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Tim writing now - why is this? - because it's my body that has now caused us to terminate this hike. At the Cajon Pass, in the hotel after 30 hours, dehydration snuck up on me, and Gerri had to call an ambulance to take me 20 miles to a hospital. After 18 hours and 6 bags of IV fluid, with a UTI, we took a cab back to the hotel and stayed 3 more days. The bigger issue has been my flat feet (and inward turning ankles), and at this point I have gone through two pairs of trailhiker shoes, and am now wearing hiking boots with my orthodics having been mailed to me from Ohio. With 5 days rest on the feet and hopefully better footwear for me, we were hoping for the best. I'd been taking 600 mg Ibuprofen to get through the last half of the hiking days for this whole adventure. We left Cajon Pass back onto the trail on Saturday (10 May) and after 5 miles, feet pain is already bad. We both knew over the last 100 miles of trail that my feet weren't progressing towards healthiness, but we still hoped for the best. So at Mile 357 we ate lunch and concluded that my feet will not be able to carry me another 2300 miles without continued misery, and make the 20 mile days eventually required to complete this trip as a through-hike. Gerri could have continued and built to those 20 mile days to succeed - she won't continue alone. So we are done and left to ponder what could have been. The next of our adventures may be just as crazy, but not as brutal on my feet. As for Gerri's PCT dream, not sure anything could replace it. Thanks for following us.
Cajon Pass - Interstate 15, CA (Zero Day)
Not much to say today since we spent the entire day in the hotel room watching movies. This was a true zero day versus the other days we took off in towns. When we are in towns we needed to be out, walking around, and checking out the town...not really relaxing. Here, since we are at an exit off the interstate there is nothing to walk around and see.
So...a true zero before a big climb of 20 miles over the next 2 days. Bring it on!
Chamise Boat-in Picnic Area to Cajon Pass - Interstate 15, CA
Our first night of cowboy camping was interesting. I woke up feeling like ants and spiders were crawling all over me (which they weren't), but all I had to do is look up at the sky and realize that it was pretty cool to be sleeping under the stars. Plus, as soon as I woke in the morning, I got to see this:
Here are pictures of this boat-in picnic area that we stayed at last night:
Packing up was a lot easier since we didn't have to take down the tent. We made it on the trail by 7:30. Now only 15.6 miles stood between us and a hotel room.
For a few miles in the morning we had a great view of Silverwood Lake.
Then we came across this sign that indicated that Interstate 15, where the hotel is, is under 14 miles away.
So onward we walked. After almost 6 miles Silverwood Lake was far behind.
Oh yeah...we almost forgot to take our daily picture. It was quite windy out there today.
The trail today was similar to yesterday. Here are some of the highlights:
We finally made it down to Cajon Pass and this sign slapped us in our faces.
The good news...the other side of the sign was this:
0.8 miles later we were checking into the Best Western and decided to stay for two nights and rest our bodies since the next 20 miles is all up hill.
Under Rainbow Bridge to Chamise Boat-in Picnic Area, CA
I know, 3 pictures of one bridge seem like a lot, but the bridge is pretty cool.
A little bit later we took our morning picture. Today we weren't as excited since there was no hot springs to stop at, but we are getting closer to a hotel stay in Cajon Pass.
For the first few miles we had the same view as most of yesterday, Deep Creek way down below.
And then we came around a bend and saw Mojave Dam.
We walked way down there and across to the mountains on the right and then had a fun filled day of walking up and down and around mountains. Here is what our trail looked like throughout the day:
Oh, I forgot, we did walk a little thorough a valley and came across some trial magic.
We finally got to a spot that we considered staying at for the night. This is where we met Double Tap. He was thinking about staying here too. Then, we looked behind us and saw 2 coyotes....and we were off.
One of my trail guides mentioned a boat-in picnic area so we made that our new goal for the night. It was just under 3 miles and it was already 6 pm, so at our speed we should get there by 7:30...just before sunset. Double Tap agreed to join us, so off we went.
In about a mile we came across a cooler with some more trail magic for the day. It was stocked with nectarines, strawberries, Cadbury cream eggs, hard boiled eggs, and water. It may be one of the best caches yet.
About 1 mile later we came across Silverwood Lake, where our campsite should be.
Finally, 2 miles later we found the place. It was getting dark, so I didn't get any pictures...but tomorrow there will be some. I did get a picture of our camping site:
That's right. We are going to sleep on the ground, next to a picnic table, without our tent. They call this Cowboy Camping. By the way, we did not want to do this. We tried to pitch the tent, but the dirt is like concrete and we couldn't drive the stakes. I'll let you know how it goes.
Bench Camp to Under Rainbow Bridge, CA
Today I awoke with some excitement because of three things. One, the guys that we shared a campsite with did not make noise allowing us to have a great night sleep. Two, as you can see by the miles hiked today, we hit a another milestone. Three, which is the best, you will just have to read on and see.
We packed up and were on the trail before 8:30 am today...we keep getting a bit faster in the morning. Goal one again was to make it to the first water which today was 3.76 miles away. We left feeling good, mostly because of what was coming up today. We climbed up from our campsite and was welcomed by this view:
Then we re-entered the burn area which has it own weird beauty:
We finally made it to the Deep Creek where we filtered 6 liters of water and took a bit of a break:
After the break we climbed back up to the trail and crossed this pretty impressive bridge (bridge 1 of 2 today).
After the bridge, we climbed up above Deep Creek where we pretty much stayed the rest of the day. The trail climbed a lot, the temperature was pretty warm, and the trail was quite exposed with little shade and really no where to take a break.
We did come across these cool flowers that reminded us of something out of Dr. Seuss.
And then, just around noon we made it to 300 miles!!
