View/Sign my Guestbook
Molly "Murphy" Hock
Begins: Apr 27, 2011
Date: Fri, May 20th, 2011
Start: Joshua Tree Music Festival
End: Big Bear
Entry Visits: 1,541
Journal Visits: 8,392
Guestbook Views: 236
Guestbook Entrys: 10
Pacific Crest Trail Map
I am finally starting my blog today! (Only three weeks late). I will be creating a more formal online blog where I will be writing entries as well as adding video blogs. Today I will start with the last stint of our journey, but will eventually update you all with how our first couple of weeks treated us!
For all my 'real-life' friends out there, I will explain how we came about our trail names. As many of you know, I have the smallest bladder known to man-kind, so Kyle started calling me Squatter. I didn't really know what else to call myself, so I started going as Squatter. After a couple days of hiking and introducing myself to people throughout the day I realized I was no longer going to refer to myself as 'Squatter'. A bit embarressing, huh? So a few days went on and the boys (Side-Track and Dump Truck) starting calling me Murphy. Even though we never officially changed my name, everyone who had been exposed to my experiences in the first couple weeks caught on to Murphy and it definitely stuck! For those of you unfamiliar with Murphy's Law, it is an adage that states that, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong"... That gives you a little sneak peak two my first couple weeks on the trail! My dad has a pretty self-explanatory trail-name, Tortoise. He has been Tortoise since day one, but we often refer to him as 'Bullet' now, because he often beats Dump Truck and I to camp! As you have probably already realized, Kyle's trail-name is Dump Truck! No explanation neccessary... (from the girl friend anyway :)).
We started where we left off Friday afternoon for the Joshua Tree Music Festival this past Sunday evening. Starting at mile marker 209.6 we hiked in about 4 miles to a wind farm. We were planning on hiking around 7 miles that evening, but we had a difficult time re-entering 'trail mode'. The cold beer, hot and windy weather and dancing at Joshua Tree had taken its toll and we were in need of some catch-up sleep. The wind was outrageous (hints camping near a wind farm, woops!)... So needless to say, we had a difficult time setting up the tents and were not reluctant to climb in as soon as they were set up!
The following morning we were forced to dig up that motivation we couldn't seem to find on Sunday. We got a bit of a late start, so we sent Papa Tortoise on his way. About a mile into the trail we were surprised to see him sitting by the h2o sign. I wasn't in need of water at that point so I figured I'd just hike on, but luckily Tortoise had seen a couple hikers walk by with burritos in hand. Apparently this wind-farm sells microwavable food and ice cream, so obviously we trekked over to check it out! I was so excited to see warm (and oh so healthy ;)) food that I devoured a mini-pizza and a hot pocket for breakfest. TRAIL MAGIC indeed! Thank you guys! We appreciate the water, snacks and escape from the wind! Glad you don't mind our hiker-funk enough to keep us out ;).
About an hour later we were back to the trail. We had met a couple new hiker friends, who we played leap-frog with all day on the trail. It was an extremely windy day, which played a factor in yet another slow day. We hiked 13 miles before we hit a creek and decided to call it a day. We warmed up our mountain house lasagnas and jumped right into our 'warm' sleeping bags. My sleeping bag is rated to 15 degrees, but somehow I still managed to sleep cold.
The wind continued to roar through the mountains and valleys we were hiking through the next day... And the temperatures seemed to be dropping even more. After a fairly hard day of hiking we made it to a nice spot with some tent space and a fire ring. The plan was to continue on another mile, but it was a steep climb and the weather was changing for the worse. Dark clouds and moisture were rolling in and we wanted to be sure to set up camp before the rain hit. As soon as Dump Truck started the fire Pepper and Mace (also referred to as the Israelis), decided to quit a mile early as well. My dad seemed pleasantly surprised to come around a corner to find us sitting by a warm fire... As were Justin (Sheppard) and LeAnne, who eventually were drawn in by the fire. So Far was the only hiker who passed the fire with enough determination to continue on!
