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Martin "Lei Low" Rolph
City: Cameron Park
Begins: Apr 12, 2008
Entry Visits: 1,129
Journal Visits: 180,715
Guestbook Views: 5,607
Guestbook Entrys: 35
Flamingos and Palm Tree on the PCT
I made a slight detour this evening, but more on that later.
In spite of my intentions to get up before dawn and start hiking, I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. The temperature was finally perfect for my 35 degree bag, and I was sleeping really well. I didn't get on the trail until 7:15AM. The trail consisted of traversing up and down ridges carpeted with thick brush, mostly chamise. After 2 1/2 hours (about 6+ miles) I hit the second (and more famous) Anderson water cache called the "hiker oasis" - a shady little flat under oaks. The oasis was decorated with inflatables: two skeletons, two flamingos, a palm tree, and a monkey. A half-dozen lawn and camp chairs were arranged in front of the water and a cooler full of beer and soda. I relaxed for an hour and enjoyed a cactus cooler. Ahhhh! Sickly sweet never tasted so good. As I was contemplating leaving the oasis, San Gabriel and Tortoise showed up. They had camped with Zorro about 4 miles before me.
I chatted with them for a bit before leaving to tackle the next seemingly endless set of green brushy ridges. At about 1PM I made it to the picnic tables at the ranger station on San Francisquito Road. As I was making up my turkey and cheddar on a bagel sandwich, a white mini-van pulled up and a woman got out and walked over to where I was sitting. After a few pleasantries, she introduced herself - Terri Anderson, the infamous trail angel. In addition to the fabulous hiker caches, the Andersons host hikers at their own Casa de Luna just down the road from the ranger station. Terri invited me for a place to camp and taco salad for dinner. However, it was still early, and I wanted to get in a few more miles.
The climb out of the ranger station was very hot and mostly sheltered from the breeze. After even more green ridges and endless contouring in and out of ravines, the trail arrived at Hughes Lake Road and yet another Anderson cache, this one with just water but decorated with red carpet.
I sat down in the shade to relax before scouting out a campsite. I was perusing the guidebook when I noted that the community of Hughes Lake was only 2.5 miles away and they have a roadhouse bar/restaurant/inn. As I was contemplating this option, a day-hiker came by. We chatted for a bit, and then he offered me a ride to town. That was too hard to turn down!
So here I am relaxing at the Rock Inn in Lake Hughes. The building is 1926 vintage and covered in stone. Downstairs is the bar/restaurant, which is full of character. And characters. It is definitely a biker bar - with Harley memorabilia everywhere. It's pretty quiet on this Wednesday night, though. Upstairs there are about eight old-fashioned hotel rooms - bed and sink in each room, shower and restrooms down the hall. I think I'm the only one staying here tonight.
When I walked in the door to the hotel, there were three locals at the bar who immediately bought me a beer. After I checked in and showered, I went back down to the bar for another beer and the all-you-can-eat spaghetti special. A large plate of spaghetti came with garlic toast, and it was definitely all I could eat. Now I've got a comfy bed, air conditioning, and TV (although I might not last much longer to watch TV).
Here's wishing grand adventures to everyone out there,
Martin "Lei Low"
Tales From The Crest
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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