Friday, May 31, 2013

Forester Pass, Elevation 13,200 Feet

                Forester Pass
(I guess I have bad luck at getting full photos at the tourist picture places.)
Today was amazing! One of the best days of my life. It started with an early wake up and about 10 miles to a creek where I waited for the group while eating. We got going and Marie (Early Girl) and I got going at about the same pace. When we pulled up to Forester Pass, the other guys were already headed up. Spitfire and Dora were a bit behind us, so we waited for them and decided to split up since our pace is different and it's pretty intense up there. So Marie and I stuck together for the entire pass. The other group stayed together. We got to climbing and could see the snow at the skinny pass. Making it over the rumored 6 foot ice wall was nice since it was only about 3 feet. Nice and easy. The back side was very snowy and we knew this was going to be the tough part. We made our way down the soft snow and post holed a few times. Post holing is when your foot falls through the snow and is like a post hole!!! That happens after about 1pm since the snow is softer. It was worth it since if we would have hit it earlier, it would have been icy, and I don't have crampons so that's dangerous. So I'd say we got there at a decent time, could have been a little earlier. We did about a mile over mostly snow and a few patches of rocks. You feel very vulnerable walking over snow since you don't know what's under you, and the slope was pretty steep so you have to make sure your foot has a good grip. I was giving full attention to every step and to the person I was hiking with. It was tough but we got to the trail and made the rest of the way doing whatever we could to avoid the snow, even if it was going way off trail. When all the danger was out of the way, we let out a sigh of relief and entered paradise. I have no way of explaining the 7 or so miles after Forester Pass besides paradise. I was smiling for about the 3 hours of walking and my cheeks were sore, and so was the rest of my body. It was a tough day and also a day I will never forget. I had to get deep with my thoughts for a bit since today brought out so much of my inner soul. It was one of the mentally toughest days followed by entering a place that has such beauty. Now I am camped in the best spot I have ever fallen asleep in my life. Surrounded by towering mountains and waterfalls off in the distance. I know this was a long one but the day deserved it. Also, thank you Marie for being a part of this day with me, I couldn't have done it without you.

   Below photoForester Pass from the south side, the side we entered. And yes, it's where the snow is.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Whitney Side Trail

            Nice picture by a really tired guy. I was thinking he was gonna stand up so that we would be level... He didn't :(
At Whitney side trail. 
It was pretty cold this morning. I got going and made it to Crabtree Meadow and saw about 10 deer. I was far enough away so that they didn't seem bothered by me. We got to our campsite and ate in prep for Whitney. Did a few amazing miles to Guitar Lake. (It's shaped like a guitar.) We met up with some of the guys I saw at Kennedy Meadows. Maverick had a pole and said he caught a bunch of fish in no time. He also caught one without a pole. There's so many up here. We started up Whitney and separated. I couldn't stop because it was cold, so I just kept going. I made good time up the mountain, I wasn't really feeling the altitude. I could tell some of the just Whitney hikers were. They came in from the other side so we did the last 2 miles together. Some had a terrible look on their face. At the top it was an amazing view obviously, however almost better views on the way up, in my opinion. I checked out the hut at the top for when it thunders and ran around taking pictures. I was up there with 5 just Whitneyers and they all seemed pooped and sick except for one guy. They took terrible pictures of me in the tourist picture places. One guy could barely hold my Ipod, so I nicely, was like eh... I'll have someone else take it. I was trying to wait for the rest of my group but after 15 minutes I just wanted to start walking to heat up again. They were right behind me, one by one. They should have all made it. On the way down, I pretty much didn't stop for pictures. I just kept going. I got a bunch on the way up. Maybe 30-50. Now I'm at the bottom having a break while I wait. I figured I'd do my journal now or else it might end up like last night journals, where I was so tired I left out a bunch and probably didn't make much sense. Overall, great day!!! We might have Forester Pass tomorrow, but I hope the group decides they want an easy day since Forester is dangerous and needs full attention. If we do zero, or only do 4 miles, I'm gonna use my mosquito headnet and see if I can catch some fishys for dinner. 

Mile 760, Lake and Bristlecone Pines?

