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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Date: Sat, Aug 8th, 2009
Start: Wards Fork Gap
End: Mt Ashland Campground
Daily Distance: 23
Trip Distance: 1,717.0
Entry Visits: 926
Journal Visits: 132,525
Guestbook Views: 13,620
Guestbook Entrys: 182
Day 92 - Bye Bye California
After yesterday's weariness I decided I would ease off today. I slept in, took my time getting up and ate two breakfasts. I would probably have slept longer if it hadn't been for the chorus of cow bells nearby. So I got going at 8:30 am.
The trail went through some forest and then down over Donahue Creek. This flowed through Donahue Meadow which had quite a lot of cow evidence so I suspect this water could be pretty bad and I'm glad I had plenty for the time being.
Then I climbed again, one final act of defiance from California I thought. A mile up the hill came the big moment - I reached the California/Oregon border. It sure was a moment of elation. I still have to pinch myself to think I have actually walked the length of my home state, all 1699 miles of it. I was alone there and there was no cell coverage to share the moment, but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the accomplishment.
I took a picture holding the camera at arm's length and another of California to the south. A previous hiker had left some scotch and I took a small sip and left the small amount remaining for someone behind me. I signed the register with a note saying I treasure the 91 days to get here and hope the wonder continues as I tackle Oregon.
Just as an eye opener, Oregon seemed to be saying "don't think it's going to get easy" by having a 1000 ft climb immediately after the border. I guess when you end up at Observation Gap some climbing was inevitable. I also passed the 1700 mile mark, but that milestone didn't seem so important today.
A few miles later I found the spring and loaded up with enough for lunch and the upcoming 12 mile dry spell. As I was looking for a place to stop for lunch, a southbound section hiker came by. We chatted for a while and I found out he was a volunteer at the kickoff in April and I vaguely remember him cooking hamburgers. I then found the best lunch spot so far. There was a downed tree that had been cut horizontally on its end and that provided a table and a place for the stove. Beside it was a nice log, just the right size to sit on.
The trail then went gently downhill for a while. I did a short climb to Red Mountain and met a very nice couple who had just returned from a couple of years living abroad and were revisiting the area they have lived most of their lives. They pointed out all the peaks across the valley including Mt Ashland which I am now on. They were very interested in what I was doing and I gave them one of the "business cards" that Charles made for me way back in Big Bear.
The second half of this dry spell involved a climb of 1200 ft but the gradient wasn't severe anywhere and it was relatively easy. At the highest point I met two hikers camping there for the night and they pointed out a cache nearby of water and two coolers full of soda. I took a coke that was very refreshing and I signed their register.
Then I made a dash for the Mt Ashland campsite which I reached just after dark. But I am getting quite good at putting the tent up with just the headlight so it wasn't an issue except by the time I ate dinner it's now well past 10:00 pm.
I felt much better today and got my energy level back to normal. It was obviously a big day and a significant milestone. Now for Oregon, a state I have visited only once before.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
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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