Day 31: Bike Spring to Guffy Campground

We got an early (for us) 6 am start as we made the long slow climb up the waterless section of the Pacific Crest Trail to the mountains above Wrightwood.

We had amazing views as we climbed. We could see Cajon Pass below and the thousands of cars speeding along the interstate highway to Los Angeles. We could see San Gorgonio Mountain that we passed on our way to Big Bear and Mount San Jacinto, where we were two weeks ago.

It seemed to take forever to reach the cool shade of the pine trees, especially since we were running a little low on water and had to conserve.

We made it to Guffy Campground around 3:30, tired but happy.

Photo: Deb fills up with water at the end of the day at Guffy Spring

Trail Date: Saturday, May 3rd

Mileage: 16.9 miles

Day 30: Little Horsethief Canyon to Bike Spring

This morning’s hike took us to Cajon Pass, which is where the Pacific Crest Trail passes under Interstate Highway 15. It’s well known by PCT hikers as the location of the only McDonald’s on the trail (well 3/10 mile from the trail, anyway).

We arrived in time for breakfast (Deb’s included a chocolate milkshake – she has been hungry on this leg) and found it pretty good compared to the trail food we have been eating recently. We bought two days of food from the Chevron gas station/mini mart next door and relaxed on the grass in the shade outside for awhile with a dozen or so other hikers. Until the sprinklers turned on soaking everyone and their packs. Actually this bit of trail mischief felt good.

It’s been warm recently and the next 22.5 miles of the PCT have no water and 8,000 feet of climbing up into the mountains near Wrightwood.

We had been debating the best strategy for this section, but naturally chose Deb’s approach which was to depart under the scorching sun during the hottest part of the day with our packs heavily loaded with 5 liters (11 pounds each) of water. She was determined to resist the magnetic pull of the Best Western motel which is also located at Cajon Pass.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad as we took our time on the long hot climb and are now camped 16.9 miles away from the next water. We should be able to reach water tomorrow night, and then have a short (nero) into Wrightwood on Sunday.

PS – We just learned hiker Chris was reunited with his pack and he is now ahead of us on the trail.

Photo: Deb looking down at Cajon Pass

Trail Date: Friday, May 2nd

Mileage: 12.2 miles

Day 29: Grass Valley Creek to Little Horsethief Canyon

Today’s hike was along the shores of the very pretty Silverwood Lake. Flowers were blooming everywhere.

We stopped at the picnic area where we got water and rinsed out some clothes. We had them drying on the picnic tables and a tree limb when a park truck pulls up and the driver walks towards us. We both had the same thought – we were going to be in trouble for having our laundry hanging everywhere. Instead, Cathy hands us two delicious fruit cups and tells us to have a lovely day.

We hiked another seven miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to a lovely camp spot, where a quail has been scolding us for the last two hours because we apparently invaded her space.

Deb just saw her second shooting star of the hike.

Photo: Silverwood Lake

Trail Date: Thursday, May 1st

Mileage: 17.6 miles

Day 28: Mile 301 to Grass Valley Creek

Deep Creek is a remarkably beautiful section of the Pacific Crest Trail and we spent the morning marveling at the views as we strolled toward the hot springs.

We arrived at the hot springs late in the morning and had a wonderful soak before continuing down the trail.

Shortly after lunch we encountered a thru-hiker named Chris running down the trail yelling about an unconscious man up ahead. Cell phones are not working in the canyon, so I quicken my pace as I headed toward the unconscious man to send an InReach message for help. Chris continues south down the PCT looking for help at the hot springs.

I end up running as fast as I could with my full pack about a mile and a half north on the PCT before finding day hiker Darrell laying beside the trail with Emma shading him from the sun using Chris’s Ridge Rest sleeping pad.

Fortunately Darrell has regained consciousness. Turns out a bee had stung him on the neck, he had some kind of seizure, and was unconsous for about half an hour. Darrell was insisting he was OK but the group consensus was to send an SOS InReach message, especially since Chris was off finding a way to call 911.

This was the first time I have used the InReach for an SOS and it worked pretty well considering the steep canyon we were in. I explained the situation by text message and responded to a couple of texts asking for more information.

After an hour or so Darrell decided he wanted to walk out so I let the SAR folks know and Deb and I walked with them down the PCT.

A helicopter showed up, but we were moving pretty well and it would have been difficult for them to drop someone down to us in the canyon.

Darrell was unsteady at first but made it three miles to the Mojave River Dam spillway, where a firetruck and ambulance met us.

Chris had left his pack and all his gear where Darrell became ill, so we carried that down the PCT a bit until some of Chris’s friends came back looking for him. We passed off Chris’s gear to his friends and they headed south toward the hot springs looking for him. We hope Chris is reunited with his gear soon.

I had not realized during the excitement that Deb had given all her water to Darrell and Emma, so she was pretty thirsty when we reached the creek below the dam. A few minutes later we ran into Coppertone, a 2006 hiker, who served up root beer floats at Highway 173. They were delicious. Deb was in disbelief at such timely Trail magic.

Photo: A rescue helicopter in Deep Creek.

Trail Date: Wednesday, April 30th

Mileage: 17 miles