Some thoughts before departure...

  • I am still not a vet, doctor, lawyer, dog trainer, cia agent, fbi agent or a navy seal so...walk
  • I am doing this for the challenge of course, and I hope to gain a confidence that comes with this type of endeavor. But also I hope to gain some new knowledge about the world and the truths that reside in it.
  • Am I walking to "find myself"? Or just to take a walk. You decide...and you'll probably be right.
  • I'm not in the best shape of my life, but I do have a lot of new great gear so....
  • After living with my parents the last 2 years, it makes perfect sense to walk 2650 miles - alone.
  • Yes there will be bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and scorpions both imagined and real along the way. I'm definitely more worried about those imagined.
  • Am I scared? Not as of yet, more of just a constantly increasing anticipation. But check back with me on the 3rd night in the desert.
  • I tried to keep my pack fairly light, but I definitely would not call it ultralight. Somehow when I added up all my ultralight gear and put it in my ultralight pack, I ended up with just slightly heavy.
  • My biggest concern for this trip is that I get too hungry somewhere along the way, my brain goes awol as it usually does when I get hungry and subsequently you never hear from me again...I'll try to eat frequently.
  • I am not Christopher McCandless. This is not Into the Wild.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finally arrived at Hiker Heaven

Day 26, Mile 454.4 - Long, long day. 23.7 miles today and a lot more climbs then i would have guessed by looking at the data book. Ran out of snack food about mid-day. So the last 13 miles was a little bit of a blur, not cause i was walking so fast but because i was so hungry. Also, when we stayed at camp Glenwood in that little lodge we boiled water in a large pot that we found. The last two days as i have been starving cause of the cold my water has tasted like a potato-bacon chowder of some sort, a little heavy on the pepper. The pizza craving was finally realized when we arrived in Agua Dulce. I don't know how this stuff keeps happening but right when we set our stuff down in the restaurant Jeff Saufley(owner of Hiker Heaven) came in and offered to drive our packs up to his spot. So after some great pizza we walked up here and got ushered into the program. Loaner clothes over here, put your dirty clothes there, showers and transportation sign-ups on the board. Very organized, very helpful, super efficient, i like it. We are zero-ing here tomorrow, i need to work out some gear issues, some logistics, and my body needs a break. Glad to be done with the freezing cold, on my way to the searing hot. Thought of the day; i wonder how many ants are on the planet at any given time, i already counted 289,806,253 just on the pct so...Song of the day; welcome to the juuungle we got fun and gaaames, by Guns and Roses Kraig tells me. Craving of the day; cold grapes and fried chicken.

JWC on the PCT

A 30 mile day; holler, at, your boy

Day 25, Mile 430.7 - I got some pretty decent sleep last night, only problem was another thru-hiker showed up last night and we thought he would tend the fire since he was sleeping right in front of it, but he did not. So it got a little chilly, that seems par for the course the last few days. We left camp Glenwood about 620 and got into camp here at messenger flats about 710, 30 miles later. It was a long 30 miles with two big climbs and walking in melting snow for the first 4hrs. We were all kind of equally amazed we pulled it off, now its only 24 into Agua Dulce tomorrow. It was a good day all around though despite the arduous journey. Only about 4 miles into the morning and we came upon a cache with fruit, bad energy bars, Gatorade, wine, beer, and cherry pie. We each had a slice of cherry pie and took some of the various other things. I don't even like cherry pie, but i thought it would probably be a good calorie boost, and it was. At the 18 mile mark at a trailhead a man who rode by us earlier up on a ridge offered us some snacks and Pepsi's. It's amazing what strapping a pack on your back and smiling can do to get people in the giving mood. We got into camp and it is really cold and we are basically inside a cloud. I'm getting used to the cold now and the fact that I'm now in my sleeping bag and still cant really feel my toes doesn't seem that alarming. Also yesterday was a good break, because i had no shin splint like pain at all today. I just woke back up its been about 6 minutes, i should probably do what my body says and continue that trend. Plus my tent is starting to dew up as it does, and i would like to try and be asleep before i start noticing drips here and there. Thought of the day; didn't have one that stuck with me. Songs of the day; oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun pleaaase shiiine down on me-and repeat, by Barney and friends i think. In those last 5 miles it was- that's the sound of the men working on the chaaaiin gaayeeeyang, don't know who that's by. Craving of the day; it got specific- pizza topped with chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and pineapple. Hopefully that will be satiated tomorrow in Agua Dulce. Oh wow i can feel my toes finally; goodnight.

