Never-ending uphill with added trail magic

We’re starting to forget how many days we’ve been on trail now. The days have all just started to blur into one hot/cold/dusty/damp/wet/exhausting stretch of Southern California desert.

The morning we left Mile 320 it was very overcast, quite a contrast from the previous day out of Deep Creek. We enjoyed the cool air though, getting in some good miles. Just before we were due to arrive at Silverwood dam, we came across some amazing Trail Magic! Kristin had a Banana and a Nectarine, and i enjoyed a Nectarine and some sweets!

We set off on our 4 mile stretch around the dam until finally having lunch at a campground, flushing facilities!! It was a very lazy lunch, snacking on our nuts, Clif bars, and Snickers bars. We generally sit for a bit and then dig into our books for an hour, while we let the feet rest.


The McDonald’s at Cajon pass was calling our name, however, so we set off up the hill. It was a very windy climb. We continued to amble on for another 11 miles (17.6 kms), till we were just before Cajon Pass, where we would walk into the next day. It had been a long day, but the views in the last 4 miles were a real treat. We were greeted with some very eroded terrain looking down, and then the Mormon Rocks, San Andreas Fault and finally up at Mount Baldy. We’d be going up towards Mount Baldy over the next few days, so it wasn’t fun looking at what we were in for.

On the ridge overlooking Cajon Pass, we met Elizabeth and Cheez-It, the weather was looking particularly bad the next day, so they offered us to bunk in their room with them! How awesome!

We found a spot to camp that night only 8/10 th’s of a Mile from Cajon Pass, and in the morning got to McDonald’s and had breakfast! It was so great not having to boil water for Oats for once! While eating away, we had a few people staring at us, probably wondering what these strange dirty people were doing eating so much food. After chilling at the McDonald’s for awhile, we sauntered over to the Best Western and found that they’d given us a 3 queen size beds for only $40 per couple! We did laundry, ate a footlong Subway each for lunch, showered and just lazed about in from of the TV, equipment and clothes strewn everywhere. It was a good day to Nero (Near Zero) , the weather looked terrible. It was also fun getting to know about our new friends from Florida, Cheez-It and Elizabeth, eventually getting to bed round 11pm (our latest night yet).

The next morning, at the Best Western, we engorged ourselves on their breakfast buffet. Chowing many mini waffles with syrup and Bagels with cream cheese. Mmmmm! South Africa needs proper bagels like they have here.

The next section of the PCT is pretty much a 5000 foot climb over 20 miles of undulating uphill. (The longest continuous uphill stretch of the PCT) We got a late start that morning, after having McDonald’s for lunch. Kristin and I pushed hard for the first 5 miles and got to Swarthout (Afrikaans? Cool.) Canyon for an afternoon stop. After the fast-food frenzy at Cajon Pass, we were feeling very lethargic and Elizabeth and Kristin were getting tummy aches. Maybe next time we are in a town we should eat less fast-food… We had another 5 miles of constant uphill to go until we crossed the next dirt road and would start looking for a campsite. There wasn’t much and we had to walk another 3 miles to find a decent enough spot.

What awaited us was Tom, a almost undressed guy ready to have his evening Bath… We promptly let him be and waited on the trail…

Shortly afterwards, and after a bit of discussion we all sat down and we enjoyed the footlong Subway that we had packed in, it was a real treat!

Day 4 after Silverwood lake took us over the Saddle (at ~8500feet)  and down towards the highway that leads to Wrightwood. These last 6 miles were really enjoyable, as we were hiking in the clouds with about 100m visibility at times. Kristin and Elizabeth did not enjoy it as much, their tummy’s were still not agreeing with the McDonald’s so much… Whoops.

With the nice cool weather around us, we soon made it to ‘Inspiration Point’, the highway leading to Wrightwood. After only 5 minutes, pretty much the first car that came past, we got a ride! A young family of 5 stopped for us and the 4 of us crammed into their mini van! Very nice of them to let 4 probably very stinky hikers spoil their van:). Their children were fascinated with us, the one girl of around 11 proudly stated that she wanted to do the PCT when she was 25. To some very wide eyes, we shared some stories and answered some questions and before we knew it, we were in Wrightwood.

Barely had our feet touched the ground when this lady drove up and asked if we needed to stay, she spoke very fast and gave us a few of her own cautionary tales. Since we had barely just arrived, we got her number and said we’d call if we needed help, needless to say we were slightly creeped out.

We crossed the street to head towards the PCT central Hardware store, when another local offered her back yard, wow this place likes hikers. Again we swapped numbers, as we were craving some food. We soon found The Grizzly, and had a tasty burger and some hearty soup.

After dinner, our options for sleep were running thing, so we decided to head towards the first lady’s place, at least it was indoors. We’d walked about a half mile up towards her place, when we met Dave. He was walking home from the gym and we got talking, before we knew it, he offered us his place! Dave enticed us with all the left over food he had made for his mom for Mother’s Day and said he had 3 showers. Woohoo, hopefully it was better than the other place.

It was much better! Dave has this beautiful old, owner built log cabin, on the outskirts of town, high up in the Pine forest. We had our best night so far, and Dave was the ‘Trail Magic’ that you just can’t plan for. It was a lovely evening of sharing stories over beer, tacos with so many fillings, Prawn ceviche dip and Flan for pudding! Mmmmm! We even got a comfy bed to get a good night’s sleep. Amazing!

A perfect end to a somewhat tiring but enjoyable section after the nero in Cahon Pass.


  • dgmhofmeyr

    May 18, 2016

    You guys are awesome! How you can walk 18 miles uphill after eating lots of food, and packing out big subways, is mind blowing. Great to hear about the wonderful generosity of Trail Angels.

  • Stella Hofmeyr

    May 19, 2016

    Whew, 5000 feet and al those miles! Well done, and what lovely kind people you are meeting. Love, Gram

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