Mile 760
Did about 12 miles to a lake this morning. The one in the pic. Then a few more. I'm allergic to one of these trees, and there are so many different kinds. Also, we are all wondering if we're seeing the tree that's the oldest species in the world. I'm blanking on the name [Bristlecone Pines]. But some of em get to be like 2500 years old. Some we walk by you can just tell they've been through the ringer a time or two. They look at least 500 years old. Kinda like they are Lord of the Ring trees that are gonna start talking and give you very good and wise advice. We are in the area where you have to have a bear canister. I have one... But not all my food can fit in it. Oh well. We keep joking if you see a bear just give it the 'bad bear bitch slap', or say 'bad bear' then bop it on the nose. I'm tired. Whitney tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mile 740, Watch Where You Are Going!!!

              14000 footers off in the distance. 
Mile 740 or so
What a great day. I am now in the area where you can get lost because you're looking off trail at the multiple things that are worth staring at. You can also be staring off in the distance and walk into a rock. Yes, I did both, so now I just stop and stare, as long as I need to. The morning miles were cold but great. Made it to a spring where the water was great. Nothing like pure great tasting spring water from 10000 or so feet. After that we did some tough climbing because of the heavy packs and climbing from 9 or so to 11 thousand feet. I can somewhat feel the lack of oxygen, especially while climbing. I have a Sierra family of five as of now. We lost Midget yesterday. I guess the dog was following us for like 3 miles down the trail, so Midget walked it back and haven't seen her since. It's Dora the Explorer, Crumb Bum, Spitfire, and Early Girl or Marie, and me Pacman. I'll go at least until after Forester Pass with them, and up Whitney. 

Mile 722, Onward to Mt. Whitney

               Kern River. The bridge is where I siesta'd.
Mile 722
I had to say bye to Kennedy Meadows this morning. Tom was great. He goes out of his way so much to help make hikers happy. He is a great trail angel and a great person. 7 of us left as a group and only 6 made it past a mile. One of the young dogs followed us and Spitfire and I had the job of putting it down, I mean not letting it go on the trail haha. The hiking was good and I got to a river at about 1pm with Opa. He is a 73 year old that still moves fast. He grew up doing mountaineering and skiing on mountains that seem pretty dangerous. Also, he has done most all of the 260 or 270 highest peaks and summits of the Sierras, plus 30 extra for a few bonus ones. Whitney is the tallest but one of the easier ones. He has an amazing amount of knowledge and stories about his early life doing all that. Well, I took a good long siesta at the river with the group, then did about 8 more miles to make it 6 miles of PCT. (I got lost.) It's funny though, whenever I'm lost I usually figure out I'm lost and everything becomes even more clear and peaceful. I really enjoy those moments. I found half the group camped and I came in from the wrong way. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mile 702, Kennedy Meadows, and Tom's Cabin

                Hungry hikers eating dinner #2 at Tom's
Mile 702 
I woke up today feeling surprisingly well for having done 38 miles yesterday. Did an easy 5 to a creek, then an easy 4 miles to the first river!!! I got in and had a good clean and break even though Kennedy Meadows was only about 3 miles away. When I got to KM, I had a beer and a burger and a beer and a burger and a beer and a sausage because they ran out of burgers. Everyone rolled in by 4 or so, so there was a good hang out at Tom's Place. He is an awesome trail angel out here. A lot of good chat and knowledge being passed around about hiking and the Sierras. From what I heard, Forester Pass (13000+ foot) has an ice wall that some people are scared-ish about, but some aren't worried at all. So, no ice axe and crampons should be fine. I don't have any anyway, so...
Got a zero tomorrow!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows, 37 mile day

Today I did about 37 miles!!! I left Walker Pass at about 5:30am after saying bye to my Mom; thanks "Pacmom" for coming out and taking a zero with me! I did 13 miles to a spring where I had a snack, then 7 more to another spring where I had a bigger meal. I left there at 1pm and climbed a 2000 footer no problem. 13 miles later I was at a spring with a Pepsi and another big meal. Then right back on the road to finish off with 5-6 miles to make it a 36-38 mile day. My old record was 28 or so. How did I do it? My backpack!!! It's soooo light and feels great. I don't sweat gallons from my back. It was a great day. I was pretty much very happy all day. I passed a lot of people too so it's gonna be a good crowd at Kennedy Meadows tomorrow and Monday. Today, I saw Detour, Spitfire, Midget, Dora, Crumbs, Wally, Yeti, Early Girl, Andrew, Doaf, and 2 southbound weekend hikers. All great people!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Getting Ready for the Sierras and Mt Whitney