JWC on the PCT

I walked like a woman, for 5.5 miles

Day 24, Mile 400.7 - I should immediately explain the title of this post. There was a significant amount of snow on the ground by the time we left camp this morning, so to be more efficient in my travels through this winter wonderland i followed Gina's footprints. I awoke this morning to rain that turned into sleet that turned into snow, in a matter of an hour. My tent did an excellent job of soaking my sleeping bag and just not doing an adequate job in general. I realized if i stayed any longer i would be endangering my chances of staying warm tonight, or for the next 2 nights for that matter. But after 5 miles of hiking in wind driven snow Gina was freezing and me and Craig were not exactly at our best. We came upon Camp Glenwood, a single building with an outhouse. We found a side door unlocked and went inside to get out of the cold. After briefly exploring we debated on going back out, but Gina decided we should make a small fire in the 55 gallon drum stove just to thaw toes and fingers. She! got on it before anyone could say otherwise. One collective thought led to another and now here we are 4.5 hrs later fire going, gear drying, and we are spending the night; the snow still falling all the while. Only one drawback, we have to make 27 mile days back to back to make it to the Saufley's at Agua Dulce on time. "On time" meaning not starving, as i only have 2 days worth of food left as planned. We found some old sprouted potatoes that we will fry up, hopefully give us some more fuel for tomorrow. The plan is to wake up early around 4ish and get in the miles, snowing or not. Got about 3 inches today from what i can tell, hope i wake up to blue skies tomorrow because 27 miles will be tough anyway, anyhow. Can't say that i expected to be inundated with snow on any part of the southern California PCT. So it will be interesting to see how the next two days go, possibly cold and miserable, possibly not. Thought of the day; i wonder how i would be handling all of this i! f i were alone. Songs of the day; summertime by sublime, and i forget the name but it goes "in the name of the streets- dah dat, dah dat da-da-daaah dadoo dah dat" by Warren G or Nate Dogg, or Dr Dre or all of them, somebody. Craving of the day; yeah still with the pizza.

JWC on the PCT

Now this is hiking the PCT

Day 23, Mile 395.3 - Today was a hell of a day, if hell froze over. Got a little bit of a late start this morning, and only 30 minutes into the climb it started snowing ever so slightly. By the time we summited Mt Baden-Powell it was blowing and snowing sideways, with enough snow falling to fill in our tracks in the time it took to take a few pictures at the peak monument. It was cold but bearable, i had on my rain jacket on top of everything else and it really cut out the wind and a little bit of the snow. After summiting we managed to lose the trail for about 20 minutes as the powder deepened and covered what was left of the trail that wasn't already under the drifts. We finally found our way and eventually we descended to below the storm and it was beautiful, but still cold. we stopped to have lunch and talked about how intense that was; Craig said he would call that winter conditions, i called it holy shit repeatedly as i was consistently astounded at the conditions. It has been suggested by on! e hiker that the pct was drawn by someones 5 year old with a crayon and a map. Well following our decent i realized that we now were at hwy 2 and we needed to climb up the side of Mt Williamson 1200ft in 1.7 miles only to meet hwy 2 on the other side which was essentially around the corner if you were driving the hwy. So i decided that whoever made this trail go where it goes is far too deviant to be a 5 year old with a crayon, they must have been at least 7 or 8. After arriving at hwy 2 the second time there was a sign on the opposite side saying trail closure due to the endangered yellow legged mountain frog...grrreat. The detour took us down the hwy for about 2.5 miles then through a campground then another trail that finally linked back to the pct. We ate in the dark and i am writing now at 10, way past "hiker midnight". Also i developed pretty bad shin splint type pain the last two afternoons, so hopefully that calms down, oh yeah and the crazy bite thing went away, no! worries. Thought of the day; well I'm real glad i packed that extra dinner just in case- oh wait, i didn't...hmm that's unfortunate (during the near blizzard and subsequent losing of the trail). Song of the day; (Jarell i know its your favorite) the Jesus in me and the Jesus in you, soooo easaaaay, so easaaaaay, so easy to luh-uh-uv. And a new category- Craving of the day; pizza (BJs or CPK) and a churro.

