Trail Miles: 342–363.4
We continued resting up for Monica and enjoyed our time with the Trail Angels, Layne and Elise. They took good care of us and we really enjoyed our time with them.
We went to the doctor for Monica’s follow up appointment and got the news: while her ankle was better than the week before, if she got back on the trail the problem would come right back. It was a hard decision, but we decided that she would get off and head to her parents and I would continue on. At first I wanted to get off with her because the trail won’t be the same without her. But then when I really thought about it I knew I would regret not giving it a shot.
While trying to figure out how to get Monica to LAX and how to get me back on the trail, Layne and Elise offered to drop me off at Cajon Pass and take Monica all the way to LAX. They’re definitely putting the angel in Trail Angel. Cajon Pass is a little ways up from where Monica and I had gotten off last, but the desert heat is coming and I need to do my best to beat it.
I got dropped off at Cajon Pass and said a teary goodbye to Monica. She’ll drive and meet up with me along the trail, but it’ll be a little while till then. With the 10 AM heat kicking in I set off on the trail. I passed under the interstate as well as some train tracks and meandered my way towards a water cache.
I passed a fellow hiker who told me it was only 10 miles to Wrightwood, which sounded wrong to me. We chatted and he realized he had read the map wrong and we really had 16 miles to go. Fortunately there was a water cache and he was able to up his water storage. I took one liter and continued on. The next part was 13 miles of uphill and it was in the heat of the day.
Sipping on my water as I went, I slowly climbed up. I reached my campsite sore and tired, but there were glass shards mixed in with the gravel and I didn’t want to pitch my tent and risk it getting cut up. The next tentsite was 4.5 miles ahead, so I pressed on. As the sunset I got out my headlamp in case I needed it for the last few miles. About a mile from the tentsite I went to turn the headlamp on only to find out that the battery was dead. Using bits of energy I upped my pace to cover the last mile before I couldn’t see at all. Tired, sore, and scratched up from some bushes I couldn’t see in the dark I arrived at the tentsite. I sat down, drank some water, and charged my headlamp. After I had relaxed a little bit I set up the tent, made ramen, and went to sleep.
Since Monica and I had a double sleeping bag we sent it home when she went home and I’m using both of our sleeping bag liners as a sleeping bag until my sleeping bag comes in. I also have the three person tent which I’ll switch out for my two person tent when that arrives as well. I’ve found that a one person tent is too small for me, so I always add one to the number of people who will actually be in a tent when buying.
I woke up with my feet a little cold, but I was well rested and ready to conquer the 5 miles into Wrightwood. I made good time to the side trail into Wrightwood and passed several day hikers on my way down. Some of them are preparing for a 100 mile race through the mountains this fall — some serious runners.
I soon reached the outskirts of Wrightwood and walked through streets lined with nice mountain cabin houses. The locals are very friendly and one gave me directions to the Mountain Hardware store where most hikers sign the trail register and can get a list of Trail Angels to stay with. For signing the register I got a tiny PCT pin which I can put on my pack.
I hung out in the hiker area that the Mountain Hardware store had and called Monica to catch up and tell her everything that happened on the trail. After that I grabbed lunch with a hiker we’ve been leapfrogging for a while. Full of burger I headed to the grocery store to type this post up. They have shade, picnic tables, and charging stations for PCT hikers here. Later today I’ll head over to a Trail Angels house where I’ll get a shower, clean laundry, and a nice bed to sleep in.
It’s different hiking without Monica. I don’t have a companion I can talk to on the time. There’s no one to tell my we need to take breaks. But I won’t let her being gone detract from what I’m doing. I’m walking to Canada. It’s hard, but at the end of every day I’m glad I’m hiking and making my dream a reality.