Lake Tahoe to Elmira

July 13 – 11mi

Susie Lake @ 1101mi

Those 11 miles were the last ones for me and the PCT this summer. I found a nice spot to camp and sat down on a log for a good, long think…

July 14 – 9mi

The morning came, and with it the deep feeling that I’d made the right decision to leave the trail and figure out the easiest way to make my way back home. Hiked back south to Echo Lake and got a hitch into S. Lake Tahoe. It felt weird but cool at the same time to be headed south.

9 miles back down the trail to finish things off. I can’t begin to explain everything that was running through my mind over those few hours. Relief, nostalgia, anticipation, a bit of regret…

July 15 – Scored a ride on the airport bus from Harrah’s Casino up to Reno. Walking through that place was completely nuts after being outside. Kind of sad also. There’s so much more out there as opposed to chucking money into a one arm bandit.

July 16 – Chill at the LaQuinta in Reno, waiting for my cheap Tuesday flight to Toronto.

July 17 – Left at 11:30pm to Chicago.

July 18 – After an all-night flight, a couple hour layover and a full tear down at Toronto customs, the Klumps were there to take me the last bit of the way. Tired, mildly annoyed, but so very glad to be heading back to my home.

Mammoth Lakes to South Lake Tahoe

July 1 – 9mi

Tentsite @ 916

Caught the bus back to Red’s Meadow after lunch, and got back on the trail. (as a 40 year old!) The trail was mostly through forest, but I did get a good look at the Devils Postpile monument.

July 2 – 26mi

Tuolumne Meadows C.G.

Crossed Island and Donohue passes today. Arrived in Tuolumne for dinner, post office and to stock up on food at the store. I did the last 10 miles in 2hr45 to reach the cafe before closing. The food wasn’t even that great…

July 3 – 15mi

Spiller Creek

Nice day walking along again after having a big breakfast at the cafe.

July 4 – 25mi

Stubblefield Canyon

Crossed Benson & Seavey passes today. It was good to climb up into the hills again. The trail was pretty rough at times though. Had a great dinner, thanks Klumps!

July 5 – 24mi

Kennedy Canyon Creek

Left Yosemite N.P. today. There were lots of wild flowers in bloom up in the high meadows along this stretch. So many different colours. Made it to 1000 miles in the afternoon. Wow!

July 6 – 11mi

Sonora Pass

The scenery is starting to change quite a bit now, after leaving the High Sierras. Kind of sad to be leaving that part of the trail behind. Hitched into Kennedy Meadows North in the afternoon to resupply and get rid of my bear canister. Happy to ditch that 2.5 lbs!

July 7 – 21mi

Wolf Creek

Mostly forest today, but did get a good look back south at the snowy Sierra peaks.

July 8 – 21mi

Tentsite @1059

Over the Noble Lake saddle to the highway 4 crossing. Great trail magic there. A couple folks were grilling burgers and had lots of other good stuff. Saw my first bear about a mile before camp. It just sauntered away upon noticing me.

July 9 – 30mi

Echo Trailhead

The trail was mostly in the woods again. The climbs weren’t too bad, so I decided to get my first 30 mile day. Camped in a nice spot .5 away from the trailhead at hwy 50.

July 10 – 0.5mi

After a short morning walk I was at the side of the highway with my thumb ready to go. After just a couple minutes a ’59 VW pickup pulled over and picked up me, and 3 others. Easiest and best hitch so far! The driver and I had a good VW van discussion on the way into town. 🙂

Kennedy Meadows to Mammoth Lakes

June 17 – 14mi

Kern River Bridge

Left Kennedy Meadows just after noon. Crossed about 3 miles of the remaining “desert”, then started the climb up to 10k feet, and the start of the Sierra Nevada. It felt so good to be putting that last bit of the trail behind me.

June 18 – 20mi

Tentsite @ 736

Continued heading up into the mountains. The scenery started opening up today. Great views!

June 19 – 24mi

Rock Creek Camp

Stopped for lunch and a swim at Chicken Spring Lake. Camped at Rock Creek (760) to be close to the Mt. Whitney side trail.

