Day 21

28.9 miles hiked

393.2 total

Okay…so today is Baden-Powell day!  There’s 13ish miles to go first before the big ascent, but they don’t look TOO bad.  I want to get to Little Jimmy camp at least because I have a friend from LA that I have not at all concrete plans to meet up and/or hike with.  Is this too crazy to arrange at the last minute?  Who knows.

I get a late start as Henry offers even more trail magic (chocolate donuts and fresh coffee!!) but 6:30 or so isn’t all that bad.  I take a short break around 9 to charge my phone at the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center.  The very nice volunteer asks if I heard anything at Guffy Campground last night. No, and why, I ask?   Appppparently there had been a mountain lion up there stalking around.  Sweeeeet.  Well, time to push on.

I get to the parking lot before the 3.7 mile ascent to the peak of Baden Powell.  I eat more food than I am hungry for, telling myself like some sort of mantra, if I eat these things, my pack will be lighter and I will have more energy to get up this thing.  Here goes!!!

I hyperventilate myself up the hill, taking a few seconds to catch my breath every switchback or two.  I get to the near top, where the final spur is, I check my time.  3.7 miles in an hour 45.  A bit over 2 miles an hour.  How did that even happen, I sounded like I was gonna die.  Time for obligatory photos!

I left my pack at the base of the spur trail and come back to retrieve it and take a lunch.  The tree is 1500 years old!

While I’m doing this I decide to try for a cell signal.  I get it and am able to arrange a meet up with my friend Erin…I think?  Not sure if all the messages went through, I guess we’ll see!  With only 8 miles to go, it means I will definitely have time for a siesta before she gets to Islip Saddle 6-6:30ish.

I get to the parking lot just before 5.  On the final switchback there’s a rattlesnake, eek!  No photos folks.  That brings my count to 3: 2 pinkish red ones and this one, which is black.  This drama finished, I set up my sleeping apparatus on one of the picnic tables.  Many hikers are confused.

“Uhhhh, are you sleeping here?”

“Well not tonight, obviously.  Just for siesta!”  I guess it never occurred to people to sleep on a picnic table before.  Or to take siesta at 5, rather than stopping for the day.  6pm passes and then 6:30, they all seem really dubious that my friend is coming.  But she does!

I haven’t seen Erin since she left I band we played in maybe 7 years ago?  We actually weren’t especially close but I always thought she was cool, and knew she also liked hiking and herbalism.  She totally hooked me up with water, a smoothie, and most importantly, fresh coffee!  I’m not really sure if we are going to night hike like she proposed, but better to be safe then sorry.  It’s soon 8, are we going to hijr?  I assumed she wouldn’t want to hike and she thought I wouldn’t want to hike but actually we both want to, do we power up Mt Williamson.  She takes a nice selfie of us that she posts to facebook later, but I think mine is better.  

An hour later we separate to go our own ways.  I hike down a sorta sketchy path on the more exposed side of the mountain.  I see several tentsites, but I am feeling a big day.  I keep going.  Hell, why not do the Endangered Species detour roadwalk too?
It’s a perfect night for a night hike, with a clear sky and half moon that is super bright.  Soon enough I’m at the campground where the road connects to a trail that runs back to the PCT.  There are a lot of campers up still sitting around fires, one of them comes over to talk to me.

“Hey, what are you you doing?  Are you lost?”

“Huh?  I’m hiking the detour, on the PCT.”  I explain about the Endangered Species detour.  He is confused, I’m doing PCP?  He keeps shining his flashlight directly in my face.

“Hey man, do you mind with the light a little?  It’s the PCT, the Pacific Crest Trail, not PCP.  That’s a drug.  You know, the hiking trail that goes from Mexico to Canada?”  He doesn’t, he’s “new to this camping thing” and still obviously suspicious of me.  I go to put my food in the bear box and he freaks out.  Well. I guess in California each campsite gets their own bear box, pretty luxury if you ask me.  Sorry!  I find some spot to camp away from everyone else and crash.  Hoping to get up early and do 2 26 days to get to the KOA.

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