Wrightwood to Kennedy Meadows, mile 370 to 702

My friend Tony drove up from Orange County to visit while I was in Wrightwood. We took a short trip down to nearby town Phelan before heading back to Wrightwood and eating lunch there. As Tony drove back to O.C. to pick up his wife my resupply package had still not arrived and I had to stay in Wrightwood until the next day. My resupply finally arrived in the early afternoon the next day and I could prepare to hike out. Just as I was about to start hitching back to the trail I ran into Kindergarten Cop. He had just rolled into town together with Maverick, Bacon Bit and Gumby and I joined them for a beer before heading out. The hitch back to the trail was quite easy and I arrived at the trail at around 17:00.

Ice forming on pine trees at Mt. Baden-Powell

By the time I hit the trail dark clouds had assembled overhead and a cold wind was blowing from the south. The forest provided good shelter though, and the first few miles went by quite easy. As I was going the switchbacks to Mt. Baden-Powell I could feel the temperature dropping significantly and the wind increasing in speed. Still determined to continue I put on my wool shirt and my GoreTex jacket and continued up the mountain. Up until this point in the hike my wool underwear and my GoreTex jacket had been dead weight in my backpack, but they now came to their right. I summited Mt. Baden-Powell at 20:00 in gale force winds and freezing temperatures. Ice was forming the pine trees and my water bottles started to freeze up. I was doing just fine myself, but decided that Mt. Baden-Powell wasn’t a very friendly place to hang around right then and I continued hiking on. As darkness set in the wind fortunately calmed down and at 23:00 I arrived at Little Jimmy campground. Tired, but happy. When I woke up the next morning the sun was shining and everything was back to normal, and I could continue my hike north and down from the San Gabriel Mountains.

Tent camp at the Saufley's

Coming down from the San Gabriel Mountains I first stopped by in Agua Dulce, home of trail angels Jeff and Donna Saufley, also known as Hiker Heaven. For a number of years now they have been accommodating PCT hikers at their estate allowing hikers to stop and  rest for a day or two, do laundry, get their resupply packages as well as organizing trips to REI in L.A. A truly amazing place. I stayed there for two nights.

Andersons a.k.a. Casa de Luna

Just one day after leaving the Saufley’s I arrived at the next trail angels, Terry and Joe Anderson of Green Valley, also know as Casa de Luna. Terry and Joe invites hikers to come and chill at their house and camp in the back yard. True to traditions Terry serves taco salad in the evening and Joe makes pancakes in the morning. Every now and then Terry also arranges chocolate wrestling! She did when I stayed there, but unfortunately I had gone to bed already and missed out on that one. Darn. The Anderson’s are an amazing, kind and hospitable family that really lives up to their motto “Hippie Daycare”. I only stayed one night, but wish I would have had time to stay longer.

Los Angeles aqueduct

Next stop was Hikertown, a small movie set-like property with several western-like buildings that hikers can stay in. Hikertown is the last stop before crossing the Mojave desert and often serves as a rally point and last chance to resupply before Tehachapi. I stayed in Hikertown for one night and hiked out early the next morning. The crossing of the Mojave desert was easier than expected, and although high winds the temperature was much lower than normal for this time of year. I followed the PCT along the Los Angeles aqueduct through the desert, then hitting the hills and the wind farms and back up into the mountains and to the town of Tehachapi to resupply.

After resupplying in Tehachapi I headed back to the trail only to be met by extremely strong winds. The trail followed on top of an exposed ridge and although the sun was shining and the temperature wasn’t too bad it proved to be an inhospitable environment. I have experienced many a storm and even hurricanes back in Norway, but I can safely say that I have never experienced winds like this. I had a hard time standing on my feet and not falling, and several hikers who had set out before me were aborting coming back down. Me and another hiker Backtrack decided to have a go at it though, and after traversing a few hot spots the trail gradually led me into more sheltered terrain before finally hitting the forest.

I reached Kennedy Meadows on June 10th, 6 days after leaving Tehachapi. I got my resupply box and my bear canister and did the necessary supplements at the general store and decided to stay the night before heading back out.

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