June 20 – 7mi + 16mi

Mt. Whitney

Summited Mt. Whitney today. At 14505 ft., it’s the highest peak in the 48 states. The trail up was good and the view from the top – epic!

June 21 – 17mi

Bubbs Creek

Crossed the 13200 ft. Forester Pass. This is the highest point on the trail. The snow was melting fast, so I didn’t have a good slide down the far side. Another awesome spot though.

June 22 – 18mi

Tentsite @ 802

Crossed Glen Pass and had lunch at Rae Lakes. Nice spot. The next few days will be crossing a series of 12000ft. passes.

June 23 – 24mi

Palisade Creek

Climbed Pinchot and Mather Passes. Nice alpine lake in between them. The mosquitoes are starting to get bad down in the valleys now.

June 24 – 24mi

Evolution Meadow

Crossed Muir Pass. It had the most snow by far. Made it over by noon before the snow got too soft. Finally got some good glissades in on the north side. I’m also getting into the creek crossings now.

June 25 – 24mi

Tentsite @ 874

Selden Pass today and found an epic tentsite. On the edge of a cliff with quite the view. It’ll be tough to top this one.

June 26 – 27mi

Deer Creek

Came over Silver Pass and could smell smoke. There is a fire burning west of the trail and I could see part of it later in the day. Hoping this isn’t something I see much more of.

June 27 – 6mi

Mammoth Lakes

Caught up with some old friends and we hiked to Red’s Meadow for the bus into Mammoth Lakes. It was an amazing 10 days & 200 miles to get this far.

Tehachapi to Kennedy Meadows

June 5 – 21mi

Tentsite @ 587

Took a local bus back out to the trail. Time to walk in the desert again.

June 6 – 22mi

Landers Meadow

There was a nice stretch in the woods today. It’s always nice to have a break from the lower elevations.

June 7 – 26mi

Tentsite @ 635

I had the first view of the Sierra’s today. Mt. Whitney was visible on the horizon. Also passed the 1000km point and had chili for supper from a trail angel. Good day!

June 8 – 17mi

Lake Isabella

Hiked to Walker Pass and caught a bus into town. My ankle was giving me grief again today. Time for another break.

June 9-12 – 0mi

Resting/healing again. Stayed at the Kern Hotel. The owner was really nice and helpful during my stay.

June 13 – 12mi

Tentsite @ 664

Back to Walker Pass today on the bus. Passed another big milestone today. 25% of the trail is behind me. Just have to do that walk 3 more times!

June 14 – 25mi

Tentsite @ 689

Was feeling pretty good today. Hopefully no more injuries from now on. The mountains are looking a lot closer now.

June 15 – 13mi

Kennedy Meadows

Arrived at the general store to the sound of applause. It feels really good to get this far. No more desert hiking! It was better than I had thought, with some really nice scenery, but I’m ready to head into the mountains.

Baloo

It is customary, whilst out on one of the long thru hikes, to be assigned a “trail name”. I am now known as Baloo. One of my friends out here saw me having a good back rub up against a tree and mentioned that I looked like the bear from the Jungle Book film. The “bare necessities” song came up also, due to the size of my pack, and it was all over…

LYRICS

Look for the bare necessities

The simple bare necessities

Forget about your worries and your strife

I mean the bare necessities

Old Mother Nature’s recipes

That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam

I couldn’t be fonder of my big home

The bees are buzzin’ in the trees

To make some honey just for me

When you look under the rocks and plants

And take a glance at them fancy ants

And then maybe, well, try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you

Looking for the bare necessities

The simple bare necessities

Forget about your worries and your strife

I mean the bare necessities

That’s why a bear can rest at ease

With just the bare necessities of life

Acton to Tehachapi

May 25

10mi – Hiker Heaven

Hiked through the Vasquez Rocks Park and spent the night at hiker heaven. The park has been used as a backdrop for Star Trek etc. Really neat rock formations there. I received a package from Mom at H.H. The homemade cookies were enjoyed by a bunch of us that eve. (I didn’t share all of them though…)