JWC on the PCT

Live by the gear, die by the gear

Day 22, Mile 375.7 - I would first like to say that i had many things to say on this post, but given my current situation i cannot think about anything else right now. Which brings me to a correction from a previous post; i previously said something to the effect of "i have to stop writing its freezing". Well i was wrong, that was not freezing. Freezing is what and where i am now, camped on the side of Mt. Baden-Powell. I have almost all my clothes on that i think will help and wait hold on... haha that was Craig coming out to tell me that if i feel I'm gonna die i can come and squeeze in with him and Gina in their MSR Hubba Hubba tent. So he thinks its that bad too huh, well that's comforting, nice gesture but i think i will make it. It is blowing pretty hard and gusting harder at times so i cannot set up my frickin tent. I decided to wrap it around my sleeping bag for some wind protection. Speaking of which this damn sleeping bag is not gonna cut it either. I mean shit i didn't budget for this trip to buy all my gear, find out most of it doesn't quite work like i need it to and then buy all new gear. For the moment though i am liking the drawstring hood on the bag because i am now writing to you from inside a goose down cave. Craig informed me today that Big Agnes bags are made for big people; i am not big, therefore it is a cave when it is supposed to be a cocoon. So in 4 days i will be able to get online or somehow some way get a new bag and new tent, hopefully on sale. I am going to keep writing because its keeping my mind off my transition into hypothermia - OK its not thaaat bad. Today we got dropped back close to where we left the trail by Mollyanne the trail angel whom we stayed with- which was just too great by the way. Just as we realized that we were actually a mile or more away from the spot an old station wagon pulled up with the "three amigos" and another trail angel at the wheel named Bob. He knew the area very well and we got a little geography lesson, oh yeah which reminds me i was completely wrong about being between Mt Baldy and Hesperia, it was Phelan and Pine Mountain, i know you cared. Anyway so he dropped us off at the right spot and we got to shoot the shit with the amigos for a little while. One of them asked to see the bottom of my shoes and said aa-ha I've been following your prints for the last 2 days. That happens a lot for me too, you start looking for a certain set of tracks at the various junctions. Man i should have either not drank any milk in town or changed into clean socks before bed, or both, cause this goose down cave is getting funkay funkay funkay. And now this post has stayed way past its welcome, so I'm going to stop. Thought of the day; couldn't stop thinking of all the great comments left on my blog - really cool, really motivating. Song of the day; Oye como va... had a little beat box version of that going, keeping rhythm with a walking stick script: it is the morning, it is still cold and windy and there are clouds, and i survived. Now i just have to convince myself to get back out in it.

JWC on the PCT

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wrightwood at the right time

Day 21, Mile 363.9 - OK this is going to be very fast. Hiked 14.5 miles today 10 miles 3000 ft up and then 4.5 2000ft down which was a little disappointing, BUT i got picked up by a trail angel and hooked up with pretty much everything. Shower, laundry, food in town...way too expensive but needed. Shared a pitcher of Hefewiezen with the "germanator" pretty cool guy and an interesting past. Anyway i just checked my blog online and read the comments, they were great and keep them coming cause they keep me going. Alright that's it, start another 4.5 day leg to Agua Dulce tomorrow, looking forward to the Saufleys "hiker haven" check it out online if you get a chance. Oh also check out its the website of the couple i did the last 4.5 days with. Last but not least i have a ring worm looking bite thing on my right thigh, might be from that spider or maybe a tick and i have the beginning of Lyme disease i dunno. I will keep you posted on looming death, disease, or super powers. Thought of the day; people are intrinsically good.

