PCT Week 5: Summits, Road Rides and Lots of Trail Magic
Wrightwood, a town perfect for trails
An early morning begins our descent to Wrightwood. We reach Highway 2 where we hang in town. Let me start by saying that Wrightwood is one of the best trail towns I’ve been to. I have experienced so many wonderful cities over the years, but the support this city has for hikers is amazing.
From the moment I set foot in the city, I was offered more help than I have ever received. Everyone was slowing down or stopping to ask if you needed a ride or somewhere to stay. The community really shone with generosity.
I meet the tramily to get food and drinks. Duces and I, who both share a birthday, can finally celebrate together. Slowly more and more hikers start to arrive and the relaxation can begin.
What makes Wrightwood such a great trail town isn’t just the generosity of the townspeople. It has one of the best restocking groceries that caters directly to hikers. Hitching is also very easy, as almost everyone will want to stop and talk.
We spend 2 days in Wrightwood, discovering all the town has to offer. There’s really nothing I can say I didn’t enjoy about this city other than leaving, which was really difficult, but I know I’ll be back to visit.
Summit of Mt. Baden Powell, a rewarding challenge
Leaving Wrightwood is definitely tough. But I have a journey to go on. Today’s destination, snow capped Baden Powell. The climb is certainly one of the most physically rewarding challenges.
San Jacinto seemed like a more dangerous stretch, but Baden Powell is more demanding, especially with the amount of snow. It’s a long morning to finally reach the summit around 3:00 p.m.
A little nap later, I resume the day with a snowy descent on the mountain ridge. If you’ve never experienced ridge hiking before, I can tell you that this is one of the coolest ways to traverse a mountain. However, the descent is demanding. Finally, I reach the camp just at the last sunset. This is the first campground that has and recommends the use of a bear box. There are bears living in the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest.
Finally the long day of summit and descent is over. A quick dinner with Basecamp and Yeti Legs, then off to bed. There are still miles to go in the next few days.
A walk on the road for the frogs
Guess what? It’s another day of climbing. If there’s one thing this trail has a lot, it’s rock climbing. At this point the trail is not physically challenging. He has his tough parts where I have to push my body but it has become mostly a mental battle.
It’s the second worst day I’ve had on the track, or at least the second worst morning. The day before had certainly weighed on me. I persisted and started the climb. By lunchtime I lost most of the motivation to go on all day.
Finally after a nap of almost 3 hours, Duces catches up with me. I hadn’t seen him for a few days and seeing him revived my motivation. This next section, I couldn’t do without Duces. A 7 mile drive on Hwy 2 to bypass an area full of endangered frogs.
The road ride was the most fun I’ve had on the trail in a while. The whole 7 miles were greeted with jokes and messing around, while also being alert for cars coming around the tight bends. We even got some trail magic on the highway!
My whole day lasted 180 hours. The reality of being optimistic is realizing that there will always be bad times, and even when they get you down, you have to stay positive, have faith in yourself.
Mile 400, the longest day full of magic
After the road walk is over, we find Basecamp and Yeti Legs, along with Renee and Patricia. Camp is about a mile from the 400 mile marker!
A late start to the morning turns out to be a blessing. The first thing I experience is crossing 400 miles. I feel like yesterday I went over 300.
Immediately after meeting the owner of Camp Glenwood. He just stopped when I crossed. I’m offered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and obviously can’t say no. We talked for almost 30 minutes, at which point I really needed to go.
Already the day begins with the magic of the trails! I have to keep moving because I have planned a long day of mileage. I catch up with people and meet trail maintenance teams. It is thanks to these incredible people that we can even be here.
The day seems to pass quickly and I still have so many kilometers to go. I take a quick nap but I definitely can’t stay long. It’s on the last section that I see it, a blue tarp, more than a kilometer away.
Magic of the trails! I hurtle down the descent with so much excitement! I finally join everyone from the camp. All enjoying the hot dogs and potato salad. It’s a day full of magic.
The day is not over however, as the sun goes down and our bellies are full, we decide to walk more. Duces and I take the next climb. The only problem is finding a camping spot. What was supposed to be 2 more miles turned out to be 5 miles as there was nowhere to pitch our tents.
The longest day is finally over. This is definitely the last I’ve come to camp so far. And after a quick set up, place to rest, another week passed. Each week ends earlier and earlier. It is important to absorb as much as possible each day, the kilometers are ephemeral.
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