High Hill Camp to Wrightwood
Mile 351.9 – Mile 369.3
Camping higher in the hills makes the nights just a bit colder but with the added bonus of no morning dew. Last night’s camp proved a popular spot with several groups wedging into the available flat spots. I think folks realized that at 5200 feet, we were only halfway through the big, dry climb out of Cajon Pass. After McDonalds, the next water was a whopping 22 miles away with ~5000 feet of elevation gain in between.
Marshaling my limited water, I figured I would consume less walking in the cool morning. Up before the sun, I was walking by 5:50, a sure fire way to bag another 10×10. Up and up the well graded trail to over 8500 feet, there were many sights to distract from the climb.
The early light lit Mt San Antonio, the same peak I saw drizzled with remaining snow two mornings ago at the Mojave Dam. With daylight in full swing, photo stops became less frequent and I motored up the hill just a bit parched but getting close to Guffy Campground.
I was all set to find the elusive spring there when lucky me, a car camper had left an unopened gallon of Arrowhead water. A pit toilet, garbage can, and clean water is like a hiker trifecta and I danced down the trail thanking my lucky stars.
At that point it was only 6 miles to Highway 2 and a short hitch down to Wrightwood. This horse smelled like a barn… no wait, this horse smelled the barn (actually both are true) and I had finished my miles by 12:30. The last part of the trail today meandered through the Mountain High Ski Area. There were just a few patches of snow left hiding in the shadows but I used one to scour the crusted salt from my hat and leave a little inside for a highly pleasurable bit of cooling.
The hitch was easy and I was soon ensconced in front of the local supermarket taking down 64 ounces of Gatorade without blinking. There were many hikers lurking about trying to figure out accommodations for the night. I had already booked my room so I wandered over to check in at the Cedar Inn. Terry, the caretaker, was a little leery about just one hiker in the room but I eventually won her over. There must be some bad history of room stacking where a bunch of hikers pile into the same room.
All of Wrightwood is on septic systems so there are no laundromats in town. No problem, I know how to do bucket laundry and will go so far as to say my clothes are cleaner. Showered and psyched about my day off tomorrow I’m off to find dinner soon.