tents, grabbed a coin shower, and cooked dinner for the night. What a great day!

Trail Angel’s for the win!!

Hiker Profile:

Janet: UCSantaCruise Feminist studies (law, policy, history) and psychology. Felt a little outside the group in her study but enjoyed learning how to have a strong opinion to not be so influenced by social media and other social pressures. Worked at a law firm in accounting, went back to school for accounting at UCBerkly. Now decided to quote and do the PCT while her body still can.

Catfish + Rose: kingman az, both completed the AT last now trying PCT. Rose is on the wildlife fire crew, seasonally, and catfish works as an xray tech.


PCT Day 10: Mile 143-159.5 Paradise Cafe


“Mr Sandamn, give me a treat . . . ”

I woke early as usual, just as twilight began. I started the daily routine of packing away my tent, pulling out breakfast, and getting everything I needed to survive into a little backpack.

Once the first rays of the sun hit me, I was already on trail pressing north. After just a few miles wandering through the manzanita I came upon Muir Woods. It was a small private property area that the owner set up a water cache, bathroom, mini shower, small camp area, and book exchange cabinet. It was so cool!! Lewis, Tori, Janette, Smokebeard, and Chunky Monkey were all there hanginging out before pressing on.

Chunky Monkey (from Austria) submitting a book for exchange

We chatted for a bit and the most anyone could talk about was Paradise Cafe, a 1 mile hitch into town from a rod just 8 miles away. Chunkey Monkey had set his last 3 days of hiking so he would get there just as they served lunch. All that talk was getting me hungry!

We pressed on through the mananita maze, twisting back and forth up and down unil we popped out just west of Lookout Moutnain and really got some stellar views! Mountains for miles and really cool rock formations everywhere.

We pressed the remaining miles to the road, and as soon as Lewis put his thumb out a car came sliding in to pick us up. 3 of of jumped in and Richard (and his dog Jano) was just passing through was nice enough to give us a ride to the cafe!

He screetched off, and in jus a few miles pulled up to the cafe, we were all in high spirits, chatting back and forth about what to get. I had Biscutes and Gravy with an ice cold IPA. After scarfong down breakfast like tiny Tim, we were back on the road and hitched back to the PCT where we left.

It was warm now, but we had miles to make. Smokebeard, Michal, Lewis, Janette, Kim, Ryan, and I (quite the gang) pressed on and up the trail as the scenery began to change. Pines came into view and huge ranite boulders lined the trail. After some miles we finally came to out water resupply cutoff. We hiked down the 0.3 miles to a cool spring emptying into a trough of water, what heven!

After restocking we pressed up the hills and the final miles through some gorgeous oak trees to a beautiful shadded campsite. We set up tents, made dinner and joked together before finally calling it a night. Just a few more miles to Idyllwild!

Hiker Profile:

Smokebeard – Ed, 46, vegetarian, from Rhode Island, with 5 acres in the sticks where him and his wife reside. They have 2 goats, 3 sheep, and a few chickens. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, he works on software from home and every once in a while saves up and takes off to the woods for a thru hike.

Smokebeard, holding what we have dubbed, the deathcone!


PCT Day 9: Mile 129-143 Boulder Field


“Here comes the sun” . . . . De doo de dee – The Beetles

I woke before the sun rose and I could tell it had been much warmer than any other night thus far on the trail. I could actually get up and out of my tent without putting on all my layers including my hoody, while shivering myself to death. I went through the morning routine, and was soon feet on the trail headed north.

The trail meandered, there was thick brush on either side and it seemed to snake around, turn after turn. At mile 5.5, I plopped for a usual morning snack break and took a load off my feet. The terrain in this section was pretty similar, green bushes covered the hillside and the trail was brown and bouldery.

I pressed on and finally the scenery started to change, more cactus and less bushes. In the distance I could see a big white tent. I thought nothing of it at first but as I neared it, I woundered if it were just off the trail. I rounded the bend and there was a large tent and Niko the trail angel chilling inside.

