PCT Day 29 – Splinters Cabin

PCT Day 29 – Splinters Cabin

12.6 miles, near 298.5

• We woke up with the best intentions of cleaning the house, running to the post office, and getting back on the trail early, but we didn’t get out and hiking until sometime after noon. We walked a good hour before stopping and eating lunch.

• The trail followed the creek for most the day, in and out of the pines and along ridges carved into the hills. We passed a few campgrounds and crossed a big bridge over Deep Creek before heading off trail a few hundred feet towards our camp at a picnic area called Splinters Cabin. There’s a covered wooden structure containing a concrete pad and picnic table that hikers are cowboy camping underneath.

• As soon as the sun went down, the temperature plummeted. It may be close to freezing, so we’ll sleep with our water filters. It may also rain overnight, so the covered shelter could help us if we get in a bind.

• It’s nice to use a picnic table for once, instead of sitting in the dirt. And although we just did a shake down, I acquired a small piece of foam pad from a friend that I can use for sitting when I cook at camp.

PCT Day 28 – Snow Day

PCT Day 28 – Snow Day

• Went into town for breakfast at a Mexican place. We arrived 10 min after opening, but they weren’t quite ready. They had us turn on the corona neon sign above our booth.

• We stopped at the fish and tackle shop, someone needed socks and we heard it was the place to go. They happened to have Salomon shoes, which Carie has had good luck with in the past, so she bought a new pair and dumped her current pair of Altra’s that we bought in desperation on day 10. Really feeling good about this pair, it’s going to be the one she needs and will leave the pain behind 🤞🏼

• We spent the rest of the afternoon at the cabin doing shake downs, going through each persons stuff and discussing if they could drop any extra or unnecessary gear. It’s a good exercise in pack management, what’s in your backpack that you haven’t used in the last 4 weeks? We all found a few things to ditch or send ahead or send home.

• The weather was decent in the morning, but it did end up sleeting and snowing in the afternoon with high winds. Definitely not stuff we’d want to hike in, so I think it was a good decision to lay low one more day.

PCT Day 27 – Holcomb Creek

PCT Day 27 – Holcomb Creek

19.8 miles, near 285.9

Today we slack packed 20 miles. Slack packing is when you carry just what you need for the day, leaving behind the camping gear and all other weight. We checked the weather and saw a storm coming with snow tomorrow, so we are going to do some hiking today and stay at the cabin again, so we can knock out some miles and do less with our full backpack. One of our friends is sick and not hiking, so he dropped us off at the trailhead and will pick us up when we’re done at the nearest road.

• We passed a campground on the trail and 2 boys asked if we saw their missing dog, “Kangu”, who ran off last night. I said no, they said “dang”.

• I listened to my favorite Beatles album Abbey Road while hiking. I love listening to music on the trail, it passes the time and you can listen much more intently. It seems like there’s never time in our normal lives to just sit down and listen to an entire album without multitasking, so this is a perfect time to do it. Unless you commute a lot I guess, but I never did. And yes, I am multitasking by walking, but I can dedicate 95% of my focus to listening to all the layers and instruments, and visualizing them performing.

• There was some fundraiser/walk going on today, so we shared the trail with a lot of day hikers. One couple was blasting music on a Bluetooth speaker, a bunch of obnoxious top 40 from last decade. Now I have “I believe in a thing called love” stuck in my head.

• There were a bunch of kids hanging on the PCT sign, so I powered by and down the wrong side trail. Yes, I blame it on the kids. I kept seeing day hikers pass by, so I checked the map and had to turn around.

• Despite all the signs that say “no bikes or motorized vehicles”, we passed a guy on a mountain bike with his dog.

• Lots of dirt bike and off road action, and gun shots echoing from down the valley. I guess this is the spot for the local red necks to kick back.

• Spent too much money at the brewery once we got back to town for dinner. They wanted $9 for a pint.

PCT Day 26 – Big Bear Zero

PCT Day 26 – Big Bear Zero

Woke up to a big breakfast of cheesy eggs and potatoes, along with giant pancakes. We packed up, said goodbye to the doggos, and headed into town. We picked up some resupply groceries and started walking to a sub place across the parking lot when a nice lady yelled over to us. She ended up giving us a ride to the sporting goods store, then some hiker friends met us and and we went to the zoo.

• Our new friendly lady shared a lot of detail on her recent split with her asshole husband. She made all these secret plans for a new life and ghosted him when he was out to a doctors appointment. She also couldn’t figure out how to control her Bluetooth pandora station, so every time she starts the car, “The Eagles” station starts playing (“…I hate the fuckin’ eagles, man!”)

• The zoo takes in rescues or animals that need rehabilitation. It was a little small, but they are building a new and bigger location just down the road. The exhibits were great for viewing the animals and most of the animals were out and moving around.

• There was 3 grizzly bears, 1 mom and 2 cubs. The cubs are actually 25 years old and mom is 35, so totally full grown. When I wandered up, grizzly mom was sitting back and nursing her “cubs”…

• The bears were extra active because it was close to dinner time. The brother and sister would spar and play fight. Usually one would walk up to the other and start jawing, then fall over and roll around, it was cute.

• Some of our hiker friends have a family vacation home across the lake, so we are staying there for the night. We picked up food to cook and watched Forrest Gump.

• The cabin is super retro with lots of wood paneling, shag carpet, old appliances, oil lamp decorations, and shelves of VHS tapes. A huge improvement from last night, we will have a bed to sleep in and no ants (didn’t mention it yesterday, but the trail angels house was a little dirty/messy and had an ant problem, about what you’d expect with a dozen hikers coming through every day).

PCT Day 25 – Big Bear Nero

PCT Day 25 – Big Bear Nero

3.9 miles, near 252.1

So much to say about today.

• Alarm went off at 455 so we could break camp and get a lot of miles in before it rained.

• Didn’t get all the wind as expected last night. Very calm this morning, woke up with all the songbirds and woodpeckers. It’s cloudy, but was able to witness an intense sunrise for 2 minutes before it turned back to gray.

• After a few miles, Carie was feeling dizzy and really down. We walked until we reached an access point to the highway and tried to get a hitch into big bear. Not many cars going north, but a lady stopped for us after waiting about 15 minutes.

• She dropped us off in big bear city at a small motel, which kinda left us stranded. Most of the restaurants and places we needed are in big bear lake 5 miles west. There’s a local trail angel “papa smurf” that hosts hikers and gives rides around town, so we called him and he drove us to the health clinic to get Carie checked out. She was feeling achy like the flu, but she was likely just dehydrated and experiencing mild altitude sickness.

• We got an Uber to downtown big bear lake and ate at the Indian restaurant. It was the best masala I’d ever eaten. I was so full but hungry again 4 hours later.

• Papa smurf picked us up after lunch and we settled in at his house. We reunited with a couple friends and went back to the village for beers, Mexican food, and a milkshake.

• We started talking to an older couple next to us, they gave us a ride back to the house. The lady wanted to buy our “dinner” (the milkshake, we ate ate dinner somewhere else), but didn’t have her wallet, only enough cash for her meal. She drove home, got $100, and drove back to give the 5 of us $20 each. So incredibly generous! We are building up a lot of good karma to pay forward.

• There were a few hikers at the house before we arrived, then a few more arrived, then another group even later. We setup our stuff on a triple decker bunk bed. I counted at least 14 hikers in the house, spread out on the couches and floor. I think there may have been even more outside in a big tent with cots.