Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 25-28 - On To Agua Dulce

Here's part of the route the morning after our stay in Wrightwood.  I didn't bother to count but I heard there are anywhere from 40-55 switchbacks going up this mountain, Baden Powell.
However many there were, it was a lot. The upper ones even had some snow on them. Near the top was a large, gnarly tree that a sign said was estimated to be around 1500 years old. It made a nice chair and pack rest. Dave (aka Cheesehead) and Stride were there and soon a couple with 2 dogs joined us. We were only a few hundred yards from the top, the PCT went around and down the other side. I left my pack at the tree and went up to the top, just so I could say i'd been there.

Stride and I stopped for dinner at a spring where we were soon joined by a trail runner. He has been training for an upcoming race, a 100 mile trail race. He's doing 25-35 miles a day, several days a week up and down the mountains we just hiked over. The race will start in Wrightwood.

Joe and Opus joined us for dinner, then we all went up the hill to an old campground. Dave had a fire going and offered us all hotdogs. There ended up being 18 or so camping there that night.
The next day involved several miles of road walking around an area that was closed to protect an endangered frog. Wednesday had another detour for part of a fire that happened a few years ago. Even after we reached the end of the closed section, most people stayed on a dirt road that parallels the trail. The trail continued through the burn, and there is a plant called the poodle-dog bush that thrives in burned areas. It can cause a rash similar to poison oak. Here's a picture of some, it's the tall, bright green plant behind the flowers.
We'd walked through some a few times before but the sections ahead were supposed to be pretty thick with it. After a few miles Stride annd Dayhiker joined the others on the road. I continued alone and unafraid along the trail. Prior contact with it hadn't affected me at all so I wasn't worried about it any more than I am poison oak, which also doesn't bother me. I actually still haven't talked to anyone who has gotten a rash from it. I knew most people had been taking the road instead of the trail this year and probably last year too. I was just hoping it wasn't too overgrown from lack of traffic.

It turned out that while the trail was definately overgrown and needed work in places where it was eroding, it wasn't so bad I wished i'd stayed on the road. I did have to fight through a lot of poodle-dog bush though. It smells awful and the leaves are a bit sticky. When I finally got back to the road, where I found the others for lunch, my pants and hiking poles were all sticky from it. We stayed the night near a ranger station. A guy named Todd lives there. He keeps several big jugs filled with water next to a small camping area so there's water to drink.

The next day we had about 18 miles to go to get to Agua Dulce and a place called "Hiker Heaven", a large hiker hangout owned by the Saufleys. There were a few clouds in the morning that kept it from getting hot before 8:00, like it had been the last few days. But they didn't last. The last 10 miles were hot. Much of it was with no shade to be seen, much less hide in. I had run out of snacks and stuff to eat for lunch so I just pushed straight through it without stopping. I caught up to Dayhiker a couple miles outside of town where there was finally some shade. We walked by the Vasquez Rocks and into town. We found Stride at the store. I got a big lemonade and a pound of strawberries for lunch. After a shower at the Saufley's we went back to town and had pizza. Planning on a relaxing zero day tomorrow.


  1. You haven't told us all what your trail name is.

  2. And several people have asked about your trail name. I hope that endangered frog apologizes for making you take the road around his habitat. Nice that he is being protected just so that nobody can see him.