After a bit of celebration, we continued up the trail. Here is the view we pretty much had most of the day. It was a bit frustrating when we were hot and the water we were drinking was getting hot and there was all that water way down there that we couldn't access.
Then we came across bridge number 2. Another engineering marvel.
Now it was getting a bit late. We needed to get to mile 307.80 with enough time to hang out and then still hike a couple of more miles to make 15 miles today. So we pushed on for 5 miles with very little breaks. When we were within 1 mile I took this picture hoping we just had to go around the bend.
What is this great thing just around the bend at mile 307.8? Here it is...the Deep Creek Hot Springs.
Being a weekend there was a bunch of local people hanging out with a smattering of PCT thru-hikers. Because this place was clothing-optional (BTW...we chose the clothing option)l, I didn't want to take any picture there, but it was so nice. There were multiple pools of different temperatures. I went from hot and the jumped into the cold creek and it felt great. We hung out there for 1.5 hours and even then I didn't want to leave...although Tim had enough.
Anyway, it was 6 pm and it was time to go since we had no idea where we would be camping tonight since the map didn't indicate any campsites. We knew from looking at the map that we climbed back up and then in a couple of miles we came back down to the creek...this is where we were hoping to find a place to camp.
Oh...here is a cool picture of Tim on the trail walking between flowers. How do they grow in that crushed granite?
Then we viewed another bridge:
Just before the trail crossed it, we noticed a smaller trail going down below it towards what we were hoping was a place to pitch the tent. That bridge will have to wait till tomorrow. We went down and there were 3 other people camping in the obvious spots. We found a smaller spot and Tim worked his civil engineering magic and was able to level it out well enough for us to pitch the tent.
The tent went up, I cooked dinner, and we got in the tent by 8:30 pm...a bit later than usual. Actually, it is now 9:30 pm, about 45 minutes past my bedtime. So goodnight!
1.49 miles North of Holcomb Valley Road (2N09) to Bench Camp, CA
Last night was great. The tent site was flat and the temperature was chilly, but not too cold. All in all a perfect night. We woke at 6:30 am and actually made it on the trail by 8:45. This was the first time in a long time that we got on the trail before 9 am...and with the longer miles, we need to get out earlier.
The first goal of the day was to make it to a water source 5.5 miles away. We had plenty of water to get there, but with us doing 15 miles we find that we have to break it down into smaller sounding numbers.
We started decending pretty soon after starting and wound up in a burned out forest.
As we approached the water source, we came upon these wild berries. Neither of us were willing to try them out, but they did look edible to me.
Finally, we made it to Little Bear Springs Trail Camp which sits on Holcomb Creek. The wooden structure is an outhouse.
Also at this trail camp was a picnic bench, so we took the opportunity to eat lunch even through it was a bit early. By the way, we covered the first 5.5 miles of the day by 11:15...pretty good.
The rest of the day we hiked along Holcomb Creek although we did climb above it for some time. We hiked through very diverse terrain from green forest to burned forest to boulders.
We also came across some new flowers:
And finally, I was able to catch a butterfly in action.
We hit 10 miles at 2:00 when we took a 30 minute break instead of our usual calling it a day and setting up camp. The last 4.5 miles (we actually hikes 14.5 miles today) were not too bad. Our destination for the night was Bench Camp. With 0.6 miles to Bench Camp we came across Holcomb Creek Camp which looked pretty nice, but there were 3 tents setup there already, so on we went when we saw this sign:
One quarter mile later we made it to Bench Camp to find 3 tents and about 6 guys and a dog staying there. The next campsite wasn't for at least 3.5 miles, so our choice was to stay, or hike back the 0.6 miles to the last campsite. Since backwards didn't sound too good, we decided to just stay here and hope that we are tired enough to sleep through the noise that I'm sure will ensue till at least midnight.
Oh well, at least the tent site is flat, and if I listen real hard, I can hear the creek down below our tent.
Big Bear Lake to 1.49 miles North of Holcomb Valley Road (2N09), CA
I set the alarm last night to wake us at 5:30 am so we would have time to go to the Grizzly Manor for their famous pancakes. Needless to say, the alarm went off, but I wasn't going to get up. Plus, I was still full from the pizza we ate at 9 pm last night.
The plan today is to catch the ride from the hostel back to the trail at 8:30 am and then hike 15 miles. Well...we did catch the ride, but we didn't quite make the 15 miles, but there was a good reason.
Anyway, we started the hike feeling good after 1 1/2 days of rest.
However, we were a little apprehensive on this new mileage goal. We set off hiking and went over 5 miles before taking a break because we didn't know if we would be able to get all these miles in if we took all the breaks we were taking on the 10 mile days.
I did, however, manage to get some nifty pictures:
Then, after 11 miles of hiking we went around a bend and saw the view of Big Bear Lake, where we just stayed. It was kind of crazy to see where we left after hiking 11 miles. It kind of makes us feel like we aren't getting anywhere.
The reason we should be able to get 15 miles in now is that this next 5 day stretch has only 614 feet per day average climbing. This is compared to 2 or 3 times that much in the past. With less climbing we should be able to average 2 miles per hour. So, in only 7.5 hours we should be able to cover 15 miles.
Today we made it 14 miles although we could have made it to 15. The reason we stopped is that there was no campsite listed until the 19 mile point. Once we hit 13.5 miles we decided to start looking for a place to pitch the tent. At 14 miles we found the perfect spot. We considered going on and hoping to find another one closer to the 15 mile point, but it was coming on to 6 pm and I wasn't feeling like taking the chance of not finding a spot till 7 pm and then having to cook and eat dinner in the dark. So, we stopped. Tomorrow there is a designated campsite right at 14.6 miles, so we will be inching even closer to the 15 mile mark.