Days 5-22 (Mi. 101 to 369.4)

Long time no update!! 

I am drafting this post in a tiny coffee shop in Wrightwood, CA. near mile 366 of the PCT taking my 2nd full day of rest. Yesterday I was caught in a gnarly snowstorm, so this a little bit different change of scenery from where I last left off- so let's catch up!!

As I begin the post, it would be unfair for me to hop right in without expressing how much of a joy these past few weeks have been. I did not realize in just 3 weeks I would be head-over-heels in love with the PCT, the challenges of living outside, and the community that has developed in just a short sweet time.

Secondly, I apologize for not a more recent update! Each day I have hopes of drafting a post, soon replaced with the reality of much-needed sleep, incredible conversation with friends, or a way-too-intense game of cards. Also, scripting these posts on a small iPhone screen is a challenge in and of itself. Woof.

Full transparency: this blog post is a little bit of a shitshow 😬. Half-recorded notes of the day, unedited pictures, and minimal bullet points are a reflection of how hectic and demanding the trail gets. Some notes won't make sense, so feel free to ask about the full story next time we catch up 😉.

Also, the Lord has been teaching me more about His character in ways I couldn't imagine- and no word count would be able to do it justice. So- here goes. Weeks 2 and 3 on the Pacific Crest Trail. DAY 5: Barrel Creek (mi. 101.2) to Warner Springs (mi 109.5)

On Saturday, I rolled into Warner Springs for my first Nearo after a quick 8 mile morning (hiked with new friends Dina and Ashton!), with a resupply package waiting for me at the post office. I shipped this package a few weeks earlier, having zero idea what trail cravings I would've developed. After trading a few dehydrated meals with other hikers, Dina, Ashton and I headed out the only restaurant in town to grab some early lunch.

***TRAIL NAMES: On long trails, hikers traditionally obtain pseudonyms that reflect funny stories from trail, unique gear characteristics, etc. This is your new identity!

If you're familiar with Pine Cove, this is very much like a camp name, except a whole lot less intense. 😉

Anyway- Dina, Ashton and I sat down for lunch with G.Q. (aka: Evan) for lunch. After some killer grub, we went to the hiker community center for bucket showers, bucket laundry, and to hang out with dozens of other hikers.

At the center, I ended up meeting a huge gang of people that would end up being my crew for the next good bit (Yay friends!). Space Jam, Specs, 10 Gallon, Moglea, Rhino, Shakedown, G.Q., FunDip and ViPR are just a few of the friends met that would become dear friends over the next 80 miles.

Also, I got a knee brace in Warner Springs! Incredible. PTL for it. DAY 6 : Warner Springs (Mi. 101.2) to Mike's Place (Mi. 129)

Good day good day! Waking up in Warner Springs with semi-clean skin + laundry, new friends, and a rested knee was a game changer.

I hiked out with Moglea, Rhino, Specs, 10 Gallon, FunDip and ViPR, headed to the infamous "Mike's Place." Mike is apparently a trail angel that allows folks to use his water cache and sleep on his land. We heard rumors of free pizza + beer, but had zero legitimate source of this information- so hopes were high, but expectations were low.

I hiked with Moglea for a bit and it was so, so good. I caught stories of what led her to the trail, dreamed about whatever Mike's Place was, and slowly baked in the hot desert sun. We ended up meeting up Space Jam, Specs, 10 Gallon, Rhino, and Scotty and took around a 3 hour siesta under a bush to escape the heat. During this time I learned that Space Jam knows my cousins! Small world.

I rolled into Mike's in the late afternoon. An interesting guy, Mike welcomed me, pointed me in the right direction to throw down my pack, and affirmed that pizza would in fact be happening later on. 

The night unfolded to be gathering of around 25 hikers or so... these laughs and conversations were much needed, and I ended up setting camp next to GQ, Shakedown, FunDip and ViPR. These guys are the best. DAY 7: Mike's Place (Mi. 129) to Mile 144.3

-no pancakes :(

-boulder campsite

-My trail name is officially Peanut!!

-crotch chocolate 

-cowboy camped DAY 8: Mile 144.3 to PVC to 161.02 

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-water a mile off trail at 158

-3 meals at Paradise Valley Cafe 😳

-Earwig's birthday! 

-there by 8:30

-going the extra mile

-sunset on the ridge

-slumber party at the detour trailhead

-best views yet DAY 9: Mile 161.02 to Idyllwild (via Alternate)

-4:30 wake up 

-LONG day

-5 miles of road walking

-stopped at lake for snacks

-beautiful views

-Idyllwild cabin: Evan, ViPR, FunDip, Rhino, LadyBug, Australians, Megaman, Rip

-Split pizza + blue moon with Evan DAY 10: Idyllwild to Mile 181 (via Devil's Side Trail)

-Breakfast at Red Kettle-called dad

-Near-o to top of D.S.

-camped with Germans and Ladybug

-first snow sighting on trail! DAY 11: Mile 181 to Mile 195 (with Peak)

-got lost

-post holing for dayyyys

-views of desert floor

-San Jacinto summit!

-fell coming down Fullers Ridge

-Talked to Bobby for a while on the way down. So good for the soul.

-met section hiker Inanna!

-first time pitching tarp tent 😬 DAY 12: Mile 195 to Mile 217 (Whitewater Preserve)

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-descending 9800' and beating out storm

-highest winds

-found bud lite under the highway 🙌

-girls stayed behind

-Ranger let Evan and I camp under pavilion

-jetboil melted 

-Benadryl DAY 13: Mile 217 to Mile 240 ❄️

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-so much learned

-Standing on the ridge with desert heat to back, facing snowstorm. Choosing to go into storm.

