San Gorgonio Pass

PCT Halfmile 201.7 to Whitewater Preserve (17.5 miles, +2,000/-5,000 feet). I was so worried that it would be windy last night, given how much it howled during the day.  But the wind disappeared at sunset and it never came back, giving me a perfectly calm night and a great sleep. My knees ached from yesterday’s…

Icy Falls

Deer Springs Trailhead to PCT Halfmile 201.7 (22.3 miles, +4,300/-6,700 feet). As I have slowly creeped my way north on the PCT, there has been a missing section that has nagged at me.  On past trips I have explored all around San Jacinto Peak and the San Gorgonio Wilderness, but I never connected the dots,…

Bulletproof PCT

Wrightwood to Cajon Junction (24 miles, +3,500/-6,700 feet). Today I had the opportunity to finish up the part of Section D that Half Cookie and I missed when we had to leave trail early last May.  It was a gorgeous day starting out in the low 30s and peaking somewhere in the 50s, and I…

Oops, I Did 28!

Hwy 173 (PCT mile 314.3) to Cajon Junction (mile 341.9) (28 miles, +4,200/-4,400 feet). It’s been a wonderful wet winter here in Southern California, so I was eager to get back to the PCT to take advantage of its unusual lushness.  I thought I would pick up where I left off with Barnfinder, finishing the 28 miles of…

A Deep Creek

Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp (PCT mile 294.1) to Hwy 173 (mile 314.3) (20 miles, +2,700/-4,800 feet). Last night was COLD!  The thermometer said 18 degrees.  My toes said numb!  I need to remember my extra sleeping bag on these winter expeditions…. At daybreak we packed up quickly and headed into the morning light. There were…

An Icy Traverse

Cougar Crest Trailhead to Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp (PCT mile 294.1) (19 miles, +1,700/-3,000 feet). So here’s the thing. My pal Barnfinder loves the PCT so much that he has a personal goal not just to section hike it, but to travel each section both northbound and southbound.  Meanwhile, I have been trying to thru-hike as…

A Morning Stroll

Doble Trail Camp (mile 268.6) to Cougar Crest Trail (mile 277.7) (11 miles, +1,500/-1,700 feet). Last night was windy!  There were some power lines above us and they made an eerie low hum every time the wind blew.  I eventually ignored it and went to sleep. This morning we got up before the sun, which is…

Back in a Groove

Onyx Summit (Mile 252.1) to Doble Springs Trail Camp (Mile 268.6) (16.5 miles, +1,500/-3,000 feet). This is day one of a two day trip following catastrophic solo hiking failures for both BarnFinder and me.  Earlier this month I tried to thru-hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, but I got severely dehydrated after just two days and…

Closing the Loop

San Gorgonio Mountain to Vivian Trailhead (10 miles, +0/-6,000 feet). Last night it was COLD on the summit!  We had gusts up to 40mph, and MixMaster and I were both cowboy camping at first.  At a certain point I crawled inside my tent to get away from the wind.  I had not set up the…

Sierra in SoCal

Momyer Creek Trailhead to San Gorgonio Mountain (12.5 miles, +6,000/-0 feet). The San Gorgonio Wilderness is probably the closest thing we have in Southern California to the Sierra.  The high point of the wilderness at 11,503 feet above sea level is also the highest point in California south of the Sierras, so it makes sense that…

Snow Camp!

Devil’s Slide Trail to San Jacinto Peak Loop (22 miles, +5,700/-5,700 feet). My friends BarnFinder and Karpo and I have been enrolled in the Sierra Club’s Wilderness Basics Course this spring.  It’s very thorough, and I can see how it would have been super useful a year ago when I was backpacking for the first time.  But…

Crushing My Knees

Tule Spring (mile 136.5) to Highway 74 (mile 151.9) (15.4 miles, +3,000/-1,700 feet). Today was day two of a two day trip.  Overnight it was really cold, in the 20s.  I kept my water bottle near me in the tent and as soon as I got out this morning it started freezing up. We decided…