5/9 The Long Dry Downhill (Mile 43-66)

Woke up early in the morning and headed out around 5:30. Feet are feeling good. That rest helped alot. This bit is following the ridge so I’m making some good time. Ran into a few day hikers until Pioneer CG.
Had an interesting encounter at Pioneer around 10 in the morning. A kid named Twister is sitting under a tree with his shoes off and his feet have like a dozen bandaids of various sizes and states of stickiness. I stop to chat and he is going on about partying in Lake Morena and that his group is a few miles ahead. Something a little odd about that boy.

I bypassed the horse trough at Pioneer, but targeted Sunrise trailhead for my water stop.  That horse water wasn’t looking so good. Sunrise is about 18 miles from Mt Laguna and there should be plenty of water driven in by trail angels. When I got there, sure enough there was a pile of gallon jugs of water. Only one hiker around, but she pointed me to a small climb of trees at the end of the parking lot. There I found a group of 4 hikers huddled under a tiny bit of shade.

They made a bit of room for me and chit-chatted while making some DELICIOUS Chile Mac. Couple gals named 35 and Late Start. Two guys Gormet and CocaCola. Gormet has done the AT in ’19 and from Wisconson, so it’ll be interesting when he meets StormTrooper. 35 did the trail from Tehachapi North. She is back to finish this section then bouncing to Stehekin, WA to work at the bakery there. It will be really cool to say hi when I pass through later this year. Late Start did the CDT last year, so there is a bunch of hiking power here.

I want to catch up with my boys, so I took off early and jammed in a bunch of downhill miles. Finished up at mile 66. I stopped at the same camp I hiked into last time. Really nice spot with plenty of room. My Sunshine Trailhead tree people all turned up with a couple other strays and made camp. They were chatting into the evening, last thing I recall hearing was “Oh Salty J went to bed early”, heh. Yes he did. 23 miles today.

5/8 Zeroing in Mt Laguna (37-43)

Today Anthony, Storm, and I packed up and headed into town together. Bryan spent a little extra time in camp doing that coffee thing and caught up with us there. It was a small climb into the tree line, then a nice shady alpine trail . About 6 miles to the cafe. The place has been taken over by a french couple so there were some oddities on the menu. I ordered some weird thing: An egg on a hamburger patty a slice of tomato on a sour dough bread and covered in Holandish sauce. Side of tater tots. Yum.

I’m getting some hotspots on my feet. The one that has me worried is a big hot spot on the ball of my foot. If that turns into a blister my hike will become 2x more painful. I would like to keep hiking with these guys, but my feet need a rest.  I decided to get a room at Mt Laguna for the night.

Sat around with the guys in front of the store for a while then they pulled out. Waited another hour until the room was available, then bought a big can of beer, a frozen pizza, ate it all and crashed for a few hours. Washed my clothes and myself. Later I got up ate at the cafe, then right back to sleep. I was pretty beatup and began to have a few doubts about this whole thing.  

5/7 Time to Climb (Mile 20 – 37)

 

It was really cold last night. Below 40 last time I checked.  The spot is next to the lake and the microclimate here was wet and cold. Slept really well, but I’m building up a water deficit (again). I finished packing up and hit the trail around 7:30 or so. Stormtrooper bolted almost an hour earlier. It was mostly flat for a few miles to Bolder Oaks CG where I ran into Bryan and Anthony. Bryan is a mechanical engineer who did a bunch of interesting gigs over his career. He says he holds the patent for the chemical/mechanical process for recycling the foam that is used in womens bras. Many jokes were had about that one. He is a part time ski instructor in Squaw Valley and getting ready to retire soon. He and I had much to talk about.

Bryan left Bolder Oaks ahead of me. Anthony and I wound up hiking together. The climb was constant and exposed, but nothing like the steepness I had to deal with yesterday. Anthony is a Michigan resident with an Advertising degree. He quit his job writing copy for GM and is working on the next move…..to the west. Might be a California resident some day.

Anthony and I arrived at a at Kitchen Creek at mile 30. Written in the dirt was a shout out to Salty J with an arrow pointing down hill. It was a super spot. Nice running water across wide flat granite. Forgot to take a pic. Stormtrooper and Bryan were down there spawled out under the only piece of shade available. I took a break there for 45 minutes, but more and more folks kept showing up to share space under a single pathetic little tree. I filled some bottles and took off. All these kids are going to kick my ass anyway, might as well get a head start.

Bryan, Storm, and Anthony all agreed to aim for a spot at mile 37. My stupid Spotify cut out on me during the climb. I think the local cache is messed up which means I need an internet connection to fix. Guess I’m going to be humming to myself for a while. The guys caught up to me one by one and I ended up leading the parade into the camp site. Nice spot with some mildly nasty water.

