Pacific Crest Trail -

Northbound

It’s been 8 days so far and the hike is going great. We are currently spending the night at the Stagecoach Trails campground 3 miles from Scissors Crossing at mile 77.1. It is a really fantastic town and a well deserved night off the trail.
We left Lake Morena on Monday morning and hiked 6 miles into Boulder Oaks Campground arriving around noon. I was so relieved to see that the camp ground not only had water spigots but also large picnic tables under huge shade bearing trees. There were a few other hikers strewn about in shady areas, all trying to beat the heat of the incredible mid day sun. I thought we had a clear idea of what the sun would feel like in the desert, it turns out not so much. We have been carrying a bit of extra water everywhere we go because I just don’t mind the weight or stopping every ten minutes to “water” Buddy. Afternoon naps are the most incredible thing here, even Buddy is starting to catch on to their glory. After our nap I re-learned my lesson about cooking anything other than water in our JetBoil, bad idea. I used a few handfuls of sand and some water and was lucky to get all the burnt bits off the bottom. I remember CoMomdo and I talking about how some people cook in them and just let the bottom crust get thicker as time goes on, this just doesn’t work for me. I like to keep it clean. We were greeted once again by the infamous Pilgrim who had just strolled in just as we were packing up to move on. Buddy led the way as we hiked up another 6 miles into Fred Canyon.
When we awoke in the morning we were greeted by the wonderfully cheerful Uke (Short for Ukelele). He also hiked the Appalachian Trail last year, we missed meeting him several times by just a day or too, really sweet guy. Buddy enjoyed hiking the first few miles of his day with Uke before we had to stop and wait for Dion to catch up with us. We only went 10 miles that day but hiked them quickly because we were trying to make it to the store before they closed at 5. Being the speed daemons that we are we made It with an hour to spare. We picked out a spot just outside the border of the Burnt Rancheria Campground, which hasn’t yet opened for the season, then headed into the little town of Mount Laguna. Buddy was really excited to meet Dave who runs the gear shop in town, we’ve been following his photos on Facebook of all the hikers coming through. We stopped by the extremely overpriced general store for a small resupply stop and hot dogs for dinner. Overall, a great day on the trail.
We awoke around 7 as usual the next day and headed 6 miles to the Laguna Campground. It was an amazing AMAZING hike, the trail was so flat and easy to hike with breath taking views from beginning to end. I just can’t believe the views will get better than this. Coming upon the large showers in the campground was also a beautiful view to be seen! After a few days of desert hiking you discover sand in places you never thought it would reach. Dion got a bit lost and ended up hiking a mile to far to the Penny Fountain, but eventually figured out where we were. Buddy and I just hung our near the bathrooms for our afternoon siesta and charged our electronics. We waited until around 5 to hike on another 5 miles to the Pioneer Mail Picnic Area.
As we set out the next morning we immediately came upon a water cache with two Gatorade bottles left, it was our lucky day! They were Buddy’s favorite flavor and still pretty cold. Thank you amazing trail angel. That day we went to Sunrise Trail head for the afternoon, along the way enjoying an incredibly refreshing afternoon sun-shower. We enjoyed the shade of the bathroom building in the parking area for the trail head before moving on to a camp spot on the other side of the Rodrigues Spur Trail.
That morning I woke up to poor Dion with a nose bleed and feeling rather defeated. I think the mixture of heat and dehydration are also causing his insomnia to keep him awake even though he is beyond exhausted. Poor Dion, we hate to see him down. Buddy is extra wonderful when someone isn’t feeling well so he spent the morning trying to make D laugh and feel better. We had a glorious 9 mile hike into Scissors crossing, it was hot and sunny but there was a strong wind blowing that kept us cool and moving to stay warm. It was all Dion could do to stay awake to finish the last few miles when about half a mile from the road we see the most glorious sign a hiker can come across:
Barbecue, all for you.
And once again, all is right with the world. Sleep does not matter when there is meat grilling close by! As we came upon the overpass for Scissors crossing there it was, a grill with chicken and hot dogs being manned by the one and only Monty of Warner Springs. We met a bunch of other hikers we hadn’t met before, caught up with some people we started with and got to know this great woman named Sarah. Sarah is getting off the trail to go back to Portland to be with the love of her life, her husband. She just can not stand another day without him and realized this just isn’t a journey she wants to have without him. So, she is heading home in a few days after she is finished helping Marty with his Trail Angel BBQ. She gave us some of her incredibly well prepared and vacuum sealed dehydrated meals she isn’t going to use and I could be more excited to try them. I love home made dehydrated food, it’s infinitely better than store bought. We ate for a bit while Buddy ran around taking photos and videos of all the other hikers there before heading off to Stagecoach Campground.
We were lucky enough to get a ride from Larry the trail angel who maintains the water supply at mile 77. He’s a really amazing person who does a really amazing thing. He brings tons and tons of gallons of water every single day to that spot for hikers because the rivers have all run dry there. After that water cache there isn’t guaranteed water for almost 20 miles, without him hikers would have to carry water for almost 30 miles. We couldn’t thank him enough, what he does is just wonderful.
The Stagecoach in is just delightful. It is exactly what it sounds like it would be. We are sleeping inside a covered wagon with two twin beds. Unfortunately it is too windy to go in the pool, although we did dip our feet in for a bit. After a great night sleep we ate too many chicken pot pies and ice cream sandwiches before catching a ride back to Sissors crossing.
As I type we are sitting under the bridge waiting for the sun to go down a bit. We have been hearing from everyone what a rough section this can be, so we are going to wait till late afternoon to make a push up the first 9 miles of this climb. We are well prepared with 10 liters of water and enough food for four days although it should only take us 2 1/2 to get to Warner Springs which is our first big town. We are heading out now, wish us luck as we get through one of the ‘toughest spots’ on the trail. We will let you know how it goes when we get to the other side of these never ending switchbacks.
** Update at 7 pm – We made it to mile 85 which is 7.5 miles of the possible 20 mile stretch without water in no time flat. I walked to the end of this ridge and I am sitting on the side of the trail in the most amazing weather with the best view I’ve ever posted a blog post from. Life is incredible today.