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PCT 2012

Steve’s trip on the PCT in 2012

Mile 558: Willow Springs Road

Mile 558 found me at one of the windiest sections I’ve been in. I’ve just crossed the first section of the Tehachapi Mountains, and 24 miles of the Mojave desert. When I arrived at Willow Springs Road, I checked my email as I normally do on the Kindle. Unfortunately I got some news that had to cut my trip short, I’ve actually been back in SA for awhile now, and found a fragment of time to finish this off.

I left Agua Dulce around noon, after spending some time updating this blog and chatting to friends and family. 2 days of rest can take a toll on momentum and i found the hiking quite tough. However the scenery was fairly pleasant, apart from there being a fair number of burnt areas the North facing sides of the hills led me through nice cover. The day wasn’t particularly hot, but it was a pleasant change  from what I’m used to. I only covered 14 miles that day to a very windy and exposed camp-site on a ridge, that left my tent sopping wet in the morning (I assume a cloud drifted through during the night…).

The next day was similar, mindless ups and downs, nothing really of note. It was one of those days that i just had to get through. The last few miles had a 1000 foot climb. There’s 2 types of climbs, the nasty convex (Start steep finish flat) and the concave (start flat, end steep). As you can guess the nasty ones are the concave ones. Luckily I had the former, after 800 feet it flattened out into a gentle climb and traverse along a wide ridge. That night I stumbled into an unused and overgrown Boy Scouts Trail Camp, thought of making a fire, instead I just collapsed in my tent from another slog-a-thon.

The next day I followed the ridge I’d climbed onto the previous day, going up and down, mindlessly. The last water I topped up my supplies from was a cache at the bottom of the climb I did the day before. The next water I found came in the form of a ‘guzzler’. This particular guzzler was a covered concrete tank (~200l) with a large concrete pan to collect the water. With many pine trees around, the acidic needles had turned the water a very luminous yellow. Even after filtering the water, it had a slight yellow tinge, and tasted distinctly of pine needles.

During the day and when I’m fairly sure of water up ahead i generally only carry around one litre of water, this allows me to be lighter on my feet and cover the miles faster, and keep going longer. With a light pack, every litre makes a large difference in added weight.

The rest of the morning and through noon, took me along the south and top of the ridge, so it was fairly hot and exposed. The main highlight of this day was that I’d been hiking for 30 days, and was crossing the 500 mile mark. A significant milestone in my quest for Canada. That afternoon took me onto the north side of the ridge, and took me through some nicely shaded forests and was really enjoyable. The main downside was the lovely view onto the Mojave, which I would soon cross 2 days later.

I spent the night before I got to Hiker-town at mile 510 (just 8 miles shy of hiker-town). Camping here enabled me to hike the 8 miles and get there early and chat to family and friends and enjoy the trail angels facility’s. Hiker-town is another trail angel spot that allow hikers (for a small “donation”) to stay for the night in their movie set like rooms. The don’t require building permits if the said building is from a movie set, or something like that.

I left hiker-town around 4am on the 4th of May. Why did I leave at 4am? Well i had roughly 24 miles of Mojave desert to get through with no chance of water during said 24 miles. I ended up walking 17.5 miles to a dry creek bed, and slept for 3 hours underneath the bridge that crossed it. The last 6.5 miles to the flowing creek, where I would camp, was certainly the windiest of the whole hike and I found it fairly tough walking into a steady head wind.

The final day of my hike took me up into the Tehachapi Mountains. It was a fairly easy stretch up 2000 feet in the early morning and along a ridge that took me down to mile 558, a easy 17 mile stretch that got me there at around 2pm.

So this unfortunately is the last post i’ll be making for a while. I hope to return to the PCT one day but my 2012 attempt is over. I have the means to go back and finish, but I know that for me this isn’t an option. All of the photos should be published soon under my gallery and you can follow this link.

Agua Dulce: Mile 454

Its been almost a month since I started. I’ve had my highs and my lows, however everyone I’ve met along the way has made me promise to finish. The day before i got here to Agua Dulce, I hiked 28 miles (45 km’s). It was the first time I’ve pushed more than 23 miles in one day. So far the journey has been more of a mental one, the physical trials are there (28 miles takes a toll) but the excitement proved more powerful and somehow I was able to push an extra 4 miles that day. I kept picturing that I would get to Hiker heaven a trail angels house and that I could IM the family and Kristin. I pushed that last 14 miles and got here before 11am. I look back over the miles that I’ve done and i would never have believed it possible, the only obstacle is that everyday I’m hiking a few more miles, but everyday I set myself a goal that will lead me to Canada.

Keep Reading

Cajon Pass: Mile 342

UPDATE: Some photos have been added in line,and more are in the PCT gallery

3.5 days later and 76 Miles under my belt I’ve arrived at Cajon Pass. I’m staying the night at a Best Western with 5 other hikers. Since I’m the only one sleeping on the floor, I’ve gotten away with paying only $10 also I have an all you can eat brunch in the morning!