Along with him was Mike from Ireland and his gilfriend from France. Niko, who looked a bit like a surfer with shoulder length dirty blond hair and red reflective Okleys on, invited me in and offered up some oranges, water, chips. Whatever I felt like grabbing. It was a cool setup, definitly a car camping palace for sure.

All of the sudden it was like the Truman show, pepole were coming out of the woodworks left and right! Tori, Smokebeard, Lewis, Kim, Ryan, and a few others just started rolling in. We all hung out and chatted for a bit, resting our feel and rehydrating.

I knew I couldnt stay all day and although the company was great, the trail wasnt going to hike itself. I pressed on and so did the sun! The terrain turned more hilly and some of the flats that we had turned to climbs. The sun began beating on me head, and it reminded me of trekking in AZ, I smiled and pressed on. After passing a water cistern that had some pretty bleak looking water in it. I was thought back and was pretty thankful we happened upon Niko.

Cistern with questionable water

Soon after the cistern I met up with Kim and Ryan again, just chilling under a tree. I chatted for a moment, and then we got around to recalling out top 5 favorite films, and all kinds of other silly trail banter. We pressed on together for a bit, then I pushed up a nice hill into the heat ahead. Finally after some good miles I found the water cache at Table Mountain Truck trail, just 19 gallons left. I filled 2 liters up. Soon Kim and Ryan rounded the corner pretty happy to find me standing on top of the water cashe singing the Lion King theme song where Simba is being held up on the rock! “Nants ingonyama bagithi baba / Sithi uhhmm ingonyama”

We all preesed the last mile together and grabbed a camp among some pretty sweet boulders. I had no climbing shoes, but felt a few out. There were doable lines on the highballs, but getting down would be another story all together. I played around a bit on the smaller ones before setting up my tent and settling in. Another great day on the trail!

Hiker Profile:

Michael – 23, from Seattle, just applied for med school after graduating in biology from Virginia where he played college football as a tight end. Figured while his girlfriend is in Nicaragua, and hes waiting for acceptance to med school, he would come try his hand at the PCT. Hes rockin a bear canister from the start . . . Everones been giving him shit for carrying the weight when he doesn’t need it for another 600 miles 🙂

Michael, stretching and being goofy!

Trail Angel Profile:

Niko – Trail Angel, looking for friends. He was part owner in a production company and dabbled in art. He used to surf, but like to go sailing now. After his mom bought him a Costco membership he started bringing some good trail magic to different areas because he loved camping and meeting new people.


PCT Day 8: Mile 115-129


I woke early, went through the usual routine. I wasnt in a large hurry this morning so I made coffee and sipped it as I broke down my tent. It was a pretty nice campsite, not far from a gugling creek, tucked back under a nice strong tree.

Found surprise messages in my TP 🙂 You rock Chris!

Pack strapped on, I let out on the trail. As soon as I did I ran into Ryan and Snake-eyes (Kim) who I had bumped into the night before brefly just before camp. They were all smiles and we chatted for a bit as the three of us gained the mananita covered hillsides, leaving the safety of the tree covered creek bed.

They were from North Carolina, and wanted to try their hand at the PCT. They stopped to pull off layers and I pressed on. It wasnt too long winding up the switchbacks before I ran into a trail Angel with her 2 dogs! Topaz was there handing out ornages, capree suns, bananas, and other snacks. Trail Angels go out of there way just to support the hiking community and leave goddies for them to grab.

There was lots of granite faces and boulders NE of Pine Mountain near Indian water flats, could there be climbing there?

I pressed on winding up the hill before spotting a granit boulder jetting up from the surrounding shrubs. I thought that would be a great spot to take a rest, so I walked over and scrambed up the fun ascent to the top! What a view!!

