Wrightwood to Buckhorn Camp
Mile 369.3 – Mile 390.2 + 3.3 Mile Endangered Species Detour
I rang the bell at the Wrightwood post office promptly at 7am and true to their word, a mail clerk was there to help me claim my box. A quick stop at the Cinnamon Bakery for one of their delicious cinnamon rolls (they run out everyday) and I was ready to hitch back to the trail.
After about 10 minutes, a guy named Chad Keel rolled over from the service station and offered me a ride even though he wasn’t headed my direction. Chad is a minimalist survival instructor who recently returned from filming an episode of Naked and Afraid. If you don’t know the show, basically two strangers are left out in the wilderness with next to nothing save their will and ability to survive 21 days. Chad’s episode took place on an island off Montserrat and will air this season. How cool is that? Thank you Chad, I can’t wait to see your show!
The goal this morning was to summit Mt Baden-Powell, named for the founder of the Boy Scouts. It does not take much to draw a line from his creation to the fact of me hiking his mountain. My time in scouting taught me to love what I’m out doing now.
The trail rises almost 3000 feet over the course of 4 miles reminding me of the Seattle area standard training hike, Mt Si. Lots of switchbacks, steeper and more exposed than Mt Si, the trail eventually crests the summit ridge where stands the Wally Waldron Tree estimated to be 1500 years old. I reached the 9407 foot summit around 11:30, signed the register, and snapped a few triumphant photos.
Descending a couple thousand feet and another ten miles brought me to Little Jimmy Spring. Clear, cold, beautiful water just pouring out the side of a hill. It was the best water yet on the PCT but no sign of Jimmy.
All day, the trail loosely followed the path of the Angeles Crest Highway 2, a twisty mountain road tailor made for motorcycles if ever there was. Most times the highway would appear far below but the trail did go down to touch several trailhead parking lots only to rise back again.
At mile 390.2 the PCT is closed to protect an endangered species of frog. There is a long detour of almost 19 miles or a short detour of just under 5 that both rejoin the trail at mile 394. Though it involved walking Highway 2 for a couple miles, I of course opted for short. After the Mountain Fire Alternate, I am all about making miles on the PCT and will forgo the extracurriculars for the time being unless of course someone wants to lend me a motorcycle.