                            Mt. Whitney (or close by, anyway!)    photo by Debbie Murray  March 2013

May 21- Story by Doug
Today is day 2 of my zeros at Kennedy Meadows. I will be leaving for the Sierras May 22nd. It should take about 10-12 days to reach Vermillion Valley Resort. I will be going up Mt. Whitney from the west side since I will not need a permit. That would be about day 5. I chose to take another zero here because there is a big crowd leaving the same day as me, so when I go over the first big pass (Forester Pass 13,153 feet), I’ll be able to find someone to do it with, whereas I might have been all by myself before and had to do it alone. The word about Forester Pass is that there is a 6 foot, or so, ice wall that somehow we will have to get over, and since I don’t have any sort of high mountain gear, I really need to be with people that have good advice for how to attack it. I’m not doing it alone!!! Also, the day and night of the Whitney Summit is going to be a full moon, so that should be pretty fun since there will be about 5-10 or so people around that day. I am very excited about this next section and plan on taking the big pass, and the three other 12000 foot passes, as slow and safely as I need to. Also, after I do the first big pass, which is Forester, I can get on a side trail for a 7 mile hike then hitch to a Chevron and Subway where I can add a day or 3 of food if I am really running low. I don’t plan on doing that though; it’s just a safe backup. Also, by waiting a day, it lines up for that to be Memorial Day, so the hitch should be very easy. I feel very confident about this section and it should be great!
As for Kennedy Meadows, this place is great and taking an extra zero was an easy decision. I have been eating a lot of good food, drinking good beer, and hanging around a bunch of wonderful people. There is a general store that has a burger shack and is a fun hangout place. Also, there is a trail angel here, Tom, who is amazing. When the general store doesn’t have something going on, Tom makes sure us hikers are happy. Pancakes, tacos, food, beer, trailers with beds, and internet. It’s not his first rodeo in knowing how to make a hiker happy. Most of the talk has been about hiking and it seems like someone is laughing or making a joke every moment. People are constantly organizing or just staring at their food/packs in prep for the next section. There’s no wifi so this is coming from his computer, so no picture and my other journals are still unsent in my Ipod. I’ll see if I can rattle off all the people who’ve been here today and yesterday: Spitfire, Yeti, Wight, Early Bird, Whitney Houston, Crumbs, Dora, Midget, Horse, Andrew, Beanioa (maybe), Wally, Detour, Jersey, DOAF, Opa, Patches, and probably a few more I’m forgetting.
I'm leaving up for Whitney at midnight of the full moon. Then I get to watch the sunrise up there!!!
More updates when I get to VVR (after I eat, of course!!!).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

PCT Menu

           Doug cooking at home with his backpack.
As you know, or may not know, I used to eat a lot of food before I started hiking, but now that I hike about 20 miles per day, I eat even more. So, I did a list of all the food I ate one day. This was for May 11, I think, the really hot day after Tehachapi, so I had a full pack (5 days) of food. My motto for the first few days is eat whatever, whenever, and as much as I can. When I get closer to town, I usually have not as much food, a light pack, and motivation to get into town so I can chow down on town food. Going into Tehachapi, I had 3 power bars and did 18 miles before 1:30. Going out of Tehachapi I did 21 miles and ate...

2 Cinnabons!!! Yummy
5 bars... 2 cliff, 2 smaller apple filled 150 cal, 1 big chocolate protein 
A salmon pouch 
Half a bag of trail mix (about 700 cals)

4 slices of bread
2 oz olive oil (It's like 200 cals per oz or something.)
3 string cheese
Half a salami log (500cal)
The rest of the trail mix bag

Couscous box
3oz olive oil
Parmesan cheese dumped on, not sprinkled!

