Day 19: A Temporary Reprieve

Mile reached: 369.3 (+16.6)

High: Hitching a ride on my first try!

Low: It took forever to get my turn to use the washing machine, so my clothes didn’t have time to completely dry.

People wearing kilts: 2

As my luck would have it since I camped in a grassy area, I woke up with everything covered in dew. Though being on the east side of a mountain the sun quickly started to shine on my camp sort of drying my gear. My groundsheet, however, remained sopping we. Oh well. A few groups passed me as I was taking my time making breakfast. I was in no rush, I only had 17 miles to town, which would end the day.

View from camp in the morning, Cajon pass was entirely covered in clouds

The trail climbed steadily through an area that had burned some years prior. I had heard stories that the trail for a time was impassable due to encroaching poodle dog bush, which is one of the first things to grow after a fire. However, volunteers had been working hard to clear it from the trail. It was ok, but for a mile or so it was a poodle dog slalom with only inches of maneuverability in some areas.

I wasn’t expecting to see San Jacinto again. I wondered if it might also be visible from the top of Baden-Powell.

Eventually, the pines started to appear and before long the forest overtook everything. There trail undulated along the ridge above Wrightwood and the local ski resort, Mountain High. To the west there were expansive views of the LA basin concealed underneath the marine layer. Even though it’s smaller than San Antonio, Baden-Powell dominated the skyline.

Everyone was excited to be in the pines again!
Pine Mountain with West Baldy peaking just over it’s shoulder
Baden-Powell, the PCT switchbacks aggressively up it’s northern slopes

A few miles out from Wrightwood, I ran into Marc again. He’s a French speaking Swiss out on his own. He had stopped and was enjoying the views. However, he told me that his primary motivation was that he didn’t want to go further lest he catch up with “Conflicted” on the way down. (“Conflicted” talks way too much and doesn’t recognize when his audience has no interest in what he is saying.) I laughed and wished Marc a good day. He’s quite fast, so I’m sure I’ll continue to run into him.

The descent to highway 2 was scenic. I trail ran much of it, so I passed “Conflicted” and wouldn’t have to wait behind a group to hitch. At the highway, the majority of cars were heading the wrong direction. I got excited when I heard a truck going my way. But, I quickly saw that it was a county vehicle and didn’t even bother. A few minutes later another car came by and stopped! Just then a couple I had passed arrived, so we all got a ride down together.

Wrightwood is a small town, but the locals are super friendly. I did my resupply and yet again could not find tuna fish in oil! When the cashier asked if I found everything I was looking for, I emphatically bsaid no. We had a brief discussion about the demand for said tuna packets, and she wrote a note for the manager. Maybe next year’s thru-hikers will be beneficiaries of this conversation.

I hung out with the throng of hikers outside grocery store for a bit. Several of them were having issues with packages not yet arrived. Eventually, I found a place to stay, showered, and sorted out logistics for the Sierra.

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