After a much needed rest I pressed on the next few miles until happening upon Mikes Place. Another trail Angel, he lets hikers camp in his yard, sometimes makes pizza and burritoes for them. I walked in and hung around in the hammock for a while chattin with Breeze, ki, Rryan, Offtrail, and Scott. Burrito in hand and a nice breeze, I couldnt ask for more!

Chilling at Mike’s Place

Knowing I needed to press on I filtered 4 liters, packed my bag and rolled out hiking another 2.5 miles before finding my camo for the night. It was still early so I scrambled up Comb Peak, right next to camp for fun. I retuned, finsh getting setup and broke out som Turkey Mac + Cheese, compliments of Nick Norwood. Spicy and deliecious! Another great day on the trail =)

This ain’t your ma’s Turkey Mac-n-Cheese

Hiker Profile:

Kim + Ryan

AT completion last year, from Charlotte NC, coming to check out the pct.

Trail Angel – Topaz: 49, originally from Washington, moved to Texas with her sister then came to cali for work. She lives in an 84 motorhome, enjoying her work, living just off Lake Henshaw, and she planned to hiking the full PCT next year.


PCT Day 7: Mile 109.5-115, Nero Day


All work an no play makes Jack a dull boy! – 1659 proverb

The Nero Day . . . Nearly Zero. Its good to have a rest. I used the hiker friendly Civic Center as a place to rest, chill, and get the engines back to neutral. You cant crank all day every day, so a good break once a week on the trail is great for your body to recover.

Yup, that’s a bunny, at the civic center.

I woke without an alarm set, there was no rush to breakfast, no tent to break down as myself and a few other PCTers crashed in the hiker hut. Tori, Claire, and I sluggishly made our way into town by 8am (late by hiker standards) and grabbed breakfast at the golf country club (the only grill in town) and had a really relaxed morning.

I grabbed my resupply box from the post office next door, where I met Ghost. He was a trail angel that gave rides to people from town to the civic center, and all over really.

I got back, washed my clothes in a provided bucket, took a bucket shower, reorganized my pack, and hung out with other hikers chatting. I got my pack ready, out with the old and in with the new. After some much needed administrative work, I gathered my things and started back on the trail at 4pm.

I wanted to take it easy but still make forward progress. I started getting antsy at the Civic Center. Walking again felt so nice, and I took the view in stride.


The open planes called my name and the walking was relatively relaxed. The temperature was perfect, and the open landscape was followed by a small forest with some of the most awesome trees. It was so nice.

When is the last time you got on a tire swing?!

The afternoon was so delightful. After a quick 5 miles, I grabbed water from the creek, set up camp, and ate dinner with a few other hikers camping nearby. Such a simple, chill, and fullfilling day.

Thanks Nick for the stellar meals!


PCT Day 6: 88.5-109.5 Warner Springs


“The hills are alive with the sound of music.” – Sound of Music

I woke in the middle of the night to the sound of wind beating on the side of my tent like it wanted in. The wind that plagued me 2 nights before had found me again! I tried to close my eyes and ignore it, but it just came knocking again. I then reached for my headphones, hit play on my favorite sleeping soundtrack and went right back to sleep, drowning out the noise.

I finally got moving around 5:30 after turning my music on again a time or two in the night. The sky was on fire and an ominous cloud moved in as the wind howled.

“Red sky at night, shepherd delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning” – old Scottish saying

I didnt have time to hunker down, so i packed up and let out on the trail. It was cold, and the wind didnt help, I had my jacket on, hood up, buff covering my face and I was still shivering.

I trekked on in the shadow of the mountain and saw a few hikers, trailside, taking down their tents and getting ready to let out. I trekked these miles alone and they went pretty fast. Just before my first break I passed Claire from Scottland who was also all bundled up. After a nice break in a little nestled area I let out and pushed for the next 5. I caught up to Claire and we chatted again in passing as the rain begain to drizzleon us. I mentioned we were about to hit 100 miles, and we were both excited to hit the milestone (despite the rain). Afterward I breaked and we chatted about what she was doing so far from home and what brought me to the PCT.