Tomorrow the Sierra report...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Zero Day at Walker Pass

                                         Story and Pictures by Pacmom (Debbie)
L to R: Pacman, Lodgepole (tall), the famous French Toast, Geared Up, Maverick (Lodgepoles's son with LOTS of energy), Boomstick (bullets are on the end of his hiking sticks), Cecil, Not Just Jeff, Leftovers the Dog (not pictured), and someone snuck in that I missed their name. 
Thursday: The drive through Kern Canyon was startlingly beautiful… That night I arrived at the Walker Pass Campground at 7:30pm, or so, after a 7 hour drive.  It took all four of us to set up my tent in the high winds. I had the cooler chest, bucket of wood, and 3 large bags to keep the tent from flying away. Doug had been there 5 hours and couldn’t remember what time that we would meet. (I think that he was hungry!) I met Meander (just as his name implies), who was 65 on May 5 Cinco de Mayo. He was also a sheep herder near Bellingham, WA, close to the Canadian border. He had 20 acres with a bunch of sheep. Wight (as in the Isle of Wight South of UK, also mentioning the prisons, mystical aspects, relatives and more…), later to find out he is a lawyer from the east coast, was quiet but ate what was cooked. He started his journey at 300 lb and is about 250 now. We think Doug is still 190 lbs. They happily ate chips and salsa; their eyes popped out for bananas, apples, and pizza! We went to our tents quickly at 8pm, hiker midnight. So, I went to sleep on my slope after the long drive. In my tent I realized that I did not eat, so I had 2 slices of cheese. Yum! The tent was whipping around due to the high winds. I’d say about 20-40 mph wind gusts. Meander says that 60mph will knock you off your feet. He thought the winds at Tehachapi were 60 mph.
Friday: We woke up and I made a big breakfast for us all, except Meander ate less than Wight and Pacman. Doug took Wight to Onyx to pick up his package at the PO which opened at 11am. I stayed with Meander and quizzed him about his life... Then, Meander, Pacman, and I went to Ridgecrest to resupply. We charged at Starbucks (we had 7 electronic devices between the 3 of us), they shopped for groceries, then Meander kindly bought us lunch at CafĂ© Potpourri. The cute young waitress showed us her picture of Walker Pass (where we just stayed) with a rattle snake swallowing a large rabbit in its mouth. (She wanted to pet the snake!) She was a cutie. Next, we went to Kennedy Meadows to drop off Meander for some reason… The store property was very rustic and hip. I met the 8 other PCTers and dog. (See picture.) All very nice. Then we drove back to Walker Pass so Pacman could continue his trek. He is determined on this hike. He packed his new light 2 lb pack. He is so happy! At 5pm, another group of PCTers continued their hike to Kennedy Meadows, about a 2 day hike. I met Spitfire. I just love the names... Then Pacman got hungry and cooked Wight and me dinner that took a couple of hours to cook. I quizzed Wight, who was fascinating, as they all seem to be. At 8pm, we went to our tents, me on another slope with the same high winds. Whip, whip, whop.
Zero day for me was driving about 100+ miles.
Good night from Warner Pass.
Saturday: For Pacman, up and out at 6am. For me, an 8 hour drive home because I took the short cut…

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Walker Pass, Mile 651

              Mama Magic!!! It's Party Time with Pacman, Meander,    
              and Wight!!!

I got sick last night:( I think it was the boxed couscous I ate. My stomach still hasn't fully adjusted to some of these boxed meals you have to eat on day 4 and 5 when all the good fresh-ish food is gone. Did 10 miles to the campground where I hung out with Patches and Meander for a while. Explored around and organized stuff while I waited for my mom. She pulled up and Wight pulled in about the same time so we had some chips and salsa and a good time. Ready for a zero tomorrow!!! And my new pack came with mama!!! It's Sooooo much lighter than my old one. My base weight is gonna go from like 20 lbs down to 15 or 14. I'm gonna be running the trail from now on!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Got up at a normal time of 5am and was on the trail ASAP. Hiking in the early morning is so nice. The miles fly by. There's a still peace before 8, and it’s never too hot. There were rocks piled on top of other rocks that looked like they would fall any second. There was one about a half a mile away, so too far for a pic, that had a large boulder with a round boulder on top with a round boulder on that. Way too heavy for someone to have done it too. It was like a rock snowman. Met up with Meander who was getting going at 9:30 and he just got word that his first social security check was arriving!!! He was fun. I did a few miles with him since I haven't seen anyone for 2 days. Got a solid siesta nap in and get to sleep in tomorrow (probably not till 9:30) because my mom is coming to meet me at Walker Pass. Like Meander though, I couldn't do that if I tried (meander).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Revitalization Spring!!!

