Day 21 – All Wrightwood

Wrightwood, CA
Mile 369.3

It’s Catweazle!

Much like Idyllwild, Wrightwood was crawling with scores of hikers these past two days. It may be due to the holiday post office closing creating a minor backup but favorites old and new made appearances. FlowerMan and CatWeazle (so named due to his likeness to an eponymous British TV series), Neon, Gulliver, Smeagol ( a woman from France who apparently beat a fish to death behind a rock?!), Uhuh, Socrates, RootinTootin (you guess) and many others were there.

The lovely Cedar Inn of Wrightwood, CA

All of which to say is that it  has become pretty lame to introduce myself as John from Seattle. “Dude, you gotta get a trail name, John is way too hard to remember” admonished Lego back at McDonalds. Lots of folks have been calling me some form of Jack because of the hat and my sister suggested Newton, he of the apple on the noggin legend. The pinecone that beaned me was the size of a pineapple… So, hopefully, without the need of further hints from above, I accepted the name given me by the trail- AppleJack.


The fact that applejack is a pre-prohibition liquor made by cold distillation of apples (I already have a trailname  cocktail devised in my head) and it happens to be the main ingredient in a drink called a Jersey Girl (all roads lead to Springsteen) further seals the deal. I went about town today proclaiming myself to be AppleJack. One note please: Let’s all together forget that Applejack was also a star character on the cartoon hit show My Little Pony.

Guacamole fish burger

It seems like the only other thing I did today was eat, anything and everything. I can’t ever remember being able to eat this much and never feel full.

Memorial Day service in Wrightwood
Remembering the fallen and missing

Being in a small town on Memorial Day was a poignant reminder of the sons and daughters who did not come back home. There was a small gathering around midday and I spoke with veterans and family members about their stories.  I was touched by the simple humility of their service to our country and cannot imagine the powerless agony of having your child put in harm’s way.

Me and my Snoofer

My thoughts were colored too by the happy fact of my daughter Kayla’s 26th birthday today. Kayla, your intellect, kindness,  empathy, and willingness to help others make me proud to be your dad. Yours is a bright light shining in this world and I love you. Happy Birthday Kayla Bear!

Besides eating, I spent most of the day off my confused feet. “Wait, no walking today?”. I caught up with friends and family and did the mundane work required by the real world, paying bills etc. I am sure rest does a body good and all but I feel like it’s been forever and I’m ready to get back out there. Onward!

9 Replies to “Day 21 – All Wrightwood”

  1. As you leave Wrightwood today and resume the journey, I am thankful for the memory of our conversation yesterday… Climb that mountain! Baden Powell looks pretty high!


  2. Hey John, just got a hold of this site via my Mom, and am really psyched you are tackling this. I have actually crossed that trail twice and seen hikers near Borrego Springs CA both times this year. Had no idea at the time you were probably nearby. Contact me at my email if you have any free time. I have a few questions I would love to ask you. Also, please let me know if you need anything this weekend as you cross over the desert near Lancaster. I am nearby and happy to use it as an excuse to get in the Land Cruiser to meet you. Have fun, Joel Shook


    1. Joel Shook! Now there’s a guy I’d love to have a beer with. I’ll have to check my maps and will reach out if something looks doable. Cheers!


      1. Please do reach out if there is a possible connection John. I am free both Saturday and Sunday to connect. Would be great to catch up and deliver some more maple bars and Gatorade!


  3. Hi Applejack, my name is Paul and I came across your blog while dreaming of thru-hiking the PCT and trying to avoid some boring legal work….Good job, and thank you for posting. I subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading about your adventures (And go Totes–my oldest daughter graduated from SHS in ’04 right before we moved to Boise from Bellevue). Best, Paul


    1. A is for apple, J is for jacks, cinnamon toasty AppleJacks… I remember it well and a heaping bowl sounds pretty good right now.


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