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MK&JD - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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City: Philly
State: PA
Country: USA
Begins: Jul 16, 2011
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Nov 24th, 2011
Start: Big Bear, CA
End: Death Valley, CA
Trip Distance: 1,700.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,668
Journal Visits: 14,485
Guestbook Views: 1,405
Guestbook Entrys: 31

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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Poodle-Dog Bush

Off the beaten path

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

Well we have been putting this off for a little while....

Upon reaching Big Bear we sought medical advice on JD's tick bite. The swelling had continued up his arm and we were worried about the potential problems that might arise. He was prescribed an antibiotic and basically told to end the long distance hike, as some of the side effects were not conducive to hiking. To make matters worse he also had a nasty reaction from coming into contact with the infamous Poodle-Dog bush. For those not familiar with this horrid plant it produces an outcome similar to poison ivy/oak (red raised blisters & terrible itching). This VILE bush was encountered a day out of Agua Dulce and continued for the most part until Big Bear. Some areas of the trail were completely covered and avoidance was not possible. We took every feasible precaution to eliminate contact (long sleeve & pants and in some areas bushwhacked to ridgelines where it wasn't as plentiful), but obviously nothing worked. Being a trooper he suffered in silence while it spread over his body. All of this coupled with the recent snowstorms has made the decision to stop a little (key word...little) easier. Not having adequate snow gear AGAIN (boots, winter/waterproof attire, crampons & ice axes) for the upcoming section in the San Jacinto Mountains (Fuller Ridge) made us a little nervous. We did not want our journey to finish like this, but what can you do.

Our PCT journey is on hold with about 1,700 miles completed. We feel so privileged to be one of the very few (4 others we know of) SOBO hikers who have have finished over 1,500 miles of the PCT this year. Congratulations to Scott Williamson (set PCT record), Sam Fox, "Crazy Mother" and Brain for being the only others crazy enough to attempt such an undertaking. We have learned so much and are already planning a thru-hike of the CDT in the near future! Having hiked some of the CDT many years ago we wanted to attempt something a little less daunting first. JD has hiked most of the AT and felt the PCT was a good stepping-stone.

So what do you do when find out you must end your long distance go day hiking!!! We are pretty sure that the medical advice given was to stop hiking, but neither life nor loss of limb was going to end our adventure just yet! Wanting a change from the snow and cold we headed to Death Valley. This was our second time in Death Valley so we had some unfinished business exploring the park. Deep narrow canyons have always intrigued us and there are some awesome ones in Death Valley. Not as remote or remarkable as some we have seen in Utah, however they hold their own. Fatigued from the medicine and the bout of Poodle-Dog bush JD was not on top of his game and managed to hurt himself again. Luckily this time it was only a flesh wound and nothing serious like Aaron Ralston in "Between a Rock and a Hard Place"!! We spent a few days playing in the park before heading back for Thanksgiving at MK's brothers house in central Cali. We have been talking about a turkey feast for months!

Our PCT experience was nothing short of amazing and we enjoyed every mile hiked. We thank family, friends, and all the wonderful people we have met for their support, generosity, & kindness throughout our journey. We will be posting some more pictures from our trip in the next few weeks, including never before seen pictures & video of our ENTIRE adventure out west (hint...we also toured around the west coast).

So tune in next time, different trail time, different trail channel....

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Journal Photo

Our PCT Hike

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:


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