A slight, but constant drizzle ended up freezing over night, leaving ice on our tents and the surrounding area. I don't have a clear view from my tent of the sky, so I was laying in my sleeping bag imagining the worst. But luckily Justin was out of his tent and encouraged us all to wake up to see the blue sky! I thought he was full of it, but sure enough it was clear outside! With that motivation we all packed up and got ready for another day of hiking. One of the Israeli's asked me what all the stuff falling from the sky was. I figured it was the moisture from the trees that we had been feeling on our tents before we got up... But it turned out to be snow... and the dark clouds returned! We had a full day of snow and cold winds, but managed to make it 18.5 miles to the next camp site. Three miles before we hit camp we landed upon a major blessing... Cold pop, fresh produce, cookies and some canned chili. TRAIL MAGIC! We rested up while consuming fresh fruit for the first time since the festival. It was honestly a blessing and it gave us the energy to bust out three more miles before dark. Thank you trail angels!!
Papa-Tortoise gave me my wake up call at 7:30 the next morning when he took off to meet us at the highway 18 crossing. We were all very eager to get there to hitch into town for sandwhiches, showers and a dry/warm place to sleep for the night. I made a reservation at the Nature's Inn for Dump Truck, Tortoise and I for only 50 bucks... And the room came with a big jacuzzi! Dump Truck and I left camp an hour (on the dot) from my dad and we kept a rather fast pace to try to catch him before the highway. We slammed out 9.5 miles in 3 hours and ten minutes... But my dad was nowhere to be seen. I kept telling myself there was no way my dad could finish that before we caught him, so I was hoping he had already found a ride into town. I couldn't seem to find my phone anywhere and the battery was dead anyway... as was Dump Trucks. Fortunately there was another hiker hitching in the same spot who offered us to use his phone. When I got ahold of dad all I heard him say is, "I'M LOST". To be honest, profanity was all that came to mind and I felt guilty I had already made the road when he couldn't find the trail. The connection was terrible, but eventually I made out that he was back to the trail and only about an hour out. I decided to wait for him before his first hitching experience on this trip... But when a taxi pulled up offering 5 of us a ride for 3.50 each I couldn't pass it up. Sorry dad ;). We checked in at Nature's Inn at noon and immediately were off for food and the hiker-box. (I will fill you in on all this hiker lingo on my entry about my first couple weeks on the trail). Before we made it to the post office to check-in we ran into the Israelis again. They had there thumbs out and a local offered us all a ride to Alpine Country Coffee Shop (or somethin' like that). We were planning on eating near the Inn to wait for Papa Tortoise, but once again, we couldn't pass up the ride that fell into our laps! When our food arrived we were very thankful we made that decision! I had been dreaming of a bacon and turkey sandwhich on the trail, which exactly what I ordered! Arroy mak mak ka! (sorry, the Thai slips out now and again. arroy mak mak ka = very delicous!).
There was a print shop conveniently located behind the restaurant where we were able to print off half-mile maps and an updated water report. Also conveniently located, was the liquor store next door. After a few days out on the trail, a cold beer does you well! We grabbed three tecates and started the hitch back to the Inn. The hitch out of town proved to be much more difficult than the way in, but we managed to get a ride from a local lady and her very intelligent daughter. She was ADORABLE and reminded me of Tati (sigh). Once back at the Nature's Inn I layed in a food comma until I cleaned off in the shower and then soaked in the jacuzzi. My legs and back much appreciated the hot water (and the soap of course). I did my laundry while sipping my Tecate and then discovered yet another blessing... A donut shop right next door to the laundromat! I had a crumble donut and about five donut holes. The employee got a kick outta Dump Truck and offered us free donuts when the shop closed at nine... If only we had stayed awake that late! After the donuts I stopped by the market to buy even more munchies, grabbed my laundry and headed back to the room.
That's all for now folks! I will try to add another entry to bring you all up to date soon!