JWC on the PCT

1,570 calories in 20 minutes

Day 20, Mile 349.4 - Today i got an early start at about 645. Went to put on my shorts this morning and a fairly large spider fell out. It was big enough that i could hear it walking across my Tyvek ground sheet. Maybe i got bit last night, either death or super powers await me, or not. Got into Mcdonalds just before 1030, approx 10 miles later. I do not know who is in charge of how or where this trail goes but i would like to know so i could cuss at them. Today for instance you have a McDonald's stop(good, but not good) and then the next 25 miles are dry and you climb 5000ft in the process. So leaving McDonald's we had to carry enough water for the next 25 miles including dinner water. My body did not appreciate it. We found a cache that was supposedly going to be dry stocked well 5 miles into the second set of 10. It was definitely helpful i just wish i knew about it and i could have forgone the extra weight of 4 liters up to that point. I don't think any of this is making sense. Umm what else w! as i going to say, oh yeah McDonald's was bad. I got two double cheeseburgers a small fry and a 10 piece mcnuggets. I couldn't get through the nuggets and it was probably a good thing cause shortly thereafter i could feel the McDonald's making its way to my brain, i just wanted to go to sleep right there in the booth. I tried to balance it out with two oranges and a banana that was too green. Tomorrow we make it into Wrightwood and hopefully we (still me, Craig and Gina) can or i can find a trail angel to sleep at their house and do laundry. I also need to launder myself, this might be the dirtiest i have ever been in my life, still don't look as dirty as some of the other people out here though. Sleeping on a gap tonight, got what i think is Hesperia on one side and what i think is Mt. Baldy on the other not sure about either though. Moon is almost too bright to sleep under as it was last night too. Have not been using my tent, but kind of wishing i had a free standing one to us! e. New tent, new sleeping bag before the sierras maybe; my budget is shot for this trip. Anyway its still an adventure everyday- i gotta turn my headlamp off now its attracting too many winged insects. Thought of the day; a culinary creation where a very spicy meat dish is served almost freezing cold, couldn't think of a name for it but icy-hot is definitely out. Song of the day; "this is the song that doesn't end" from Lambchop that old TV show, except i changed "song "to "climb" cause it seemed more applicable.

JWC on the PCT

Hi my name is Jesse, and I am an Aguaholic

Day 19, Mile 333.4-ish - Last night was fairly breezy and i still cannot get my tent right. I felt like a midget in a large grocery bag trying to sleep in a tornado. Today was rough at times as well. It started out with my hose leaking out all my water while i unknowingly packed my bag this morning. Then it got better when i found a small cache just after i realized i was out of water. But i did not take enough, it got hot and i drank more then i planned. Then it got better when at lunch time there was a cache with some ice water and oranges. But this time there was a bunch of people at the spot so i didn't get as much water as i should have. After lunch the PCT was a complete bastard and took us after a brief climb around the edge of Silverwood Lake. I say bastard because while i expect lakes on the trail to be pristine a few fish jumping even slightly boring; i do not expect powerboats, tubing, booze, and shade awnings on the lakes sandy beaches. It was like going to Disneyland as a 10 year-old and getting into to toon town, but then having to give a survey to the other children asking them how much fun they were having. I managed to convince myself while witnessing this wonderful celebration of proper American recreation that they must have a store where the pct actually comes down to the same level of the lake. My data book alluded to it as far as i was concerned. So after arriving fairly dehydrated and thinking not very clearly and only of Gatorade, i commenced searching. I probably walked an extra 3 miles today. One guy said it was here, another there, at one point i was close to shutting down and started repeating the phrase "trail magic... trail magic" out loud. That's what thru-hikers call it when great things happen at the right time out here. My chant worked, this guy rode up on a bike and asked me and this other hiker if we were hiking the pct, we said yes. He then proceeded to give me the rest of his Powerade he had on his bike then yelled at his nephew to give me another full one too. This was a giant boost and i decided i could make it the 3 or so miles to the store wherever it was to get more. I was wrong. I just burned all my "boost" off and ended up just getting back to feeling dehydrated and dragged my ass back to the trail. The three amigos whom i found out are from Spain actually, were sitting under the bridge taking a snack break we talked water and the trail and one of them gave me a warm but welcomed bottle of water. I picked up some "just in case" water from the creek in one of the Powerade bottles to filter later if need be. I made the 16oz's almost last all the way to a small creek 4.3 miles later. The creek was a saviour and i was very happy to find it considering i started doubting its existence about 1 mile after leaving the three amigos. Everything is all good now. Camped with Gina and Craig again on a ridge top, everybody is shooting for the McDonalds at Cajon Pass for late breakfast or early lunch tomorrow. I decided after this whole thing is over i should do some sort of a fa! st or cleanse or both. Eating crap everyday is getting to me, but i can always use the calories. Alright this is entirely too long. Song of the day; P-C-T top dollar with the gold flea collar, dippin' in my blue impala... and repeat. Thought of the day; i am going to die in the Mojave.