I left Big Bear Lake after a slow morning but hiked about 19.5 miles to a Trail camp at the top of Holcomb creek. 6 others joined me when we left Big Bear; Burning Daylight, Orange Ranger, Heart(Mindy), MileAMinute (Jeremy), fidget (Niko) and Liane. I’ve been named Flapjack, I offered to make flapjacks at Big bear, and well Fidget named me after I made some for him using free mix I’d found in the kitchen.

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Mile 266: Big Bear City

Its been over a week since my last post and quite a bit has happened.
The day i left Idyllwild, i hitched a lift from a guy going in the opposite direction 8 miles to the Black Mountain trail head. One great thing about the PCT is how amazing some of the people are in the local community’s.

I was able to join up with Maria for this section and for the next 60 miles. I was glad that I had someone to hike with especially from a safety point of view, since I have never hiked in snow let alone spent more than 48 hours in it!
The road up Black Mountain was at first easy walking up through tire tracks left behind in the snow. ~4 miles on we had to start postholing our way up another 5 miles to the ridge and the Black Mountain campground. Most of the postholing was fairly easy going, but every so often there would be a snow drift that would trip us up and we’d sink up to our knees. Keep Reading

Mile 152: A white paradise!

UPDATE 21/4: Ive added some photos inline below!

So here I am sitting in a hotel in Idyllwild. Why in a hotel? Well yesterday it snowed about 8 inches at 5000 feet…

Since my last post I only walked about 5 miles till I found a campsite. It was a good day, having spent the morning in the community center and only having walked 10 miles that day. I lit a fire and had a wonderful evening with the Niko, Liane and Jules.

The following day I ended up turning a 15 mile day into a 22! Keep Reading

Mile 110

So i’ve been hiking for just shy of 110 miles (176 km), and all within a week!

My first day I hiked from Campo to Lake Morena, below is a photo of me at the Southern Terminus. This was taken at around 6am after Robert Reiss graciously lifted me from San Diego to Campo, around an hours journey! A true trail Angel.

The first day i hiked about 20 miles. I wanted to avoid Border Patrol and since I was feeling good after having a nap at Hauser Creek (Mile 15), I hiked on to Lake Morena where I camped with 2 other PCT hopefuls. Keep Reading

Beginnings

It’s 4:30 here in San Diego. The last time I’ll have Internet for awhile. Today I hope to push 20 miles. It’s a huge first day but it’ll get me way past the border. Apparently all the good camping spots get raided by Border Patrol… So now for a quick cuppa coffee and a 1:10 drive to campo and the border!

Gear Shot

So some of you have been asking about all the gear i’m taking. I have posted a list previously but here’s a photo of all the gear. I think the only stuff that’s missing is food and water.

Gear Shot

Weighing a Spork

So finally I’ve been able to buy/gather/scrounge all of the equipment for the hike into one place, and now i can sort through what i’m taking… Here’s most of the stuff, it’s seems long, but when i weighed it last week, it came in under 10kg (base weight). Thats everything without food or water!

Large Things – the ‘heavy’ stuff

  • Golite Pinnacle Pack (875g)
  • Cape Storm Wasp sleeping bag (760g)
  • First Ascent Shorty Matress (400g)
  • Tarptent’s Moment (800g)
  • Ground Sheet (300g)

Wearable Items (~3.5kg)

  • Montrail Trail Shoes (300g together)
  • 2x Socks (1 think/1 thin)
  • Cape Storm Convertibles
  • “Running” Shorts
  • Long Sleeve “QuikWik” Shirt
  • 1 t-shirt
  • First Ascent Fleece
  • First Ascent Waterproof Shell
  • Waterproof pants
  • 2x Underwear
  • Beanie
  • Hat
  • Buff
  • Gloves

Electronic

  • Canon SX-230HS with cards, spare battery and bag (450g)
  • Petzl Torch (80g)
  • Kindle Keyboard (300g)
  • Garmin GPS (200g)

Other Stuff

  • 2x Waterproof e-vent bags
  • First Aid Kit
  • Pot w\lid & lifter
  • Stove
  • Titanium Spork
  • 2x Nalgene ultralite bottles (1L)
  • Knife
  • Platypus Clean Stream (Filter and 8L bladder!) (310g)
  • Diary + pencils
  • lighter
  • passport w\permit
  • tooth stuff
  • guidebook
  • 1x trekking pole
  • Small Towel
  • Soaps
  • Suncream
  • Stove Refills

So i hope i’ve brought enough, some stuff i’ve pondered over bringing are things like a trowel, iPod, gaiters, crampons. These items maybe be useful but can be made defunct with some Macgyver tricks.

Day Zero


So this is my new blog. Not the first one I’ve tried to start but probably the best one too use for my trip. I’ll try to keep this updated but it’s a long and windy path with limited cellphone reception, but for the moment I’ll be canopy-touring it out near Santa Rosa in California.

My attempt of the PCT will start early April, so check back here mid April and you can read about my first month in California and first week on the PCT. Hopefully by then I’ll be near Warner springs deep south in California…

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