Southern CA C

May 30, Mon.–.4 mile–end of So.CA C

Mon., May 30    Miles today: .4         Miles so far: 342.1         So. CA C

We REALLY “slept in” this morning–till 8:00 am!  Then it was less than half a mile of a very pretty walk in Crowder Canyon, till we reached the frontage road for I-15.  We got a good laugh out of the sign there which directs hikers to the PCT–AND to McDonalds! 

Hikers, hang a right here!

Hikers, hang a right here!

So to McD’s we went–and ate like pigs.  We were careful to sit outside, though–our clothes are not exactly pristine.  They smell of “eau de trail” even though we did take “baths” yesterday!  But when we started up the road toward the motel for our next resupply, poor Bill could hardly walk at all.  His right calf muscle just cramped up and was brick-hard.  We went at a snail’s pace the half mile to the Economy Inn, and Bill put on his bathing suit and headed straight for the hot tub, where he sat till his leg uncramped.  While he was soaking, I was doing our laundry.

The Economy Inn folks are VERY hiker-friendly!  They have a hiker register in the lobby, our resupply box was waiting for us, and they gave us a very nice room.  And the hot showers!   Ahh!!  It feels so wonderful to be CLEAN.  Once Bill’s leg uncramped,  we spent the rest of the day resting, writing, eating a big taco salad each, and drinking lots of water and juice.  It was a great “nero” day.   This is why we held off coming in yesterday, because then we’d have been rushed and couldn’t really rest as much.   And it was really nice to have some time to read in the little lightweight New Testament we’d brought along, without being so incredibly tired that it was hard to concentrate.  Then we went to bed early.  We are going to get as MUCH resting time as we can before getting back ontrail tomorrow!

May 29, Sun.–14.9 miles–So. CA C

Sun., May 29   Miles today: 14.9      Total so far: 341.7        So. CA C

Sunrise at Silverwood

Sunrise at Silverwood

We “slept in” till 5:30 this morning, and were able to get up at our leisure and enjoy a very pretty sunrise, because we only plan to go as far as Crowder Canyon today.  We ate breakfast at the picnic area for Silverwood Lake (very nice!), filled our water bottles, and headed out.  Motrin helps, but Bill is still limping in pain with his feet and shuffling pretty badly.  He says it’s not his heels anymore (those blisters are healing and no longer hurt), but it’s the BALL of his foot at the base of the toes that hurts something awful.  The skin there is very tough and callused, but blisters have formed  UNDER the callus.  I feel really bad for him.  My feet are fine–the couple of little blisters  I had are all gone, the patella strap is keeping my knee happy, and actually, I am feeling really good!  So while I walk,  I pray a lot for poor Bill, that his feet will heal and he can enjoy this hike as much as I am.

After leaving the picnic area, we had to pick our way through a heavily-damaged area where the Mojave River obviously ran amok last winter.  The “bike path” had literally been ripped into hunks and the hunks tossed about.  We saw logs, boulders, even freeway signs in the debris.  What the guidebook described as “PCT crosses a meadow with 5 sycamore trees at far end” was ACTUALLY a rocky debris field with 4 battered, barely surviving sycamores, and the broken-off trunk of #5.  Very sad.

A look back at Silverwood Lake

A look back at Silverwood Lake

  But a steep climb soon had us up where there were great views back toward Silverwood Lake.  It would have been a great place for a zero day, but with Bill’s feet, we needed to reach civilization soon.

Wow!  Looks like the fog back home!

Wow! Looks like the fog back home!

Finally we reached the redgetop when surprise, surprise–what should we see but a huge FOGBANK–just like the fog rolling in off the ocean back home in Sonoma County, CA.  Laughing about the “touch of home”, we followed the PCT downhill to a long winding contour around Little Horsethief Canyon.  It was much cooler, and there was a nice breeze.  Whenever Bill needed to stop and get off his sore feet, there was always a pretty, trickling creek in one of the side gullies that he could soak his feet in. Very soothing!  Finally we reached the head of the canyon and were able to go down into the valley, where the trail entered grass so tall that sometimes it was hard to follow.  Then back up to another ridgetop, and there began one of the most exhilarating times we’ve had yet on this endlessly surprising PCT.

We started following the trail along the narrow, winding ridgetop, when WHAM!! The wind began to slam us so hard that we could barely stand up or walk.  Fortunately, I’d found a wooden “Gandalf staff” to replace my lost trek pole, and boy, did I need it!  I don’t know how I would have been able to stay on my feet without it.  Talk about exciting!  Every step became an adventure with a little bit of “scary” thrown in because it was a VERY narrow ridgetop with big dropoffs.  “Are we having fun yet?”  we yelled. “YEESSS!”

Finally we got out of the wind and reached the giant power pylons toward which we’d been walking all day.  And just after that was yet ANOTHER “wow!”.  We came to the overlook for Cajon Canyon’s “badlands”.  The geologic formations were totally awesome…real jawdropping, impressive stuff!  And for many miles after that, the trail wanders along ridgetops, giving many more badlands views.  Bill went on at a trot every time there was a bit of downhill, while I often lingered to enjoy the OTHER “wow!”–TRAINS! 

Turns out Cajon Pass is a major thoroughfare for freight trains, and from the trail I could see trains constantly going by in both directions, blowing whistles that echoed for miles.  It was like watching my brother’s HO gauge model railroad come to life!  Way cool!  I also looked at wildflowers for awhile, before speeding up my pace to catch up with Bill, though there were a few places where I slowed down and did not look at trains or wildflowers, because there were some SCARY dropoffs right by the trail.  I kept my eyes on the trail in those places, not the edge, and walked very carefully. 

Bill and Swiss Herbert

Bill and Swiss Herbert

Soon we reached our goal–Crowder Creek–and right then, who should catch up with us but Swiss Herbert!  His name is actually Herbert Lackermeier, it turns out, and he was very happy to see us, because he wanted us to take a picture of him by an official PCT post, then email it to him in Switzerland.  We wished him the very best–he only has a few days left before he must return to Switzerland.   His friend who was hiking with him quit the trail and went home, so Herbert was by himself.

By 3:00 pm, Bill and I had found a soft, sandy campsite among the little willows by the creek.  We got to take baths in the very shallow water, and have a good long rest and early to bed.  Hope it helps Bill’s sore feet, and it is only a mile to our resupply and a motel tomorrow.