I started the day off with a great sleep in. The last two days exhausted me. I had to carry a full pack of food and way too much water. I slept until about 6:30am and it was great. I was in my tent so I could unzip the bag and sprawl out. Then I got to the spring at about 9am after hiking through pine forest, eating about a third of my food, and passing out. I woke up feeling 1000 times better. Did 15 or so more miles after that then came to a Joshua forest/desert where it was windy with no flat spots so I camped on the trail. Today I went though pine forest, an oak meadow, pine burn area, more oak, burn oak area, a cliff with a bunch of wind swept trees, a dense Joshua forest, and then shrub desert. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Black Bears???

I woke up late because of a hard day yesterday. The first ten miles was burn area. Freshly burnt too so there was no shade. It got hot at about 8 and unbearable by about 11 so I took a quick nap. An hour after my nap, I hit the road and made it about 100 yards up the hill where I cursed and was soaking wet again so I took a 4 hour nap/relax time. I got going at about 4:30 and it was nice by then. Still hot but not too bad. Today was another day of carrying 7 liters because there was no fill ups for the 20 miles I did. 7 liters is like 15 lbs, and that's a lot. Tomorrow I have a spring after 9 miles so I'll take a long break there. This is the last SoCal section and it's tough. Water is scarce and it's very, very hot. I'm very tired again. I can sleep in though since it's 8-9 miles to water (where I plan on hanging out almost all day).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Big, Hot Climb

                   The top of the first 2000 foot climb. 
May 12
I woke up to a package of cinnabuns!!! Yummy. I got out of the Wind Farm to the highway, about 4 miles and the cinnabun sugar hit so I took a nice break. Then it began to heat up and I saw the 2000 foot climb I had in front of me with a full pack and 7 liters of water! I started it good then took a break about 30 minutes in. Did another mile maybe then a break. An hour break with a nap. Did another mile and found a good spot for a break and some food. Powered through about 45 minutes of walking then took my hour lunch break. I then realized I haven't gone that far and water is still about 10-15 miles away. So I powered through it taking lots of little breaks and finally made it. Oh, it was VERY hot today! At one point I looked at my map and it said I have about a 500 foot drop then a 500 foot climb over 2 miles. The climb seemed like it was about 8 miles so I think the map is wrong. Now I'm at a spring where I guess there's a local bull that hangs out here so I put up my tent. That was after a long wipedown of my dirty sweaty body. I can still hear the windmills hummin.

Friday, May 17, 2013


                           There's a bunch of wind mills behind me too. As far as the eye can see.
I did the first 9 miles of the morning to a water cache with chairs and fresh Granny Smith apples. Most of the area was burned or cow pasture but there were blooming flowers all over the place. Did another 9 or so to the highway where a trail angel that was going the other way turned around and took Patches and me into town. Ate at a diner with him and he picked up the bill, so thank you Patches. Did an Albertsons resupply then McDonald's for some sauces for my food, some fries, and all you can drink of PowerAde. I have about 5 liters of PowerAde right now and drank about 3 there. Then I headed over to  Big 5 store and waited outside trying to bum a ride back to the trail. It's an art. A nice couple found their way into giving me a ride back. They were great. Thanks Tehachapi! I got there at about 1-2pm and was back on the trail at 5. Patches stayed there because he has to fix his hiking pole. Did a few more miles then plopped down in the Wind Farm to eat even more, and more PowerAde.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pacman's Gear Report

During my 3 hour siesta break today I went through everything I have (not food). I'll explain the things that are not obvious and why I have them. 

