Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 9 - The Mountain Fire

We decided to drive about this afternoon to see how far we could go by road up into the Mountain Fire area. We took off on Hurkey Creek road and soon we were in the burn area. We passes houses, camps and finally we got all the way to the Zen Center, smack dab against the hills that had burned so badly last summer. 

We only saw one area with signs prohibiting trail hiking but it is clear the area is devastated by the inferno that occurred last year. Some hikers have complained about not being able to hike this section but I can certainly see why it is off limits. In some places the fire was so hot that everything was burned and the erosion associated with this kind of damage is apparent. It will take years to recover enough to allow intrusions into the back country in these areas. 
I suppose it is an indication of my lack of compassion but when I heared about two PCT hikers who were cited for hiking in this area, to the tune of $2,500 each, it made me think that sometimes karma actually occurs in this life. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 8 - picking up resupply

Today Stacey and I drove out to a yoga retreat center near Barrel Springs to pick up a supply box I had sent there, thinking I'd be walking rather than driving there. Best laid plans. Dirty Girl was sitting in the shade and Tidy Camper was getting a massage. We got caught up on all the doings of the last few days and I let them know I wouldn't be meeting them tomorrow in Warner Springs but was waiting till my foot fully healed. That seems to be the consensus of all the people around me and sometimes it's best to listen to others. Truth is the idea of putting on an enclosed shoe doesn't seem like a good idea. Having said all of that, my toe is improving and I am certain it will be ready to go by next week. If not, I'll cut a hole in the side of my shoe and leave anyway. A gal can only wait so long.
Stacey and Dirty Girl

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 6 - I'll be here for a few days

The local clinic here in Idyllwild is a very nice place to get medical help. I saw Brenda, the NP and she didn't cut on or otherwise hurt me but did prescribe antibiotics, seven days worth. The Pharmacist suggested probiotics to go along with the antibiotics so I have those to take as well. Add in soaking with epsom salts and my plan is to be healed enough to get back on the trail by Friday or Saturday. Hopefully my toe will go along with the plan. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 5 - Have I mentioned my big toe?

Probably not. To provide background here I'll mention the fact that two+ weeks ago I did something stupid to my foot. To make a boring story shorter, and hopefully less boring, I banged my toe and instead of cutting the flap of skin away, I just gave it a pull in what I thought was the right direction.  Not good. I washed it and threw a bandaid on and it wasn't till the next day that I looked at it again. It was sore for sure but strangely there was a little flap of something sticking out of the side of my toe, next to my nail. I didn't think much of it as most everything heals in time any way. Days went by and I'd clean it and bandage it but it never changed, for better or worse. Finally I left home, spending a couple of days in So. Cal. with family but still, no change. It still hadn't healed. 

This was worrisome as I knew how dirty it is when backpacking, how little water there is and how many miles I was going to have to put on my feet. I'd been able to keep it clean while in town but...out on the trail? This is a horse of a different color. 

Off I went with some trepidation and a good dose of denial, hoping for the best. The first couple of days I would wear a bandaid to help with the filth but this put pressure on the little flappy thing and made me walk funny. So yesterday I walked sans bandaid and while it didn't hurt as bad it was filthy at the end of the day. Plus just walking with the sore toe pushing against the shoe was enough to cause me to change my gait. Finally this morning it was so sore I had to admit I needed to get it looked at by a doc so I'm sitting at the Sunrise Trailhead waiting for my friend Stacey to bail me out. Once again. 

Diane (Tidy Camper) and Caroline (Burley Girl) were sweet and encouraged me get it looked at. Since I've hiked this section of the trail already it isn't as hard to walk away from the trail. Hopefully this can get fixed quickly and I'll be back out in a couple of days. 

I guess I hadn't mentioned my big toe. Now you know.  Wanna see it? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 4 - Boulder field at mile 56

We somehow managed to get to our chosen spot for the day really early - at 3:30 no less. And this with a long lunch at Pioneer Mail picinic area. A pretty fast 14 miles today. Not too shabby. Though the last three miles were in full sun. Fortunately sol isn't at full strength yet, but it's getting there. I'm doing my best to keep off the worst of the rays. And if I may say so, doing it with a certain kind of flair. 
We are staying at one of the best spots along the southern half of the PCT. Well it's my favorite anyway. Why do I like it? Boulders, and lots of them. Plus the views are stunning and you can see for miles it's so clear. Must be the near constant wind we've been experiencing that keeps it so clear. 
Rumor has it there is another storm front coming in on Wednesday. This will put us at Scissors Crossing and/or part way into the San Felipe Hills: rugged, hot and waterless. Last time I came through I experienced both, super heat and cold, swirling fog laden winds, all in the space of a few hours. One never knows about the San Felipe Hills. Plus there aren't many sheltered places to camp. If I was a stronger hiker I'd love to get through in one day but at this point I'm not capable of walking 23 miles. Or rather I should say, I'm not ready to attempt hiking 23 miles. 

Tomorrow, Rodriguez Spur watering spot, or thereabouts. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 3 - Laguna Mountain Lodge

It was chilly pups when I awoke this morning. In fact Diane got a picture of me sitting in my bag, all cozy and warm, pouting because I had to get out of its toastiness. But get out I did and I was on the trail by 7 am, walking uphill and soon to be warm enough to take off most of my warm clothes. 

The hiking was stunning as the sun had just come over the hills to the east and was low slanting, making for nice light and shadows. There was a breeze, which could be cold in the shade but I found it refreshing on the long up hills. Basically the entire day was uphill, with a couple of downhills for good measure, only to be gained again on the next hill. We met interesting people today and seemed to have caught up with some of the folks who started the day before us. 

We finally got some heat this afternoon and while it wasn't quite hot enough for the umbrella, I expect tomorrow will be toasty enough to do the unfurling. We have another 15 miles to do tomorrow and we are coming into super windy territory. We will see how it goes. 

Spending the night at Laguna Mountain Lodge and planning for the next sections food stuffs. I didn't have lunches included in my resupply so I had to buy in the store... ouch! Pricy that. Oh well, my bad. 

Had dinner tonight at the Pine House and we sat with five other women who are hiking the PCT. There are a lot of us out here this year... Probably having to do with the book Wild. Or maybe not. Anyway it is fun to be sitting around with a large group of women who are doing the same thing.
Over and out. 

Day 2 - RAIN

When I left civilization a few days back I checked the weather forecast and it looked like today, and for the next week, all I saw was sun, sun and more sun. Well you can imagine my surprise when I woke up at 3 am to hear raindrops on my tent. Well humph. Who ordered up rain? No matter, rain is what we got so I broke camp and got underway at 7:30. Diane later told me it was 40 degrees...burrr.

 I donned my rain gear and off I went up to the ridge, climbing from 2,294 to 3,600 in three miles. Not too bad as there were many long switchbacks. What made it nice was the cold weather since this climb is usually a bear. It gets full southern exposure and at the end of a day it can be tough. Once on top the views, even with the clouds, were stunning.  
The rest of the day was a combination of climb up and down with food breaks in between. The rain stopped by 10 am but the clouds didn't ever fully go way till this evening. Welcome on up hills, not as welcome on breaks. Either way we managed 16 miles by 5 pm and have hunkered down in a nice place called Yellow Rose Spring. Wide open with tall grasses, still green, and a real deal, natural water source. I treated it of course but still, the sound of running water is a welcome sound.  

Here's my little tent and the gals with theirs. 
Tomorrow, Laguna Mountain Lodge!