3rd Gate Water Cache

We first bumped and I headed out, along chatting as we went. She mentioned her front Tori was ahead and we trekked on through the wind and rain. Sometimes its nice to have someone to chat with, it makes the hard miles a little easier to bear.

100 baby!

Finally the sun came out and we found ourselves bombing down through a forested area and soon a road materialized! We hopped a chained fence and continued trekking on through the fields until finally we found the open praries. How beautiful, I didnt expect such a dramatic change. Claire had pulled back by now and i pushed on. Trekking until mile 105 where I found a nice creek to rest by.

After a few both Claire and Tori pulled up, ready to trek the last 4.5. I packed up, pulling myself from the serence creekside rock lounge chair, and pressed on towards eagle rock! It was such a cool formation when we finally reached it. We took turn snapping pictures, and climbing around on it. What a cool find!

We pushed the last 3.5 together very quickly, chatting as we went. Tori was half sweedish and was here between her masters and PHD in biological medicin. She wanted to study infectious diseases and make a difference in healthcare system. Really cool stuff. Pasture after pasture we pressed on, until dumping into a small wooded area and finally popping out at Warner Springs Civic Center!

What a cool place, free camping, wifi, showers, laundry, to all PCT hikers! We checked in, grabbed a spot to sleep, and headed into town for some food. After dinner and chatting it up w other hikers we road walked back to the camp. Tired but satusfied we made it back. What a great way to end a great day!

Hiker Profile:

Claire + Tori:

Claire – 33 from Glascow Scottland, came to America to NY, then drove route 66 fell in love with classic cars and motorcycles, now got inspired and wanted to try this hike despite never been camping before.

Tori – 24, Half swedish, half American just finished her Masters in Sweden getting ready to start a PHD in infectious diseases at University of Pennsylvania. Lived in Sweden for 3 years before coming to the west to hopefully complete her PCT hike before starting school in August.


PCT Day 5: Mile 68.5-88.5 Scissors Crossing


I listened to the water crash like waves on a beach with the rhythm of my steps.

I woke up from a real full nights rest. After pushing 22 miles plus an extra 2.2 for water I was pretty beat. I dont think I didnt moved an inch all night! I woke up, packed up and walked out to the trail to see Matt, the guy I trekked with on day 1! “Hey Mike, Whats up dude, I didnt think I was going to see you again!” He said. It was good to see him, Steve and Raj also rolled in with him and camped out.

Seemed like there was a pack of 7 of us total in the area and we were all headed for Scissor Crossings, our next water resupply (water cache). Water is life out here and being efficient but not too risky is key. I had 6 liters on me and didnt meee it all so offered the fellas some before I dumped it. They all divided it up, and I said fairwell and struck out on the trail.

These mountains reminded me of AZ. The cactus, the brown rock, ocotillo, buckhorn cholla, agave, it was all here except for the sugaros. As I trekked on I forgot to take the air out of my Sawyer Squeeze bladder, and I could hear the sloshing as I walked, it reminded me of the ocean. I trekked on until finding a nice spot at mile 5 to rest. Soon Bristlecone popped up to my surprise and we chatted for a minute about a recent Boeing tragedy . . . sad stuff. Done with my break I got up to leave just as Raj came rounded the corner. He was amed up and ready to trek. We pushed the next few miles to the crossing together chatting as we went. As soon as we got to the crossing booth Matt and Steve caught up. Just at that moment a hitch to Julian came availible and they all lept at the chance. I had other plans!

Raj, being silly

Scissor Crossing Water cache

I trekked the next miles alone, happy to do so as they were warm and the sun beaded down on me. I meandered in and out, seeing hikers and chatting as I went. Finally with my feet calling to me, I found a nice little pad to call home for the night. I had pushed 20, and my body knew it. Time to rest, another awesome day!

Hiker Profile:

Steven and Raj: UCSD graduates coming out to the PCT for a nice break after school. Steve was from NY and Raj Cali. Raj studies Human Biology and hoped to go back for pre-med and hopefully become a surgeon.