Sleeping bag- about 2 lbs, down fill
Tent- about 2 lbs and very small. I've only used it less than half the time because it's a lot easier to cowboy camp
Backpack- 5lbs, 70 liters. But I will be getting a 2 lb one the next time my parents come out because I just ordered it. Same size just 3 lbs lighter and only 100$. Comes with rain cover. 
Sleeping pad- z rest foam

2 liter water bladder with hose for sipping, 2 liter 7 up bottle, 1 liter powerade bottle (0-3 liters depending on how the water is in that section)

Credit card, ID, cash
2 mini lighters
Compass with mirror
Vagasil, haha- for chafing, that was the worst complaint for my first 100 miles and an old timer guy lent me a swipe and I've been hooked ever since, and no chafing ever since. I'm a proud supporter of Vagasil. 
Big blue trash bag- for when it's damp, or raining. All my stuff fits in it while I sleep. 
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Aquamira bleach- for treating water. It's 2- 2 oz bottles that last a very long time.
2 liter pot with pan/lid
Stove- It's a homemade penny soda can stove. Too hard to explain but my dad and I made it. Google it if your interested. Stove, pot holder, and windscreen, and it weighs maybe an ounce! You put denatured alcohol in.
Hiker poles
Ipod touch w/ charger and 2 charge battery backup
Cell phone w/ no charger- It's a small dumbphone, so it lasts.
Toenail clippers
Fire permit and PCT permit

Always wearing...
Sock liners with individual toe holes (2pairs) 
Wool ankle hiking socks (2 pairs) w/ pins to pin on my pack to dry while I hike
Dirty Girl Gaiters- to keep dirt out of my shoes
Under armor underwear
Basketball style shorts with pockets
Hiking shirt

In the clothes bag...
Jacket- good for rain, wind, and warmth.
Rain pants
Gloves- baseball batting gloves
3 bandannas- one for food, one dirty and one clean that goes around my neck while I hike. 
Mosquito head net 
Mesh bag for food
A few ziplock bags for a few different things

I didn't leave off anything. Nothing. Not a pin or needle. I'm always thinking of what I can get rid of. I added a few things the first 300 miles because of inexperience, but now all I think of is: Do I really need that? 
Things I've dropped- I might leave off a thing or two as it's not in front of me
Ground tarp- I added it then dropped it. 
Duct tape
Floss- There's natural floss everywhere!!!
Ibuprofen- If I break a bone or something, ibuprofen isn't gonna save my life. And it's bad for you. A lot of hikers are addicted to it. 
Knife (lost along the way, so razorblade is used.)
Sunscreen- Just cover up your body during peak hours. 
Soap- It gets you 100% clean then you get 100% dirty after an hour of hiking. Water is good enough. And all hotels/ hiker houses supply soap.
A few other things for keeping clean- I'm a hiker, I'm always dirty!
Sleeping socks
Warm undershirt
Underwear- gross!!! I only have 1 pair!!!
Small towel

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Wind Farm near Tehachapi

I thought today was going to be a boring day of straight walking. It started off with a few miles of road walking that I did with Leisure Suit and Little Feet, an older couple from Washington. That made the miles fly by. They are great people. I left them, then did about 5 miles on a large pipe for water, then about 7 along an aqueduct. It was kinda nice... Windy to keep cool and Joshua tree all around me. Took a super siesta as the water from the HikerTown stash was empty. I knew I had 8 miles and only a liter, so I wanted to hike when it got cooler. Carried on and found a cache of water about 4 miles into my hike and chugged about 2 liters on the spot.
Then, The Wind Farm! The Wind Farm is windy! Those things are huge too, maybe one of my favorite little sections yet. It was different, but great! Camped at Tylerhorse Creek with Patches. I think we've camped within a mile of each other for about a week.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Within a couple minutes I was at the 500 mile marker. Then I hit another 500 mile marker, then a few minutes later I hit another 500 mile marker!!! About 3 hours in I got to a meadow that was nice and greenish because of the recent rain, it was pretty cool. I did fast work of 18 miles to make it to HikerTown, another hiker house. It's 10$ donation for staying and 10$ donation for dinner which was amazing. That was kinda wierd since most hikers give money to these houses anyway. I do $20 and some that are retired, or have more money, do more. So maybe if they didn't require it they would get more? We had salad, real mashed potatoes and gravy, and chicken. I was with Patches, Bob who runs the place, and an older couple that doesn't do big miles or eat a bunch. So, Patches and I got to chow down and I absolutely stuffed myself. So did Patches. He's an experienced hiker that's 60ish and has been doing the same miles as me for about a week, so we've seen a lot of each other. He told me about a deal, possibly a mistake, where a very good backpack is on super sale, so I ordered it. I'm going from about a 5 lb pack, to a 1.5 lb pack that's the same size for 100$. Tomorrow is a lot of straight boring walking so I won't have a whole lot to say about it so I'm gonna do a full gear report, I'll list everything I have in my pack. (It's not that much.) It'll help me in figuring out what I can get rid of too.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mile 500

