WHERE: Wrightwood — Green Valley: California, USA
WHEN: March–August, 2018
WHO: Karma & Scott
OBJECTIVE: Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) thru-hike
DISTANCE: 363 – 478 mi (584 – 769 km)

Back on trail after a couple of really nice zero days in Wrightwood where we were spoiled rotten by wonderful trail angels (thanks Diana & Ken!). The weather front had finally passed and the weather is looking really promising for the coming week.

A big day right out the gate, climbing Mount Baden-Powell (9406ft/ 2860m) in the San Gabriel Mountains, in the snow. Turned out to be a full day of climbing, battling through the virgin snow for the top half of the climb then across and over, post-holing up to the knees at times. It was beautiful up there, but really hard work!!

All that post holing did a number on us, a bit sore the next day. I have a sore knee and Scott’s shin is acting up so we decided to make it a short day. The rest almost worked. My knee is behaving again, but Scott’s shin is very sore. We still pushed a pretty big day to get through the closed fire area of Angeles National Forest. PCT hikers have special permission to pass through, but it was really a depressing place. Aside from one little glen, quite magical with living trees wrapped in a thin shiny coating of ice, the whole forest is burnt! I saw no more than a handful living trees all day! It just felt dead and barren and it really got to me.

After a cold and windy night up in the burnt forest, we pulled another pretty big day to get to Hiker Heaven, a phenomenal trail angel in Agua Dulce.

Donna welcomes hundreds of PCT hikers every year, and we were among the first. She has a whole guesthouse dedicated to hikers. The place really lives up to the name. We got hot showers, laundry, pizza and a warm bed for the night. Sweet.

We are just a few miles out of Agua Dulce the next day and Scott’s shin is going from bad to worse! We are aiming at a road where he can bail out and hitch to Green Valley, our next stop, because walking is not happening for him today. He lucks out and meets a really nice firefighter on trail who offers to take him into town. It is about lunchtime and I still have another 20 miles to go. So I pop some music in my ears and just go for it!

I made really good time, getting to Casa de Luna, trail angels in Green Valley by six. Saw my first snake on trail too, a baby rattlesnake, too cool to move for me, so I tip-toed around it while snapping a few photos.

We are pretty early out on the PCT this year, so we have not really seen that many hikers, but we are a tiny bubble of trailblazers out and the weather pause in Wrightwood brought us all together. So at the moment, we are a very small trail family of five, us two and Rubber, Mellow and Brythnie.

We are all taking a zero day here in Casa de Luna today and we are going out to the movies tonight. Then Scott and I will slow down the pace for a bit to let Scott’s shin splints heal up on trail. Pushing on north!