Bristlecone + Uber Bitch: A couple that had hiked the PCT twice together, once as a section, once as a thru hike. Now Uber Bitch (Emily) was helping to support Bristlecone do it as a thru hike at the ripe old age of 80. Dont let the age fool you, the guy can move!!


PCT Day 4: Mile 47.5-68.5 Rodriguez’s Fire Tank


Paint the landscape. Do it with words do it with oil, but you’ll never capture it’s true beauty.

In the morning the wind had finally died down. I had woke several times in the night to the howling wind and shivering cold, I sintched the hood of my sleeping bag down.

When my alarm blasted, I started moving with a purpose. To my surprise my tent was covered in a thin sheet of ice, my almost empty bottles had ice in them. Wow! It must have got into the 20s.

I packed up, shivering, and finally found sunlight as I walked the road from the campground back to the trail. I trekked on, taking in the views as i did. Finally I caught a full glimpse of the desert below. It reminded me of AZ. Soon i happened upon Dillan, sitting trailside painting, in oils of all things. We chatted for a bit and I pressed on.

I would trek for 5 miles then have a rest, rummaging through my bag for snacks, pulling my shoes off. I looked like a hobo no doubt. Turn after turn the trail gave me spectacular views.

Trail Magic!!!

Towards the end of the long day I came into camp, at Rodriguez’s fire tank, no water at the spigot, darn. My alternative water source was 1.1 miles downhill, I trekked it pretty tired already. I schleped 5 liters of clean water back to camp. Made dinner, put up the tent.

An older fella (80 years) came up to chat. His name was bristlecone, like the oldest pines. Apparently because he is the oldest thing on the trail. He was doing the full push to my amazement! Man what a day, never know who you’ll meet!

Hiker Profile:

The Painter – Dillian, 24, from Orange County New York, went to florence Italy for art school. He was a scenic painter for Jimmy Fallon, saved up to paint the PCT. Will be completing 6 oil paintings per week. If he has to skip sections he will, it’s mostly about the painting for him!


PCT Day 3: Mile 36-47.5 Laguna Mountain


Winds of change began to blow . . .

Holy crap it was windy today! I woke several times in the night to a few gusts of wind. The camp I chose below the oak tree was nestled in a small valley that was somewhat shielded by the winds. I got up and started the morning regiment before standing ready to start the day with my pack strapped on my back.

it was chilly to start and I left my hoody on. I trekked on through the high deser shub lined trail headed up towards MounLaguna, my next resupply. As I trekked I happened upon Jenn who was grabbing water from Long Canyon Creek, and joining in I chatted for a few. She was from Florida, and was happyto be back west in the mountains again. After gathering my water, I said goodbye and headed on. Trekking up and through the hills until right at mile 39 where I found the first pine of the day!

I was getting closer to the little Mountain community as soon enterered through Burn Rancheria Campground. To my surprise The Three Amigoes (As I started to call them) were hanging out by a bathroom resting for a quick break. I chatted with them as well and found that they came from Spain and had only been in the country a few days. Attempting the full push withh only 1 tent between the three of them!

Once again I pressed on and made it to Laguna Lodge where I resupplied my food in the store there. A decent selection but a little pricey. After chatting with a few other hikers on the porch I went back the way I came, started back on the PCT and pressed on. The wind began to build . . .

It was like a middle school bully trying to grab your hat by the bill because he wanted to play keepaway with it. The wind gusted. As I neared the edge of a dropoff it pushed even harder. My head down I forded my way up the trail shivering through until finally taking an exit on Sunrise Highway. I walked up to Laguna Mountain Campground where pleasenetly I found a shower and a wall outlet in the bathroom to charge my phone =)

Now im hunkered down, the wind continuing to gust beating on my tent walls, hoping that the 21 deg forecast for tonight is just a joke. Well see!!