May 26

24mi – Casa de Luna

Left a bit late again and just made it to Casa de Luna in time for a taco salad dinner. This was an interesting yet fun spot to spend the night. After eating, everyone has to dance for their ’18 PCT bandana. (another one of those “things” along the trail) Camped out back in the woods amongst the trees decorated with painted rocks. This is one of those times when you had to be there…

May 27

15mi – Tentsite @493

Late start after enjoying a pancake breakfast and coffee(s). I took a nice break around noon at a spring. Spots like this really make your day when you walk up to them!

May 28

24mi – Hiker Town

This is the third spot on this 60 mile stretch of the trail that has been provided by “trail angels” as a place to stay. It’s also the last pitstop for water before crossing a corner of the Mojave desert along the L.A. aqueduct. 500 miles today!

May 29

0mi

I had planned on leaving the evening before to hike across this stretch of trail at night. We looked at the weather, and the next day would be in the 70’s instead of the 90’s. I decided to get some sleep. There are a bunch of shacks/rooms here to spend the night in, all decorated like an old west town.

May 30

27.5mi – Tentsite @545

Early start this morning. I spent most of the day following the aqueduct across the desert. It was one of the less enjoyable days so far but it was nice to get it done in one shot.

May 31

21mi – Tehachapi

I hitched into town in the early afternoon, thanks to a nice fellow who gave me a lift. There were more joshua trees along the trail today. Weird looking things… also lots of windmills!

June 1-3

0mi

I took a good long break in town to rest up some more. My left ankle needed a break, and I also mailed a supply box ahead to Kennedy Meadows. (the start of the Sierra section) I’ll be leaving in the am. to cover these last 134 miles in the desert. Here’s a pic of my food for that stretch. Yummy stuff there, eh?

Big Bear to Acton

May 14

24mi – Tentsite @290

Good day headed out from Big Bear. The sunset was pretty nice while setting up the tent.

May 15

20mi – Tentsite @ 310

Stopped at the Deep Creek Hotsprings today. Had a swim and a good hot soak in one of the pools.

May 16

25mi – Tentsite @ 335

Hiked past Silverwood Lake. Went for a swim again. Two days in a row! We also had pizza and wings delivered to a picnic area by the lake. I was feeling a bit spoiled.

May 17

21mi – Tentsite @ 356

Stopped at the Cajon Pass McDonalds. It’s another one of the “landmarks” along the trail. The place was half full of dirty hikers eating copious amounts of food. Ordered twice and packed out a half dozen bacon mcDoubles. Mmmmm!

May 18

16mi – Jackson Flats Campground

The town of Wrightwood was along the trail, but I just stopped in for a quick re-supply at the grocery store. Met up with the crew again, and hiked out in the late aft.

May 19

23mi – Cooper Canyon Camp

4:30 am start, to climb Mt. Baden-Powell. Great views. The ocean and L.A. were hidden below the clouds though. It was a tough day, but good. 6000′ up and 7000′ down. I was thinking “this trail is no joke…” On the way down from the summit, we passed about a dozen boyscout troops on their way up.

May 20

16mi – Tentsite @ 411

Passed the 400 mile point! The trail ran close to Hwy. 2 for most of the day. It looks like a pretty cool road for riding a bike. Lots of them out there!

May 21

25mi – North Fork Ranger Station

Dropped down through the clouds today on the way to the station. Had trail magic there. Hotdog, snacks and cold soda. The hiking was nice being out of the sun.

May 22

8mi – Acton KOA

Made it into the campground and settled in for a break. I spent the afternoon in the pool and hottub. There were two other Eric’s here as well, so we hung out for dinner.

May 23 & 24

0 miles

My ankles and knee were feeling the miles and all the climbing and descents during the last stretch. I decided to take a good break and get rested up. The Sierras are about 250 miles away now, and I want to be at 100% Feeling much better today and I’m ready to get going again in the morning!