Day 19: The PCT is Well Graded

Memories from May 9

I set out early. The climb above Wrightwood is supposed to be one of the larger continuous elevation gains on the trail. However, the PCT was envisioned for horseback riders as well as hikers and apparently horses can’t handle more than a gentle incline for very long. It made all that elevation gain sound a lot worse than it was. I made it about 20 miles to Wrightwood by 1pm.

There was a cloud trapped in a distant valley which was pouring over the containing hills. The cloud spread out to the horizon in one direction so it looked like the sea had found the edge of the world and was pouring off.

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In the way, I ran across a guy called Ultra Heavy. He was sitting on log in the side of the trail. We got to talking and he said he was packing so much intentionally because he’s always had a “greyhound mentality” and wanted something to force him to slow down.

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Splitter caught up while I was talking with Ultra Heavy and I hiked into Wrightwood with him. We took a side trial called the Acorn trail down to the town it which had elevation change characteristics more consistent with a number of popular day hikes than the PCT. It was down so I could fly with my poles.

In town, Splitter and I hit up the hardware store which has a section for hikers and a list of trail angel’s contact info. Splitter found a guy named Jeff willing to put up 6 hikers and who had shower and laundry facilities. Then we loitered at some picnic tables outside Jensen’s, the local grocery store which nicely and a strip of outdoor electrical outlets conveniently placed near the tables. I went in and came out with watermelon and half gallon of milk.

While we were loitering, an older woman pulled up in a truck and asked I there were any strong hiker bodies she could borrow. Splitter and I volunteered. Carol drove us a short distance to her house where we helped put sides on another truck then she drove us back to the store. The entire adventure was made somewhat more interesting by the fact that she didn’t actually tell us what we were going to do until it was time to do it. For example, when she was actually driving us back to Jensen’s, we under the impression that we were going somewhere to help her load the truck for a dump run.

Around 5pm Jeff came and collected Splitter, myself, Terminator, Gargamel, Texas Tracker, Fruit Cup, Tupac, Jeff (hiker not trail angel), and Michelle into his truck had drove us to his place about 1.5 miles outside of town. Splitter had never ridden in the back of a truck before and today rode in the back of s truck twice. Jeff set us up in his garage which had carpeting laid over the cement. He showed us to the shower and laundry, both of which were through his bedroom. There was a second bathroom not through his bedroom.

Terminator has been itching to give Fruit Cup a shakedown since Fruit Cup has as a lot of obvious opportunities to lighten his pack and Terminator is a huge gear head. As we laid our sleeping places out, there was sudden explosion of shakedowns as everyone started going through their packs and commenting jovially on each other’s equipment.

Terminator going through Fruit Cup’s pack.

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Jeff drove us back into town for dinner. Despite a valiant attempt, I only downed 9 of my 10 tacos. I was given slightly incorrect directions when I asked Tupac where Jeff lived which lead to 20ish minutes if me wandering around, getting as far as Jeff’s neighbor before walking away again thinking I’d gone too far.

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