-Beauty in the pain and suffering

-"Even when the fight seems lost, I'll praise you. Even when it hurts like hell, I'll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I'll sing your praise.

I will only sing your praise."

-12 miles of crossing mission Creek

-nothing left but praise

-hardest day

-2nd time pitching tarp and in a good bit of snow. DAY 14: Mile 240 to Mile 266 (Big Bear)

-"I dreamed I had to check to see if you guys were all alive!" 

-no food left

-trail magic around 260 (with couch?)

-dinner at Mexican with Monk and Evan

-fancy AF desert. Whoops! 

-stayed at Robinhood Inn with Evan DAY 15: ZERO

-first Zero Mile day!! Rest rest rest!

-breakfast at Teddy Bear Cafe (PCT hiker special)

-Called mom and dad

-Saw Inanna

-Walked to Big 5 for fuel

-hitched to KMart

-Walked to Vons

-Lunch at Himalayan

-Skipped rocks on shore

-Movie at 3:30 ($10 ticket/drink/popcorn)

-Met up with Rachel and Rebekah

-Brews until 8:30

-Gas station resupply DAY 16: Mile 266 to 275

-Breakfast at Little Bear

-Hitched with Evan and Inanna

-cards with Sunshine 

-lost spork = chopstake 

-Teehee and Mountain Lyon

-it's okay to take it slow! people are the best. community over miles.

-Tahoe feels DAY 17: Mile 275 to Mile 294

-played 20 questions

-cards and camp with Michael (7 times PCTer)

-flat terrain, alpine views

-saw someone dehydrated on trail with 911 on the way DAY 18: Mile 294 to Mile 310

-late rise

-The Oasis and soaked feet

-HOT SPRINGS. A little bit of paradise in the middle of the desert. So refreshing, despite the quirky people and the redneck that was "DONE."

-Saw Burnout, Voldemort, Bedazzled, Fundip, ViPR and WingIt at the springs. Friends!

-quick reception to check in on Taylor and Amanda

-disney playlist 👍

-Rainbow Bridge

-Evan's knee/LCL really hurting him. 

DAY 19: Mile 310 to 328.1

-A mouse ate my bagels in the middle of the night. L A M E.

-Trail Magic at 318ish: Brenna and her funny puppies. "I don't do this because I want to: I do this because I have to. I worked in the service industry for years and lost my hope in humanity; you guys restore that."

-Found service and called Backcountry to order a new pair of trail runners sent to my resupply at Mile 454.4 (Agua Dulce).

-Silverwood Lake!!

-Ordering pizza to campsite. Paid driver cash to pick up beer. Unreal and so bougie. Worth it. Hiker hunger is REAL.

-Met section hiker Blue: hiking Big Bear to Wrightwood Day 20: Mile 328.1 to McDonalds to Mile 347.2

-Hiked with Shades for a little bit.

-Seriously, the PCT isn't all about the food or towns, but when a McDonalds is only .4 miles from trail, you betcha we're going to take it over.

-Ate a large fry, 20 nuggets, a McDouble, Double Cheeseburger, and a large coke. Went back up and got an ice cream cone.

-reunited with Shakedown, Earwig, and Righteous.

-Called mom for Mother's Day

-Called amanda and congratulated her on finishing her thesis. Go amanda!

-I'm officially hiker trash.

-Beautiful ridge. Terrible chafing- blasted Hamilton to drown out the pain down under. It worked!

-Cowboy camped with the entire gang in a dried creek bed. So many fun friends gathered around. Told funny stories, talked about trail life, passed around whiskey, and stargazed 🙌⚡️. Day 21: Mile 347.2 to Mile 369.3 (Wrightwood)

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[wpvideo 5lw5KP4g]-Woke up at 2:37am to being rained on. (Happy Birthday Evan!!!!!)

-Everyone SCRAMBLING to either pack up camp and start hiking OR pitch their tent and stay dry.

-Inanna, Evan, and I carelessly anchored my tarp with backpacks and used it as a bivy. The best. Three peas in a pod and stayed relatively dry!

-COLD, wet morning. Coldest on trail yet.

-Hiked through rain for 15 miles, snow for 8. Climbed 5000' vertical feet up to 8400'.

-unbelievable snow

-pure joy and laughter. Shakedown and Earwig kept the humor and positivity at an all time high, despite the unexpected tough weather.

-Passed by Mtn High ski resort on the trail.

-Rolled into Wrightwood after a quick hitch from trail. Our little cabin is old and kinda cute. Mostly old.

-Celebratory brews for a tough day + Evan's Birthday at the local brewery.

-Snacks and hangout at Righteous's place with Blue, Shades, Inanna, and Evan!  Day 22: Unexpected Zero!

-Breakfast at Evergreen Cafe with the gang (Inanna, ViPR, FunDip, Fire Ranger, Evan and Shakedown).

-2nd Breakfast at the bakery across the street

-Got convinced to take a full Zero instead of shoving off to do another 8 miles after resupplying.

-Resupplied at grocery store- talked to Sarah for a long time. So good.

-Caught up on blog at coffee shop! Free coffee for PCT hikers.

-"Darty" at Big Daddy's cabin later in the day. So many brews and food! While unsure if I'd be awake past 5pm, I ended up rallying past hiker mdnight (9pm)! This gang is the best. **** If you've made it this far, thank you so much for investing in this hike with me!! The trail is so tough, hilarious, and honestly a dream. Wrightwood is our last real town for a long while, so this crazy town stuff will be slowly coming to an end. We're halfway through the desert and can't imagine what the Sierra (beginning Mile 702) has in store! Yikes!

Much Love,

AG