Wrightwood to Agua Dulce
Mile 369.3 Mile 454.4
Definitely a high point of the trail
The Angeles Crest section of the PCT starts spectacularly with a summit of Mt Baden Powell within the first 6 miles or so after leaving Wrightwood. The steep uphill climb, about 3000 feet in 4 miles, required all my best tricks including my secret weapon, Jolly Ranchers! I keep a pocketful handy for whenever I need a little juice to get up the hill. It works remarkably well and I’ve coined a new verb; ‘to jollyrancher’, to use a hard candy boost in difficult situations. Used in a sentence, ‘I jollyranchered my way up Mt Baden Powell.’
I was rewarded with sweeping views and while on the summit, I heard a loud whooshing that turned out to be a glider soaring directly overhead. The pilot’s quiet command of the mountain updrafts treated this dirt bound human to a wonderous spectacle of freedom. I hope I caught some of it in 360 degree video but won’t know for months.
Wally Waldron Tree- 1501 years old now
At the bottom of the trail spur leading to the summit, near a tree purported to be 1500 years old, there’s a sign that says 9200 feet, High Point of the Angeles Crest Trail. I know that to be literally true and I remember now that it is also figuaratively so. I recall being grumpy about the next 70 miles last year. I will say what it lacks in scenery it makes up for in sheer mileage.
I love me some Little Jimmy
Which could underpin my affection for a little place called Little Jimmy Spring. Water bubbles out if the mountain, clear, cold, and unexpected in an otherwise uniform landscape. Grabbing a couple extra liters because I camped nearby, I initiated a new ritual that I’ve come to love. Aftet sweating through your clothes day after day without laundry, a camp shower tops the list for pleasurable ways to end the day. I have a 4L water bladder with a small flip spout that, when hung in a tree, produces a glorious stream to rinse away the day’s grime. With apologies to the poor woodland creatures who fail to avert their eyes as well as any wayward hikers, this great white beast will continue the practice every chance he gets.
Bliss at day’s end
I have been super fortunate with the weather. I know it can be much, much hotter and even so, hiking long days under bright sun still drains me. Using my umbrella, snacks, and determination I hammered out the miles. People continue to ask ‘why did you start over from the beginning?!’ and I think I have a better answer now. Say you want to climb Mt Everest but only get to Camp 2 on your first attempt. Trying again does not mean flying a helicopter into Camp 2 and resuming the climb. So too I feel like I am trekking back to basecamp including the drudgery miles that some folks simply skip. If you want the summit, you gotta do the trek. By the way, the word is that the Sierra are already actively thawing and I can’t wait to return!
Look Easton! Young rattlesnake!
Lots of this
But also some of this
After a brief respite at the noisy Acton KOA, I wandered into Agua Dulce, home of Hiker Heaven. Along the way the PCT winds through Vasquez Rocks, the backdrop for many a Western movie. Hiker Heaven operates as an oasis for hikers offering showers, laundry, mail service, and camping in the middle of not much. I was thrilled to pick up my second resupply box complete with treats and sweet note from my sisters, nieces, and nephew. Y’all are the best and I am blessed by your generosity. Thank you! 😍
Anybody got any dimes?
The best resupply of all