I'm camping so close to mile 500 that I'm gonna say I'm at mile 500!!! There's probably a sign I'll hit within a couple minutes tomorrow morning, or I missed it. 
I woke up super late today at about 7:30 and went inside the Anderson's house for pancakes and coffee. They had 3 previous pct'ers helping out so the five or so of us that were there were being catered to. We lounged around for a bit and they tried to get us to drink beer and take a zero, haha. I had the willpower to get in the van going to the trail. That was a fun house. Very home feeling, lots of laughing, and we watched Django last night. The trail was cool. Did about 20 miles and had a beer at mile 10. The Anderson's do water caches around this area and even get us to drink beer when were not with them. Sidenote for Mom and Dad: It's like the Rambo's when I was in Montana. FUN FUN FUN!!! So, thanks Casa De Luna and the Anderson's and the 3 helpers, Jackass, Smiley Gurl, and I forget the third one. Frenchy, the French guy I met a while back started a fire that burnt a bit of a campground. He is now called French Toast. Luckily, it was the campground behind the fire station. 

I believe this is Billy Goat's cave. Billy Goat is a famous Pct'er. He is an old timer that does the pct every year and is going to forever. He said when he can't do the whole pct, he'll do half, when he can't do half, he'll do a section, and when he can't do a section, he'll just do a half section.
Other famous pct'ers I know about are...
Scott Williamson- does pct every year and about 40 miles per day
Erick D- same but with a little girls pink backpack
Sometimes they do the Continental Divide Trail, sometimes they do both, and I think sometimes they don't actually do it, but mostly do.
Yogi- does Yogi's PCT hand book
The Saufleys- Hiker Haven, the house I just stayed at.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pacman Doug

I got a hiker name!!! "Pacman". Everyone was trying to find a name for me last night at one point and none of em stuck but we knew it had something to do with food because everyone that has gone hiking with me says I'm always eating. The night ended and I got in bed and couldn't sleep because of not hiking all day. I started thinking and got Pacman, got up and said Pacman to the guy that was in the room with me. It's perfect and I like it. It works on a few ways so I'll stick with it. I did 27 miles today to get to another hiker house called Casa de Luna. The Anderson's, who are more of partiers, greet you with a beer and other things to get the party going, and tacos!!! But we are hikers and the lights go out at 9pm. I'm very tired as I did 27 miles after not really hiking for the past 4 days.

Update/Estimate Map

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mile 454, Vasquez Rocks and Hiker Haven

Mile 454

I'm at Hiker Haven!!! Oh thanks mom and Greg again for visiting and taking me off the trail for a couple days. I got a great breakfast cooked by mom then went on my way. Since I got a new pair of shoes, I took it slow and checked my feet a lot as I only had 10 miles to do because I don't want any new blisters. The 2 miles of hiking through Vasquez Rocks was great. It might be my favorite little stretch so far. The rock formations were crazy. I got to the Saufley's (Hiker Haven, Agua Dulce) and got a shower even though I didn't stink too much. Then we all had tacos and beer as it is Cinco de Mayo!!!

Cinco de Mayo
Taco time! From left to right Stacks or Snacks, Spitfire, DOAF, Accent, and Wildflower. Not shown are Waterboy and his wife, who are helping out at Hiker Haven because in a couple weeks when the hiker rush comes through there's 10-50 people here every night. Also not pictured are Donna and Jeff Saufley who were at a friend's house. 
                        Ruins at Vasquez Rocks
Today I took a zero!!! There was a something percent chance of showers and thunderstorms so I and a few hikers stayed inside. There were about 10-15 people there all day. A few brave people took off and a lot came in from the cold and rain. I pretty much just helped out with a few things being set up and sat around chatting and finding out info about the Sierras. I got that whole section planned out so that's a plus. There was a lot of experienced hikers there that helped out a lot with that.
[Tune in tomorrow for my hiker name!!!]

Eat, eat, and eat!!!