JWC on the PCT

Its Burnin Up, We on Fyyyaaah

Day 18, Mile 312.3 - Last night i had the best sleep on trail so far. Today was alright, but it was hot. I woke up and didn't feel a chill in the air at all and i knew it was going to be a little warm. Set off this morning by myself but was quickly caught by Gina and Craig and we leap frogged all day. The trail followed a creek all day which was nice except the creek was down below and the trail was anywhere from 20 to 300 ft up on the canyon wall. So i basically thought about jumping to my death all day just to get in that cool clear water. Managed to pull the mouthpiece off my water bladder hose and lose it today. Thought it was gone for good until we finally stopped for the day and there it was on the ground next to my pack, definitely got lucky. Made it to my camping spot about 540ish and after drinking a liter and a half of water i went for a dip in the creek in a deep spot. Probably one of the most rewarding things on the trip so far, it felt amazing. As i write this at 848pm it is still to! o hot to have my thermals on or be inside the sleeping bag, better then freezing though. As i hiked today besides fantasizing about cold Gatorade and an ice-bath, i thought about a welcome back to civilization party upon my return. I decided i want a Chinese food buffet, some real cool dogs just hanging around, and at least one representative of every ethnicity in Long Beach present. Oh and family and friends too of course. I am trying to decide why it is all white people out here on a daily basis. There are 3 guys from somewhere in South America i believe, they call themselves the "three amigos" and often hike with the "germanator" (he is German...get it) but that's it. So what's the deal, where are all the non-white folks? I've noticed that when i say things to fellow thru-hikers like "Jeez there is just nothing but white people out here, i am tired of just seeing white folks" they get a little un-easy and awkward, so I'm trying to cut back on that. Met a bunch of new white people today though, it looks like i am catching up to the pack. I am not sure whether that is good or bad yet, soon to find out. Well i have continued to write just waiting for it to get cooler but i am not having any luck, so i give up. Thought of the day; what is the correct usage of the word ubiquitous, is it like ambiguous, are they synonyms?

JWC on the PCT

On the trail again...but not

Day 17, Mile 293.1 - Left camp today with fresh cookies courtesy of Janice, I've been eating them and giving them away all day. Got dropped off about 2.5 miles from the trail but lucky for me a guy stopped and picked me up. He was actually hiking a section over the weekend with his brother and was driving up to leave his car for the return trip. Got on the trail about 10:10 and by 1130 i came to a sign that said temporary re-route for pct thru-hikers. I read it quickly and took off only to decide shortly i didn't remember the directions and walked a 1/4 mile back to read again. Craig and Gina the couple from the very first day caught up to me and we ate and discussed the re-route. Turns out it took the entire day, and it was all on dirt roads, one paved as well, with absolutely no water sources until we got back on trail 5hrs later. Its odd but after trail miles dirt roads and paved roads kill your feet much more. All in all it looks like we had to skip about 17 miles of trail all through a burn area. Actually turns out just fine because it puts me on schedule for Wrightwood getting into town mid-day. It was nice to hike, well "hike" in today's case, with other people. Craig has an American bulldog he rescued a while back and he is supposedly picking him up around Echo lake area, planning on going all the way to Canada with him from there. Hopefully i am still within a couple days of them because i would really like to see this 110lb dog and how he handles the trail. Camped at Holcombe Crossing Trail Camp tonight which is pretty nice but apparently in the flight path to LAX or something. Its real nice to be camped so close to water though. Also camped here are two girls i met on the way to Big Bear named Malora and the other i still don't know her name so we call her question mark; might be a trail name in the making. Found out thru the grapevine that Michigan girl is still alive and made it to big bear. Also the brothers from long island are only a half day behind me! i think, depending on how they do the re-route. The whole cast will probably be together with a few new players by Agua Dulce in about 9 days. Hard to imagine i will have been on this trip almost a month by then. It goes by fast 20 miles a day. OK i just woke up i think I've been asleep for about 10 minutes that's a sign i need to lay it down. Thought for the day; the federal government should de-criminalize marijuana, like yesterday- and just for perspective this is coming from someone who has never even tried it.

