Monday, May 26, 2014

Greetings from Hiker Heaven!

Leaving town is oftentimes the hardest part of the hike. It's interesting how the simple things like a hot shower, a bed, a greasy burger in a restaurant and the ability to wash your clothes can get you stuck in town. Drinking beer and jumping from bar to bar doesn't exactly make it easier, so I was glad when I found the courage not to take a Zero in Wrightwood, although the idea of doing so was very tempting.

I hiked out in the late afternoon and decided to do a Nero (near zero; those are the days when you only hike a few miles into or out of town). After about three to four miles I met Hugs, Pockets and Cracker Jack and decided to stay with them for the night. At first we cowboy camped (sleeping under the night sky without a tent), but at night a lot of condensation started dripping down from the trees because it got cloudy up there in the mountains. That made me get up at 3:00 a.m. to pitch my tent. Sleeping in a wet down bag is not really my idea of a comfortable night. The next morning I found out that I pounded one of my tent stakes into the ground a bit too hard. I tried to get it out for 20 minutes, dug a hole around it and pulled like a maniac; finally I just broke it off before I would lose my temper (well, yeah... to be perfectly honest: by that time I had already lost it, that's how I ended up breaking it in the first place).

So, five and a half tent stakes it is from now on. Shouldn't be much of a big deal as long as these giant pine cones around here don't fall down to rip a hole in my tent, giving me a skull fracture in my sleep.


Up, up and over! Mount Baden-Powell awaited me that morning. As a former boy scout this was an important landmark for me. Too bad it was all cloudy and I couldn't get a view from the summit. Unless you'd define heavy clouds with a visibility of 10 ft as a view. In the evening it started hailing about two minutes after I set up my tent. Talk about perfect timing, eh? The next morning I had to scratch a layer of ice from my tent. We got stuck in that weather for a couple of days. Yeah, it would've been too easy if California was sunny all the time, right? A couple of days later I learned that if it starts raining here, it pours. I got stuck in the worst hail and thunder storm ever. I was stupid enough not to put on my rain gear. The trail was overgrown with 7 ft high bushes, so after a while the water got into my boots until they were filled up to my ankles. On the Appalachian Trail I sometimes had to deal with rain that wouldn't stop for an entire week, but out here I wasn't prepared for it. That was the first rain I've seen since I left Idyllwild. At least the clouds disappeared in the evening and the next day everything was back to normal so we could dry out our soaked gear.


On April 25 I reached Hiker Heaven (a.k.a. The Saufley's) in Agua Dulce (milepoint 454.5) where I'm taking my first Zero since Idyllwild. I haven't seen all the hostels along the rest of the PCT yet, but if I had only one chance on the entire hike to take a day off, I would do it here. A large garden to hang around and camp, WiFi, computers, hot showers, laundry service, a TV with many DVDs (and VHS; yeah, that stuff still exists!), free bikes to ride into town (a fun ride of about a mile all downhill), shuttle service to REI and In-N-Out Burger, self-service post office, up to 50 hikers per night (all of 'em great companions, of course), and much more.


So please excuse me if I have to bring this blog post to an end, but I have to drink more beer. I only had about fifteen over the course of the day.








Happy Trails,
Cheeseburger

2 comments:

  1. Mr. Burger,

    I have to post a thank you to you or your parents or whomever is responsible. :-) It is a great pleasure to read a thru hiker blog that is well written. What I mean to say is your diction, grammar, punctuation and tone are astounding, compared to the average u.S. citizen's. (lowercase 'u' intended). Happy Trails!

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  2. Hi Cheeseburger! My daughter (Dust Bunny) told me yours was a blog I should check out. I agree! Hers is pretty good too and mentions cheeseburgers (willhikeforcheeseburgers.blogspot.com). I'm trying to narrow it down to 5 blogs I follow. Yours is on the list! Keep on truckin' and don't lose your awesome sense of humor!

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