PCT Shakedown (Mile 0 – 20)

5/6 – I’m going to finish the PCT this year!   My plan is to start hiking from where I left off in Oregon on July 1st.   It has been a few years so I thought it prudent to do a few hundred miles locally to retest my equipment and see if I’ve still the stamina to do it.   I figured while I”m at it, might as well make a few friends that I might see  in Oregon.   So, going to start from mile 0 and walk to Idyllwild  at 179.   I’m starting in early May, so I should see some of these folks passing me up North in July/August.   

Steve and Maria did me a solid.  They hosted me last night then agreed to get me on the trail early today. We got up at 5:30, breakfast, then at the trail at 7 am. There were a few folks milling around after getting dropped off. Everybody wants the hero shot at the southern marker next to the border.
I was debating whether to stay for my turn at a picture. Some gal was there offering everybody birthday cake. I don’t know, something about section hiking for 4 years and finally finishing. She was very insistent.  Any hiker who came within 30 feet of the marker was getting an earful. So, yeah no thanks. I strapped in and started walking.

Shortly after that I crossed a campground for PCT’s planning to start the next day. Legend was out there offering up breakfast. I met him in ’17 . He likes to follow the hiking bubble north offering up pancakes, eggs and speghetti for dinner. Nice guy, though a little odd. Anyway, I quickly ducked into the bushes before he saw me.

The climb up started shortly after. I was crushing it, doing a 3 mile/hr pace. I pretty much kept that up for 15 miles to Haurser Creek. Saw a few hikers on the way. Some gal tucked into the shadow of a rock, few other guys and gals taking breaks. They were all nooblets judging from their pack setup. I did stop and spend a bit of time talking to a guy named stormtrooper. He definitely had the “look”. Tall, lanky, nasty cap, and a ultralight pack. He was whining about the heat which I found amusing (it was <80).
I carried on for a bit and eventually Stormtrooper caught up and we hiked together into Hauser. He’s 28 years old from Wisconson and hiked the AT a couple years ago. His parents own a bait shop there and he’s full of fishing stories. Super nice guy.

Well Hauser creek was not….a creek. There was a couple sad little puddles to draw water from. A couple gals spent an hour there filtering water. They kept adding extra filtration steps using a shirt to on the same bottle over and over again while going on about bugs.

Stormtrooper and I grabbed a couple liters each, then layed down in the shade for a couple hours. I shared some tips about dealing with hiking in the arid/desert environment. One key tip was start early, sleep through the hottest part, then grab some more miles.

We left to do the exposed climb out of Hauser at around 5:00. Temps were pretty good, but I was dragging ass. The super hiker I was before was a worn out old man on that climb. Storm had his first rattlesnake encounter on the way up. The thing was noisy, but far enough off the trail to walk around.
Eventually I made it to Lake Morena, had a sandwich, bought a couple supplies I had forgottten, and brought a 12 pack back to camp for the hikers. 20 miles today. Life is good.

Bike Routes in Oahu

Alice and I have rented a place in Honolulu for about 7 weeks before we move into our new place in Ventura.    So we are living like residents for a bit.   One of the first thing I did was buy a used mountain bike to do some exploring.   Got a decent hard-tail for $200 and it is holding up pretty well.

Home base is here in Waikiki

Area of Mountain Bike Operations

Here is what I’ve found so far using a combination of guides, guesses, and occasional trespassing.   Note: Almost all is paved or roughly paved so far.

Makapu ‘ing

This has been my go-to route for getting some exercise and nice views.   Water up before leaving Waikiki.  You can get some food/water at Hawaii Kai but East of there you are on your own.   No towns, haven’t found a working water tap.

Take swim gear and snorkel.  Plenty of spots to jump in the water to cool off.

Here are a few pics from recent outings.

East of Hanauma
Climb to Makapu’u lighthouse. There’s some double track dirt goodness down there
Panorama from above Makapu’u Lighthouse

Punchbowl

This was not one of my best route planning outcomes.   I basically just hooked up with Alice for some food and then heard about the Punchbowl and figured the road called “Punchbowl” would get me there.   I recommend finding a better loop.

When you get to the top you will find a huge military cemetery and memorial to (mostly) vets from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.   I find it interesting that so many of the Japanese-American vets have fresh flowers on their markers.   Anyway, here is the view that awaits.

Money !
Still Paying
Toward Pearl Harbor
The Cemetery, Super Peaceful

Failing to Pearl Harbor

Not everything works out.   Here is an example of where not to go.

Sucks

There are no pictures.

Winning with Tantalus

I’ve included my second route through Tantalus which, according to Google, is only 13 miles.   But these are some hard miles.   This is a 1500 foot climb up into a rainforest and yes, it is raining.   It has that feel like it is wet all the time.    At the top the temp was at least 10 degrees cooler.   Rode through the rain on the downhill, sliding turns and passing cars.    Winning.

Tantalus
Peaking
Looking Toward Waikiki
There’s Pearl and the Airport