JWC on the PCT

El Grande Oso

Day 16, a zero... yes another one Its getting too late so I'm gonna make this quick. Spent most of the day either at camp or walking around big bear or taking public transit(always good times) getting re-supplied. Just got back from dinner with chuck which was real good, we talked camp. BBSR was bought by the county at the end of last summer. I expected upon my arrival to see the camp encased in a 8ft chain link fence with barbed wire, and everything on the inside wrapped in bubble wrap and foam; the county has deep pockets you know. It wasn't that bad at all but things are already changing around here and i would be interested to see how this summer turns out. I might come back in august if i can afford the time trail wise just to see things up and running. I am definitely going to be thinking about these guys up here and all the fun that is camp come June 11th, when I'm just leaving the Mojave desert. Saw a few different sets of hikers in town today that i recognized and who recognized me. Their staying at ! the motel 6, definitely not on the same level as my wonderful accommodations. Speaking of which i should get some sleep. 90 mile-4.5 day leg starts tomorrow ending in Wrightwood for another re-supply but no more zeroes for a while. Longest time on-trail so far for me. Thought of the day; change sometimes can sometimes feel like a necessary evil; other times its good to have the correct change. Pun-alicious, OK its not thaaat clever. seee ya

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back to the back to the BBSRerR

Day 15, Mile 260ish + 3 off trail - First things first last night was an indication that either i shouldn't sleep on concrete or i need a tighter fitting sleeping bag. I chose the Big Agnes "Lost Ranger" because although it is about a pound heavier then others its rated at 15deg and its wide in the shoulders and feet. It is not cut like your typical mummy bag which makes me sleep with my legs and arms crossed. Well guess what, last night i mostly slept as tight and as crossed up as i could get because i was freezing. So i would rather be not comfortable and warm then... wait warm is comfortable, well whatever i think i need a mummy type bag is what I'm saying especially heading into the sierra's. Got a late start this morning at about 830. Arrived at Big Bear Sports Ranch at just about 5. I had decided this morning that i would attempt to go off the trail for what seemed from the map to be about 3miles along Erwin ranch road. What ended up happening was that i took a jeep trail which took me 500ft higher then expected and i basically had to follow wild donkey trails to get back down. I felt like i was back at camp leading a "nature hike". Except i never fell on my face down one of the scree piles during those outings. My first fall of the trip, hopefully my last, falling with a pack on is no fun, probably funny to watch though. I made it to camp just in time. Walked up just as Janice(camp chef) was feeding a camp dog and getting ready to go home. That is what i love so far about the trail, the success of happenstance. Janice said Big Bear is full of hikers and she wondered when i would be coming through. Guess i caught up to the pack:\ Chuck(camp manager) reminded me i was 3 days early according to my schedule; got into Bobs a day early, left Bobs a day early and didn't go all the way into Big Bear proper trail wise cutting off half a day- i guess that's how i did that. Just got back from dinner with Janice, first Mexican food of the trail and it was delicious. OK i think i should end this novel of a post. Oh one more first of sorts. First time seeing a bear on the trail, a grizzly bear in fact, also two Siberian tigers. Not their native habitats i know; we got into it for a minute but i just used some Cesar Milan skills on them and they recognized my dominance. OK actually they were in cages they were too big for, off to the side of the trail in some wild animal training facility. I found out later the grizzly i saw killed a handler a couple weeks ago, you might have heard about it on the news-i didn't. Alright i will not add another chapter i promise. Song of the day "the gambler" by that one guy who owns the casinos with the big chip on the billboard... i think.

