mile 378.34 – 395.21 (Cooper Canyon Campground)
16.87 miles (Actually, I hiked about 1.5 miles off trail and skipped about 5-ish miles of PCT, but I’m too tired to do all the math right now.)
As suspected, no one on that ridge got much sleep last night. I was so cold that I had to wrap myself in my tarp to try to break the wind a bit. I kept waking up to my tarp flapping around, though, and my feet stayed cold the entire night. I’m so glad I added a fleece to my wardrobe in Wrightwood!
Heartbreaker and I got a late start this morning, around 8:00. I left first and he caught up quickly. I was moving quite slow, my right leg giving me a lot of trouble. It was a pretty morning, not too hot, as we walked along above the clouds.
At the junction to the Dawson’s Saddle trail, I went the wrong way. Whoops! I was an hour into my mistake before I realized it. I sat on a ridge texting with Hunter for awhile and looking at maps and decided just to keep going until I hit Hwy 2, only another 20 minute walk. When I got to Hwy 2, I got a hitch almost immediately up to Islip Saddle, the next crossing of the PCT. I’m sorry to tell you that I skipped about five trail miles in doing this, but I just couldn’t make myself climb an hour back up and hike down that trail. My right leg was on fire with every step, hurting from the bottom of my foot all the way up the back of my leg and into my glute.
I rested at Islip Saddle, eating lunch and looking at maps, deciding which detour route to take. Another detour! This time we were being rerouted around the endangered Mountain Yellow Frog. There were two detour options: 1) a 20-something mile detour along other trails, or 2) a seven mile detour with a 2.7 mile road walk. Rusty and Lisa had taken the road detour. Wang and GB had taken the trail detour and said that the trail was washed out in some places and it was hard to follow sometimes. I decided to take the road detour, partially because I was in so much pain from my leg.
After quite a long break at Islip, talking to other hikers who showed up, including Heartbreaker, we took off up trail. Up and up and up again for two miles. Then, down and down and down again back to Hwy 2. The PCT winds back and forth along Hwy 2 for a long stretch. When we hit Hwy 2, this time at Eagle’s Roost, we hitched a ride up to Buckhorn Campground instead of walking the road. Then we walked through the campground, one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen, and rejoined the PCT by way of the Buckhart trail.
Just as we rejoined the official PCT, we met Wang and GB, who were just finishing the trail detour. Sadly, I was so tired and in so much pain that I couldn’t keep up with them. They wanted to make it to mile 400 that night, and I pooped out around 395.
Heartbreaker and I are camped at Cooper Canyon Campground with a few other hikers, including Blazer, who we just realized was one of the guys camped on the ridge next to us last night! He swears he said “Hello” and not “Boo!”
There is water here. And no wind! It is very peaceful. Nice to have some time to relax before bed. I pitched my tent tonight. Such luxury!
Today I met:
– Blazer, from Ohio, retired. He blogs at hikersmith.wordpress.com.
– Jake, a section hiker from Southern California, who has been taking a week off work to do a section of trail for the past couple of years.
Today I learned:
– Pay attention to junctions!
Today’s hike was powered by inner reserves of stubbornness.