Opening Statement

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Sunday, May 14, 2017

PCT5 - Humility and Determination - Casa de Luna to Wrightwood - 108 PCT miles

I was stopped for water at a fire station and chatting with another hiker. We were both alarmed to see another hiker stumble in sideways with a severe limp. His knees were giving out. We helped him to the fire station where he could make arrangements to end his hike and fly home.

Somewhere around 300 miles into the PCT, overuse injuries start taking their toll on many hikers.

Around Acton my own routine started to include regular doses of aspirin, and I'm currently laid up for two days in Wrightwood to allow my shin and knee to quiet down. On the trail this is often referred to as taking Vitamin I due to the popularity of ibuprofen.

On the plus side, Wrightwood is a delightful small town and the weather is perfect right now.  Wrightwood also has the reputation with many hikers as the most hiker-friendly town on the entire trail.

This begins with friendly people, and extends to being small enough that everything is within walking distance.

Leaving Casa de Luna headed South, the trail goes through some mountain desert and arrives at Agua Dulce after about 39 miles, where the Saufleys have created a hiker compound on their property called "Hiker Heaven," which is only slightly tongue in cheek.

I stayed two nights, delaying my departure partly because of an unseasonable storm that dusted the local mountains with snow.  On the second night, the compound was crowded with tents as hikers had rushed off the mountain to get lower to avoid the storm.

The next day, I hiked through the famous Vazquez Rocks then pushed on to Acton and camped at the KOA with some trail friends. This stop had a slightly bizarre twist as a thunderstorm had most of us in the break room where the KOA was screening first Jurassic Park and then Guardians of the Galaxy, adding a science fiction gloss to our trail experience.

Speed Hikers Tim and Freckles 
Over the next 75 miles my creaky knees and sore feet became more pronounced, and other hikers came flying down the trail much faster than my own pace. The reality sank in that while I may be a reasonably strong casual hiker, in comparison to the athletes of the PCT, I'm slow and clumsy.  This realization was a humbling one. Thank goodness for my squirrel puppet,  who keeps me from taking it all too seriously.

Mt. Baden-Powell was the last big climb before Wrightwood, and it was my first PCT section on snow.  I must have looked pretty tired as I finished the day.

After my break here in Wrightwood I will be pushing further South.  Here is a link to the photos for this section:

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