JWC on the PCT

Coon Creek Creepy Cabin

Day 14, Mile 246.3 - Today i hiked from 730am to 730pm and only made 20 miles. I do not know why. It could be that i wanted to quit most of the day, it could be because i had to climb from 3500ish feet to 8030ft, it could be because i stopped to filter water twice, i dunno. But my target was the "Coon Creek Group Camp" and i am here now so i guess i shouldn't be complaining. Last night the wind and i were still on bad terms, and from the sound of the tin roof and creaking boards there will be no reconciliation tonight. I should explain, there are some abandoned cabins up here with no windows or doors just the holes where they used to be. In the "main cabin" i cooked my dinner and i chose to sleep in one of the smaller cabins with a flat concrete floor. Problem is there happens to be a hole under one window in the wall and that seems to be the side the wind favors... awesome. Shouldn't be too bad, the thermometer says 40 and i was too hot at times last night. Today was uneventful other then some pretty great views. I can see Palm Desert from my "window" in the cabin. OK its getting too cold to have my hands out of the sleeping bag, gotta go. Thought of the day; If the madness is true, follow not where it may go, but where you want it to lead. -don't ask me, i have no idea, it just came out of nowhere today all in one sentence and into my mind, doesn't make sense to me yet. Man its freeeeezing! Goodnight

JWC on the PCT

The Wind is No Longer My Friend

Day 13, Mile 226-ish - Had a great breakfast with the Durkin family this morning and then i was off to the trail, Bob dropped me off before work. The first 3hrs of hiking is why the wind is no longer my friend. Actually its my pack who came between us. My new pack is a little too strappy and consequently during the raging winds this morning the straps were flipping and flapping, whipping and smacking... me in the face. Like having a couple cat of 9 tails whips tied to my back and neck in a multi directional wind tunnel. Like Medusa on a bad hair day, like- OK that's all i could think of, you get the point I'm sure. By lunch it got better as i climbed out of the canyons. Saw another rattle snake today, actually came up on it as it was trying to get a baby rabbit. It turned its attention to me and the rabbit got away -Thumper you live to hop another day, you owe me. Weird day though all around. I think it is hard for me to go from constant attention and interaction like at home, or Bob's, and then to complete solitude. My mind goes sometimes out here, but further then usual if you can imagine that. Today at about 4:26 i got very sad all of the sudden, and my mind decided somehow that my father was currently dying and that i could feel or sense it. I was walking along the trail crying and pleading with all forms of God to not take him away from me. It ended at about 4:32 as quickly as it had begun, but it was powerful and strange. As i write this it occurs to me that i could be right, but negative thoughts die fast in the wilderness, it will be better in the morning. Right now I'm laying in my sleeping bag on the banks of Mission Creek about 16 or so miles into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Its like the real version of those white noise machines they sell at like Brookstone to lull you to sleep. Except i got all the tracks going- crickets chirping, frogs croaking, a babbling brook, a cougar growling... wait what the! Alright for real though there are some bats doing some crazy aerial maneuvers like 5 feet from my head catching bugs. I'm gonna watch some and then go to sleep. Song of the day; i don't know the name or who did it (Beatles maybe) but it goes "in my-hi-hyeeee liife i loved you more". Thought of day; language is an amazing thing.

JWC on the PCT

The Durka Durka 5

Day 12, a Zero - What a great way to spend a zero, or any day for that matter, the Durkins' hospitality is bar none. I really really enjoyed my time here, what a great family, i just can not say enough. Woke up this morning about 610am and then forced myself back to sleep til about 840... exciting i know. Spent most of the day just hanging out, Maggie (Bob's daughter) took me to the store to re-supply for the next 4 days, and i got to air out my sleeping bag and tent in the backyard. It felt great to have all the food and drink i desired today, oh also shout out to the Bunch family - it was nice to meet you all and thanks for the hydration. I have an easier time on the next leg up to Big Bear; less then 20 miles a day and almost constant water sources, i am looking forward to it. Anyway i got to lay it down for the night. One last thing i just want to thank the Durkins for their enthusiasm for me and my trip, and thank Lydia in particular for amazing food and for having me even though it was mother's day. It was really nice and much appreciated. Thought of the day; good luck Big Bear Sports Ranch staff of 2008!

