Today we hiked to Agua Dulce where the Saufley’s, who are trail angels, host hikers in the back yard of their home.
Deb and I were given deluxe accommodations in one of the RVs out back. The small town boasts four eateries and we opted to try three of them for lunch (the cafe), dinner (mexican), and next day’s breakfast (the French bakery). All good. Amazingly our hosts were having a wedding reception the second night of our stay and invited all the hikers to partake of the food, drinks, and music and dance lessons. The hikers provided a card and monetary gift to the wedding couple as a thank you.
Surely an unexpected and delightful stay for us.
Photo: The wedding reception at the Saufley’s.
Trail Date: May 9-10th
Mileage: 16.1 miles
The hike today continued through the 2009 Station Fire burn area and the challenges continued too. More downed trees (Deb is now covered in soot), overgrown shrubs (taller than Deb), and the constant need to be on the lookout for poodle-dog bush.
Fortunately, the poodle-dog bush was mostly avoidable and we are now past the Station Fire.
We got water at the North Forks Ranger Station and continue on a few more miles and are now camped under the stars.
Tomorrow we will reach Agua Dulce, where we plan to take a zero day Saturday.
Photo: The Station Fire burn area.
Trail Date: Thursday, May 8th
Mileage: 20.6 miles
Today the Pacific Crest Trail entered the burn area of the 2009 Station Fire, one of the worst wildfires in recent California history.
At times this made for some difficult hiking. Even though the trail has been cleared of fallen trees, more continue to fall across the trail creating obstacles that hikers have to climb over.
A plant called poodle-dog bush grows in the burn area that causes skin irritation similar to poison oak, so we try not to touch the plant. For the most part the poodle-dog bush was avoidable today.
The burn area will continue tomorrow too.
Photo: Deb climbs over a burned tree blocking the trail.
Trail Date: Wednesday, May 7th
Mileage: 18.1 miles
The weather turned cool overnight and stayed cool throughout the day.
We hiked six miles on the Pacific Crest Trail and then walked an alternate route along Highway 2 for 2.7 miles because of the endangered species detour that has been in place for several years. Another alternate route is available that does not involve road walking, but it’s about 20 miles long and some of the trail is not in good condition.
We chased the sunshine all day without catching it for more than a couple of minutes. In the afternoon it began to snow. An inch or so accumulated on the trail and ground.
We passed the 400 mile mark of our hike today.
Photo: Frosty branches near Mount Williamson.
Trail Date: Tuesday, May 6th
Mileage: 17.7 miles
Wright wood is a hiker-friendly little town. The grocery store has a sign welcoming Pacific Crest Trail hikers next to a display of hiker food. The coffee shop gives hikers a free cup of coffee and takes their picture for the store’s photo album. The hardware store has a trail register.
The Pines Motel, where we stayed, gives rides to the trail and we signed up for one at 6:45 am.
Mount Baden-Powell was the highlight of the day. Named after the founder of the Boy Scouts. It was pretty windy on the summit. We had lunch partially sheltered by a gnarled tree and then hiked on to Little Jimmy Trail Camp.
Photo: Deb near the summit of Mount Baden-Powell.
Trail Date: Monday, May 5th
Mileage: 14.6 miles
Today was a nero, as we only hiked 4.9 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail crossing of Highway 2.
We met JJ at the highway and he gave us a ride into town along with Gotta Walk who we met on the trail just a few minutes earlier. Gotta Walk has hiked just about everywhere, including the 5,000 mile American Discovery Trail and the Triple Crown. We all went into town and had a great breakfast.
JJ dropped us off at the Pines Motel, where we cleaned up and resupplied at the local grocery store. We were both still a little tired from yesterday’s climb so we mostly relaxed in our room. We did a little online shopping – Lon is looking very svelte lately and other hikers have been noticing too. He ordered a smaller size of hiking pants. He, of course, attributes his weight loss to Deb eating more than her share of the food.
Photo: The Pines Motel, our home for the night.
Trail Date: Sunday, May 4th
Mileage: 4.9 miles