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MTN^alex - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2012

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City: Hesperia
State: CA
Country: United States
Begins: Mar 17, 2012
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, Mar 27th, 2012
End: Julian
Daily Distance: 10
Trip Distance: 10.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 391
Journal Visits: 6,671
Guestbook Views: 190
Guestbook Entrys: 2

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Day 08 3/24 Going, going, lost

Woke up to an overcast day, booked a good 15 miles with Joe, the guy I camped with the night before. Everyone asks me all the time if I'm doing this alone, and the answer is 99% yes and sometimes no. This is mainly a solo thing, but there are others that you run into that are attempting the PCT as well. Joe is a good example. Like me, hes doing this alone, but since we're often within a couple miles or an hr of each other a lot of the time well camp or hike together. He's a 59 year old mechanical engineer from Washington, and a pretty interesting guy. I learned today that he voulenteered for the Vietnam War when he was 19, but it ended while he was in Basic. He ended up doing LRRP, or long range reconnaissance patrol, which I think is damn cool.
The day went on descending through the desert mtns without much event until we set up camp roughly 6 miles from Hwy 78, where we would have to hitch into the little old mining town of Julian for food.
That's when I made a stupid mistake and got lost for a half an hr.
We had set up our tents in this little canyon in the shadow of Granite Mtn. There was absolutely no signal, so I walked up to a ridge a hundred yards away to try and make a call while Joe settled down to make dinner. As I was walking away from my tent the sun was a half hr from going down and I had thought to grab my headlamp, but I wasn't going far. I even thought a second time that I should go grab it but I felt fine.There was nothing so I continued walking on looking for signal. I finally found it but it was only barely enough to send a text and by then the sun was going down so I turned around to head back to camp-except I couldn't see it.
I walked back up the canyon- and nothing. No tents, no Joe. I felt incredibly stupid for not grabbing my lamp as I maybe had ten mins left of usable light. I made my way back up to the ridge and looked down on both sides, and couldn't see anything. I walked up slot canyon after canyon, and nothing looked familiar. I decided the best thing to do would be to head back in the direction of the PCT, intercept it and follow it back until I found camp. I did that and found camp in less than 15 mins. Turns out, I had originally been in the right canyon, I had just gone around a bend and hadn't noticed. I was incredibly grateful to be back in my tent as by then the sun was down. I also felt like a total idiot. I mean here I am hiking border to border with no major navigational issues and I get lost two mins from camp. Ego aside, it's really that easy people. One or two stupid decisions ( like leaving my light and not looking back enough) and that's that. You're lost.
Really, I was ok and the worst that could've happened was a cold night spent and no meal, all within a couple hundred yards of camp. It is a reality check though, and a reminder that every little thing out here has a consequence. Let your attn slip for one second, and youll pay for it. :)

Day 09-10 03/25-26 Julian

We decided to wake up early and book the last 6 miles or so to hwy 78 in time to hitch to Julian and catch breakfast before they stopped serving it. I was up as soon as the eastern light hit my tent and was packed and on the trail by 7am.
It went by like nothing, and the whole time I was salivating thinking about going to a diner and getting my first real meal since I left the border. As the trail winded down out of the mountains I could see the highway in the distance, beckoning me to town. Right before the hwy the trail actually was FLAT for a couple hundred yards, a first! I was practically running the last mile or so and had a big goofy grin on my face thinking about what I was gonna eat in town. I felt like a little kid on the way to Disneyland, except I was dreaming about bacon instead of rides.
Hitchhiking was not anywhere near as scary as I thought it would be, it actually was quite funny to watch the people driving by struggling with guilt or looking away. I think everyone was actually more afraid of us. Joe reassured me to have faith, that we'd be picked up within 20 mins. (hes actually hitched over 40,000 miles in multiple countries and at least 5 times across the states since the seventies!!) Sure enough, the first guy without a guilty look on his face picked us up, another hiker!! Thank you Pat and Christine for making sure we didn't have to walk another 13 miles off trail on the side of a narrow winding two lane mtn hwy just to get to town to resupply. Seriously, you guys were awesome.
Julian was a nice little town, and I ended up avoiding another storm and spent two nights there. The town was founded during the gold rush, and they maintain that old west feeling. Now they're famous for apple pies and their orchards. I didn't have much pie while I was there, but I did have eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy and three BBQ bacon cheeseburger meals over the course of two days. :) I finished everything-gotta calorie load when in town, it doesn't happen often! I needed the protein too. I was tired and slept a ton. I felt 90 from the knees down, I hope I didn't give myself shin splints.
PCT hikers- it you come to Julian, stay at the Julian Lodge!! They cut the price in half for us and give us a free meal! You can't beat that. The cost of staying at the other hotel doesn't even compare. They also were willing to arrange us a ride out of town when we couldn't find one on day 9. Tip them and I'm sure they'll go out of their way for you too!

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Headnorth 2012



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