Idyllwild to Wrightwood, mile 178 to 370

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Me and Maverick started out from Idyllwild just before noon on May 14th. Going up the switchbacks at Devil’s slide went way better than expected. I had come to realize that my shoes ,and insoles in partcular, were starting to wear out, but I couldn’t find new ones in Idyllwild. But as long as I didn’t have to go downhill I was happy. As we were going up Devil’s Slide we stopped to talk to two guys who were hiking in San Jacinto. As we were talking and just shooting the breeze they asked us how our feet were doing. I explained that mine were doing OK under the circumstances, but that I was really looking forward to getting to Big Bear and buy new insoles. Then one of them asked me what size I am. As I went “10,5” he reached into his backpack and pulled out a new pair of insoles: “Here you go. Take these. I bought new shoes and new pair of insoles, but brought the original ones just in case, but I don’t need them anymore.” So how about that! Another incident of trail magic. The new insoles saved my feet all the way to Wrightwood. Thanks!

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We ran into fellow PCT’er Dave Usher after the switchbacks and hiked the PCT alternate route to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto. The view was spectacular and we spent about 45 minutes on the summit before heading back down and hooking back up with the PCT. We continued for a few more miles and set up camp on Fuller Ridge.

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The next day we hiked down what seemed to be the neverending switchbacks from Fuller Ridge to Interstate 10. We got rattled at once and were also attacked by a swarm of africanized bees, but we survived them all. We made a quick stop by the water fountain at the end of the switchbacks. It was very nice of the Water District to provide water to the hikers, but to put up a fountain instead of a faucet in one of the most windy places on earth. Come on! Filling up water bottles was a nightmare. Well, thanks for the tease. I made a stop by trail angels at Snow Creek Village. Met up with Peter from Boston and had some beers and oranges in the shade before heading down to I-10. Met up with Maverick, Rob and Brian under the highway where they had already discovered the cache of beer, soda and snacks. After feasting on the cache for a little bit we decided to go out to Burger King in Cabazon. We hitched a ride with a local resident Richard and took a taxi back to the trail. BK was awesome of course 🙂 Instead of staying under the bridge we decided to try to make it up to trail angels Ziggy and Bear, but as darkness had already set in we couldn’t find their house and set up camp on the trail instead.image

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The night was really windy. When we woke up the next morning we realized that we had actually camped less than 500 meters from Ziggy and Bear, so it was an easy hike in. Ziggy and Bear greeted us with foot baths, shade, beverages, snacks and internet. What a great place. Thank you so much for the hospitality Ziggy and Bear. As we sat there more and more hikers were coming in, and the mercury kept rising all the way to 106 Fahrenheit. The result was that we ended up hanging around until about 17:00 before heading out. We managed to put in 10 miles and set up camp.

The next day we continued up the canyon. Maverick, Rob and Brian wanted to take a longer break so I decided to continue on alone for a bit. I encountered one rattle snake and a snake shed going up the canyon. I also passed Spiderlegs, who at age 77 might just be the oldelst hiker on the trail. I ran out of water going up the canyon, but made it up to the campground without any major problem. The water at the spring tasted great.

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I got up early next morning to try to make it all the way to Big Bear City. I encountered a grizzly bear on yhe way, but fortunately it was in a cage 🙂 I almost ran out of water once again, but held my hopes up for the next water cache. To my disappointment the next water cache turned out empty and I ended up cursing and swearing. I continued hiking and found out to my surprise that there was another water cache just a mile up ahead. And what a water cache. Theh even put a couch out there. I made it all to Highway 18 and set up camp there.

I caught a ride into Big Bear City the next morning. The post office didn’t open until 13:00 so I had plenty of time. First I went to do laundry, and met up with hikers Barracuda and Sparrow. Barracuda and Sparrow are son and mother. Barracuda is only 7 years old and wants to be the youngest hiker to do the PCT. I have no doubt that he will succeed. Best of luck Barracuda! I did a nero i Big Bear and hiked out at around 18:00. I put in around 10 miles before pitching my tent in the dark.

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Ran into Sanjay on the way from Big Bear. We hiked separately, but ran into eachother again on the way to the hot springs. We hiked together to the hot springs and to the next campsite where we camped with Jeremy, Marcus and Lunch Box.

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Woke up the next morning to the voices of Rest Stop and Knees who where hiking by. Me and Sanjay caught up to them after a few hours and ended uphiming with them all the way until I-15. Once we reached the I-15 we started out with a better meal at McDonald’s. Knees’ friend Mike had decided to come up from L.A. and visit him on the trail. Once he heard that we planned to camp under the highway he objected and would hear nothing of that. So he went ahead and arranged a room at Best Western for us. Just another act of trail magic!

We hit the trail relatively late next morning. Hit the switchbacks and went all the way onto the ridge. After a long days hike we finally made it to Guffy campground where we spent the night. Had a windy night before heading down to Wrightwood and resupplies 🙂

I did another 5 miles the next morning and hitchiked down to Wrightwood. Got my resupply box at the post office and ran in to RestStop and Sanjay and his father and had breakfast with them. Sanjay and RestStop caught a ride back to the trail while I decided to stay in Wrightwood and wait for my new pair of hiking pants that were supposed to arrive the next morning.

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