Hiker Profile:

Jenn,Florida, early 20s after grandparents passed and moved way, came to hike. Used to live in Tucson Az where she learned to backpack.

The three amigos: John, Sich, Nerea. From barsalona Spain, hiking together, sleeping in 1 tent, seem to be good pals, mid 20s


Food Review: Mountain House Turkey Casserole


Water: 1 1/4 Cups Boiling

Cook Time: 9mins

Mountain House

Mountain House was kind enough to send me one of their dinners about to come out for me to test and review. Ill be straight up, I have never been a fan of casserole anything (I didnt have a choice in the meal they sent). However, this meal wasnt that bad.

When I first opened it, it smelled like thankgiving. I peered in, chunks of celery, chicken, stuffing. I was excitited, and as I began stirring I licked the spoon and was ready for it to be done so I could devour it!

When it was ready, I dove in: The taste was good, but what I think threw me off was that the bread pieces had turned to a mush, I guess in a way making it a casserole. It was good, not my favorite. If the beading didnt run to mush I think i would have gone bonkers for it.

Overall: 6/10 – Would eat it again to mix things up, but would’nt be my first or even third pick. Give it a go, especially if you are a casserole lover!


PCT Day 2: Mile 20-36 Lake Morena


North. Its simple, just walk North . . .

  • Start: Mile: 20 – Lake Morena
  • End: Mile 36 – Oak Tree

I woke early, at Lake Morena to the sound of my alam as usual. I wasnt ready to get up to the 35 degree morning and I could feel damage in my legs from the day before, but I knew it was time to move.

Mark stoked a fire and we got breakfast rolling! Bacon, hashbrowns, corn beef hash. A final feast before I set out on my own for the rest of the journey.

I soon packed up, belly full, said my goodbyes and start back on the the trail touching off where I had left before. The first section was open, high desert and wounded through. Every one in a while I would dive into a green glassland area with large cottonwoods suckling at a nearby creek. But then, back out to the high desert.

Vista after vista I kept on, breaking when I was ready, eating as much as I could. I stopped off at Kitchen Creek Falls for a nice dip and a awesome water resupply. The water was so freaking nice!

With spirits lifted, I trekked on, pushing up and through the sage and manzabita. In the final stretch to camp my legs began to tire. I could tell my calves were pretty beat. I pushed myself through the final miles to find a nice camp below a large Oak tree. Tent erected, food cooked and devoured, nothing left but a little shut eye to recover the old body. An awesome day!


PCT Day 1: Mile 0-20, Campo CA

  • Start: Mile 0 – Campo CA
  • End: Mile 20 – Lake Morena

It was surprisingly windy and in the 60s in the desert. Somehow I found myself standing on the boarder of Mexico and the US looking north towards Canada, only 2650 miles to go! . . . . Who thought this was a good idea?! My buddy Mark and his brother Michael offered to send me off. It had been 4 weeks since I put my 2 weeks notice in at my job, and everything seemed so scream by getting prepared. It just felt like starting a day hike, didnt seem real. There were 20 Miles between me and my next camp. Time to roll on!

Mark joined, Michael shuttled, met Matt another thru hiker keeping a similar pace. He was skinny, 25, from Peoria Il and strapped a bolstering pack. The landscape was surprisingly green down here and the temps and views were pretty stellar the whole first section. We strolled through open high desert to lush green tunnels and seeing water twice. It was undoubtedly beautiful. There were 19, count them 19 other thru hikers we saw that day, I’d never seen so many people backpacking within a 20 mile stretch.

We pulled into camp as the sun set at Lake Morena. Michael and his girlfriend were waiting. We stoked a fire, threw a final meal on and before long I was in my tent nuzzled up with the first day behind me. Crazy . . . But a really great day!

Hiker Profile: Matt

Matt – 25, skinny guy from Peoria Il and strapped a bolstering pack. He guided at a ranch in Wyoming and was pretty experienced with the outdoors. Also worked at Lego before he decided to leave the long hours to the outdoors!