Greetings from Wrightwood, CA! We are in this lovely mountain town enjoying our first “zero” day free of stomach bugs and blisters. Once again, we’ve found ourselves in a wonderful oasis surrounded by the kindest folks (Trail Angels everywhere!), eating lots of food, and putting our feet up. It feels good!
After we last checked in, we happily got into a real groove. From Big Bear Lake to Wrightwood, we hit our stride, and we both felt strong at the same time – the first time that’s happened out here. After a rocky (but still fun) first few weeks, this week solidified that we are right where we want to be: on the PCT.
1. We were able to put in big miles, averaging over 20 miles a day over our last five days. And dare I say, it felt great! We are feeling stronger and better fueled than we were on our AT hike. The end of stomach bugs for us both means we are also feeling sturdier and healthier. “Trail legs” have arrived!
2.…As have the famous “trail appetites!” While we aren’t totally voracious all day long (yet), we are eating a lot more, and never quite maxing out. There are worse things!
3. Now at mile 369, we have passed the halfway point of the desert, the longest distinct section on the PCT, which runs for 700 miles. (Click on the image above to see a desert panorama video.) In areas we have been told are unbearably hot, we have had mild – even cold, wet and windy – weather. Clearly, we have really lucked out in this regard, and it has made for most excellent hiking. (And any rain that California gets is good news for all!)
4. The weather has also smiled upon us in another way – we’ve been in prime position for the unseasonable storms that have come through recently. While snow (yep, snow!) dumped on both Big Bear and Wrightwood last week, we were in a canyon (near natural hot springs, no less!) and only got light rain while we were cozy and dry in our tent. We hit some snow on the trail yesterday as we got back up to around 9,000 feet, but it was nothing that these two hardened Bostonians couldn’t handle.
5. Some final highlights from the last few days: Hiking along the ridge of the gorgeous and eternal Deep Creek; Watching the fog move in and out to dramatically reveal – and then obscure – the beautiful and snow-capped Mt. Baldy (aka Mt. San Antonio); Meeting Coppertone (PCT NOBO 2006) for some Trail Magic and finding out he also “angel-ed” our AT 2011 friends Pixel and Shazam during their PCT thru-hike last year; Spending an afternoon at McDonald’s with our fellow “hiker trash” (The fast food restaurant was the last official water source for the 28-mile stretch into town.). Oh, and the sunsets. The sunsets never get old!
So, all in all, we are having fun! We continue to meet hikers with inspiring and fascinating stories, and around each corner is a view you couldn’t dream up if you tried. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to take it all in, day after day.
PS – We haven’t been able to update the photo page of our blog yet, but we post regularly on Instagram, so keep your eyes on our journey there!