Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Endangered frog, wild fire and Poodle-Dog bush detours

Day 24:

I departed from Wrightwood in the early morning and by midday had summited Mnt Baden-Powell at 9400 ft. 

It was hard going as the switchbacks were steep. At the summit were amazing gnarled pine trees that are estimated st being 1500 - 2000 years old.

The rest if the day was spent meandering on poorly marked switchbacks and trails, sometimes leaving me wondering whether I was lost or not.

 I finally came to Jimmy Springs in the woods and replenished my water supplies with lovely fresh mountain spring water and camped at Jimmy Trail Camp with Avocado, Sarah, Cat Stealance, Gizmo and Dirt Nap. 

It was a pleasant campground but we were a bit concerned about bears breaking into our tents for food. I met a Russian woman at the spring who drives here especially to collect the spring water to drink as she believes it is the fountain of youth. Nice end to the day but very cold and I went to sleep with all my layers on.
Grateful for:
1) Summiting Mnt Baden-Powell
2) Being able to push through extreme muscle fatigue
3) Best spring water ever at Jimmy Springs
4) Great camp at Jimmy  Camp
5) Great company at camp

Day 25:
Spent the day hiking a road detour as the trail was closed to preserve an endangered species, the Yellow Legged Mountain Frog, with Avocado and Sarah. 

We had such an awesome day - good vibes, good miles and had lunch together at a biker restaurant - real food and bubbly drinks, which was a treat! Eventually we arrived at Sulphur Springs in the evening. 

It was a great place to camp with an awesome spring water source.

 It felt like a party at the camp! So many hikers I had met along the way seemed to have reached this camp tonight and it was quite festive. 

Thankful for:
1) Awesome company hiking today
2) Great mileage done
3) Biker dive restaurant lunch
4) Awesome camp again
5) Great spring water

Day 26;
Another long day if detour hiking from Sulphur Springs camp. I left early, at 0545 with Avocado and Sarah in the biting cold. We made good time along the dirt road hugging the mountain, gaining elevation and them descending to a fire station at Mill Creek where we could replenish our water supplies. Along the way we saw bear paw prints and another hiker, Big Red, saw a mountain lion.  I parted here with most of the hikers I knew at a trail angel stop hosted by Teal and Tess where I drank a nice cold beer. 

They all caught a ride to KOA outside of Agua Dulce to avoid another detour hike ( for the Poodle-Dog), but I was determined to go on foot.

 An 18 mile waterless hike ensued with a stop overnight at Messenger Campground ( also waterless). 

I really had to ration my water use as it there was still a long, hot hike ahead of me and the next water supply was at a Ranger Station far away.

Today I was grateful for:
1) seeing bear prints
2) stopping off at a memorial on the detour mountain road built in honor of 2 firefighters who lost their lives up here fighting a wildfire in 2009.

3) being able to hike with others who were better at navigating the detours than I was, thereby preventing me from getting lost.
4) the ice cold Red-bull given to me by a power-line construction worker up on the mountain.
5) safe camp with fellow hikers Sarah, Dan, Bob and Big Red

Day 27:
It's the 1st of June 2014!

Started out very early again to get good miles in before the heat destroyed us. Today was another dirt road detour to avoid the overgrown, poisonous Poodle Dog bush. 

We hooked back onto the official trail after about 4 miles and hiked a long, hot mountain hugging trail that was overgrown and unstable in places. I slipped on numerous occasions, fell once and brushed against so much Poodle-Dog and Poison Oak that I'm surprised that I'm still alive. 

We finally got down to KOA ( Kamp of America) where I had an awesome shower and washed my very stinky, sweaty clothes.

While hanging out in the gazebo, I met Bluesman and Little Ripper who were going to hike the 10 miles/ 16km that evening to Agua Dulce.

 I decided to join them and we had a fabulous tome hiking together, arriving at Vasquez Rocks at sunset. 

These rocks are spectacular and have been a location for many movies. 

The 3 of us arrived at the Sauffley's Hiker Haven around 9pm and were reunited with all our usual hiking buddies which was fun. 

I slept outside on a cot in my down sleeping bag and it was a little chilly.

Hiker Haven is absolutely fabulous and so organized.

 It was like entering a village of hikers and all this is the backyard of Donna and Jeff Sauffley, they are truly remarkable people, catering for up to 50 hikers per night, all donation based.

I am thankful for:
1) Ice cream, orange juice and coke at KOA
2) Hiking with Little Ripper and Bluesman
3) Vasquez Rocks in the sunset
4) Hiker Haven and the Sauffleys
5) A shower and a safe place to sleep. 

Day 28 - 29:
I decided to make up miles while I'm waiting for Josh to arrive from Hawaii to visit me and give me moral support at the same time enabling me to have a four day trail vacation.
I organized a ride with Strange Bird to the Anderson's hiker house "Casa de Luna" which is 24 trail miles away. 

Casa de Luna is situated 2 miles off the trail and offers camping in their backyard in a Manzanita forest, with an outdoor shower and " Hippie Daycare" on couches in their driveway. 

Everyone I met was extremely friendly. 

I departed on my southbound hike back to the Sauffley's at about 1pm. 

The trail was pleasant and in a good condition and in the first 14 miles were 2 good water caches, placed there by the Anderson's. 

By sundown and the second water cache by the side of the road I began feeling extremely tired. Luckily I met up with Emma who had decided to camp there, so I joined her. 

By 6am the next morning I was up and running again and reached Agua Dulce again by the afternoon. It felt good to utilize my waiting time constructively by getting that section of the trail done. 

Going southbound felt strange and I kept running into northbound hikers, some of whom I knew. Now back at the Sauffley's I'm about to have a 4 day vacay. Woohoo!
Grateful for:
1) Getting those extra miles done
2) Fresh food and orange juice which I crave.
3) Being able to connect with family and friends
4) I received my new backpack belt from ULA
5) Josh coming to visit me from Hawaii!


  1. What an amazing journey so far Heather! Enjoy the vacation❤

  2. Thanks Sasha, it's really been something extraordinary since day 1 when you dropped me off in Campo!!

  3. Really glad too here your enjoying So.Cal.it will be much cooler when you get up here to Oregon,were in the 50s in the evenings and its daylight till around 9:30,be able too hike longer,keep up the great posts.

    1. Thank you Paul, looking forward to reaching Oregon!

  4. Am loving this journey,,, keep posting,, lots and lots of love from all of us in Kommetjie

    1. Thank you Ethan and my Kommetjie family! So glad Zi can share this journey with you