Day 2.21-23: Like a Killer in the Sun

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

14 Replies to “Day 2.21-23: Like a Killer in the Sun”

  1. Just want you to know that I am enjoying following your journey. At what mile point will you be past where you made it before? Just trying to gage how far from that you are. Do you have a new trail name yet?


  2. Wow… great trip update and amazing navigation of that grumpy section from last year. I think second time around made a difference…
    I can imagine how incredibly good the shower must feel at the end of the long hot day… brilliant move!
    Enjoy your visit to Hiker Heaven… and the continued trek to the Sierras. 😊 every mile brings you closer!
    Jolly rancher booster power rocks
    .. my kids would agree and add HiChew to the list.


  3. Hi! This is trail angel Anne checking in!!! Connected to the SBA (smarter balanced assessment) my whole third grade class was practicing for the test by writing a paragraph about astronauts. I have already written 4 pages! And those 4 pages were just my introduction paragraph! I am writing a narrative story. Not connected to the SBA, today I finished fractions and started geometry. Which fraction is bigger, smaller, or equal ><=?
    2/4 __ 4/8
    8/6 __ 5/10
    4/5 __ 3/4
    Try to solve these Un John!!! And you don't get Jolly Rancher power for this one!!! For your reward, you can have as many oatmeal scotchies that you have left (are there any left?).
    Hope you enjoy solving these math problems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!


    1. Holy smokes Anne! A four page intro paragraph? That sounds very comprehensive. Btw, I loved your oatmeal scotchies! There was no way I could eat or carry them all so I shared at Hiker Heaven. Top marks from everyone 😋 Thx!


  4. Hi UnJohn, Easton here. Did you now that when a rattlesnake shakes its’ rattle and it is pointing upward, it is a warning to whoever it is looking at? I would not have been surprised if it would have taken a bite out of you, but SO glad it didn’t. :0 😀 :O 🙂 :^ :😎😁😉U_U O.O :-O ~_~ :/ 😛 (look at them from the side).
    Did you see Kyle Seager’s grand slam? He hit two HRs! Also Ryon Healy and Mike Zunino homered! That is a lot of bombs for one game. I would hate to be in the Blue Jays locker room when the manager had a talk with them.
    Best of luck!


  5. Hi Hiker Cuz, AppleJack
    Wanted you to know I’m following you and loving your stories. You got grit, grime, and gratitude in one post. Whew! I’m wondering where your mind and heart wander as you walk. Lots of thinking time, at least when your not popping Jolly Ranchers to push up the mountain.
    May your steps be light and bring many happy surprises!


    1. Hey Chris, thanks for coming along and I admire your alliteration! I think of all kinds of things while I walk, designing board games, planning future trips with Kat, remembering the people I love… It will sound odd but I had a good one today, a walking meditation where I was floating above and behind my body in full lotus (imagination does wonders for flexibility). I could only hold it for a bit but it was pretty cool 🙏


      1. Thanks for saying more! That image of your walking meditation is potent. I love how imagination can open into beautiful prayer. “Floating” up the mountain would be really helpful to me…

        PS I dare you to take a selfie with a giant grin!


  6. I followed you last year and was saddened when you left the trail, but applauded your sensibility. Now I am cheering you on again. Thank you for sharing the trip with those of us who dream of the hike.


  7. Glad to see you back on the trail! Just found your blog again. I am the fellow Microsoft employee who followed you last year and hope to do this one day as well. Ill be living vicariously through you yet again. Thanks for allowing us along your journey!


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