5/2/13 to 5/5/13

A long weekend with Doug...

by Debbie Murray

Thursday: Greg picked up Doug at Newcomb's Ranch near the PCT. Then, we all met in the Angeles National Forest on Hwy 2. Greg was doing donuts in the parking lot. I said "Donuts" and Doug's eyes popped out. (He thought I had donuts...) Greg brought hot dogs to cook over an open fire. They were good! We camped... 

Friday: Today, camp and stove fires were not allowed (too many fires in Southern CA). This caused a problem since we could not cook and Doug is always hungry.... So, I made a BUNCH of dip and we ate a lot of cookies that Dad made. Doug was ok with just hordouvres and sweets... Then the boys hiked to the top of the mountain and Greg held up a tree, or something... (See picture below.) We ate and Greg split, arriving home in 1 hour. (This is unheard of traveling anywhere that fast in LA.) 
SaturdayDoug and I got up at 6am to go shopping in Palmdale. We ate breakfast for 1 hour. Then, he took 1 hour to buy good shoes that will go 1000 miles, which means that they will wear out in California! Next, we stopped for a weigh in: 190.8. Isn't this .8 more than when he started??? It must be the shoes... One more hour of food shopping, lunch, then the KOA camping in Acton. (Hikers pay $5. I had to pay $36.) I continued to feed him every 2 hours. I watched him pack his backpack for one and a half hours!!! Apparently, there is an art to all of it.
After 2 or 3 snacks, dinner was a huge steak, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, asparagus and sourdough bread. Ya think he'd have nightmares!!!
Next door to the KOA was the Shambala Preserve. The preserve has 47 big cats (lions, tigers, leopards, and more) that Tippi Hedron (from The Birds) founded in 1983. (Doug heard them the next day.)

Sunday: Doug had a BIG breakfast, looked satisfied, and was off with his 2 huge sandwiches. I had to point him in the right direction, as Greg always says...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Poodle Dog Territory

           Poodle Dog Bush....

This is a half day journal as my mom and bro are coming to take me off the trail for the weekend. I woke up and got straight into dodging poodle dog and wind gusts that were strong. I'm no wind gust expert but I'd say 20-40 mph gusts. Maybe more? It knocked down power lines so the place I'm at now has no power. So it was that strong at least. After a few miles of that and dodging the bush, because it was everywhere, and by everywhere I mean the only thing in sight was that bush, I got off the trail onto a 4wd road and headed back. There was a split in the road with no way of knowing to go left or right and I remembered the advice of always go up the mountain. So I did some more miles on a paved road, then got a ride from a guy who was heading to the restarant I'm now at with no power. So,
 it's kinda closed. Pretty frustrating first half of the day. A few curse words were screamed at the top of my lungs. I'm better now though, haha.
More tomorrow on meeting Mom and Greg in the forest.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Section D-Frog Closing, Detour

The rocky hill looked green. I dunno if you can see it in this pic. Mojave is in the background too.

I slept in late today, 6:30 is about the latest I can stay in my cozy sleeping bag until I have to get out. Did a few miles then took a 4 hour break by a nice creek and got clean and read a little. I'm on an alternate PCT route right now. There's 3 ways you can go at this point because the original PCT closed down due to an endangered frog of some sort. It doesn't bother me that the way I'm taking is a little longer. I get to look out at the Mojave that I will be crossing soon. Mom and Greg are coming in two days and I have about 30 miles to the meeting point so I might not be able to take a 4 hour break and sleep in tomorrow. I'll still get my siesta in though.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grassy Hollow, near Wrightwood, and Thanks!!!


I hitched into town first thing in the the first car. He was a nice guy from town. I got full and in and out of town pretty quick. I was out by noon or so. Did about 2 miles after that and called it quits to have a beer, read me 1$ book, and make a gourmet meal. I had 3 corn on the cobs, a bar of cheese, an onion, a green pepper, and a sweet potato, then washed it down with another beer. I'm stuffed and it's 7 pm and time for bed. Oh I had an amazing breakfast at the Wrightwood Diner. Best town food yet. And my dinner was the best trail food I've made so far too. A day of feasting!

Thanks to Greg and my mom for coming out and visiting, also to Joy for coming out in Big Bear, and her husband Chris for getting the pizza! It's always nice to have visitors.
Thanks from the PCT...
More tomorrow.........