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, May 11, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well

Day 11, Mile 209.6I - Woke up this morning and after half freezing my ass off last night i had my old resolve back. Funny how that works, feeling weak and now strong again. Hiked in snow most of the morning until about 10:30am then it was a downhill from about 7400ft to 1360 at interstate ten in 20 miles. Had my longest day yet in terms of mileage with just over 25 miles today. Made pretty good time too, started at 7:30am and hit the 10 at 6:40pm. Bob picked me up soon thereafter and i got taken to his house and treated like a king- but I'm getting ahead of myself. A bunch of people miscalculated water today, myself included. I was down to a liter left with 10 miles to go before the next source. The Michigan girl was with me again today and she had completely run out by then. So i felt bad and gave her about 8oz of water, hoping that in helping her out i was not endangering myself for the trail ahead. I barely made it, i had to set my alarm on my watch and take sips every half hour to try and make it last, which it almost did. I had to leave the Michigan girl and some other people who were hurting for water if i hoped to make it to Bobs at a reasonable hour, so i did. I hope they did alright. Had my first two rattlesnake "encounters" within 10 minutes of each other today. Both times i was somehow past them by at least a step when they started rattling, so it wasn't to hard to just take a few quick steps and be out of harms way. Anyway all in all today went well and tonight was amazing, great food, good company, I'm very glad to be here. It has already surpassed the image i used for motivation to do the 25 miles today from snow to desert. I got one of my first glimpses into what they call the "hiker appetite" at dinner. I ate and drank and never once had the inkling of being full, my brain told me to stop eating not my stomach but it was great. OK its real late i need to knock out. Thought of the day; think positive, act positive.

JWC on the PCT

Back on the Trail

Day 10, Mile 184.3ish - Today i sucked at life and i sucked air. Got a really late start and just got my tent up before i couldn't see anymore without using my headlamp. They say "sleep high, train low" for good conditioning. Well i just did the opposite in sleeping for two nights at basically sea level and then getting dropped off at 8100ft and climbing higher with poor results. I ended up spending about an hour or more at a outfitter in Idyllwild getting a pack and having the manager grill me on the weights of various things I have with me. It was not fun, but i think i got a pretty good pack for a pretty good price. Got a Gregory Z55, seems to fit everything and look good too- always important. For future reference should you ever be hiking the pct, do not come home after the 8th day because of a fire closure, even if it will save you money. When i came off i was happy and ready for more, hitting my mileages with time to spare. In just one day at home i became soft and weak, somewhat physically, but more mentally. It was so hard for me for some reason, i got as melancholy as the day i left for the border. It felt as though i was leaving and missing the house, my bed, the food, my parents, and Hayley all over again. I basically had a breakdown at the car because i was scared to go back out with all these changes; pack, shoes, altitude, snow. I'm still a little scared actually, I'm out here completely alone, i passed the last hikers 5 miles ago. I have snow within 4 inches of my tent and the thermometer is on its way to 35, not to mention the strange noises-but i just did. The desert is one thing but this is a whole new ball game. I hope i can make it to Bob's tomorrow. I have to cross Fuller Ridge which is supposed to be both "torturous and treacherous" as the guidebook so benignly puts it. I also have to get in 25 miles to make it to Cabazon, its gonna be tough. Sorry this post is so depressing, I'm just trying to keep it real; although this may be a case of "when keepin' it real goes wrong" (see the dave chapelle show on dvd). Ok my fingers are numb now, im going to attempt sleep. Song of the day; whaaat goes uuup most come dowwwn, something wheels round and round Thought of the day; i need to grow up.

JWC on the PCT

Friday, May 9, 2008

"Some Pictures"

The Concrete Jungle

Day 9, a zero - I'm going to make this short because i need to get to sleep soon; its way past my on-trail bedtime. The majority of today was spent looking for new shoes and a new pack. The former was accomplished the latter was not.I was looking at the newest version of the shoe i have, and i decided that maybe the shoe was a little soft and a trail runner would be best. So after what seemed like an eternity in retail land i finally found the shoes i think i need, appropriately named "the Beast". They are a little heavier then i would have liked, but i think they will help out a lot in winning back my feet's trust. Still trying to figure out how to get the new pack, its on back order most places but i think i might be able to get it as early as next Monday or Tuesday. So until then i will just deal with the current pack...uh obviously. Wish i could have seen some folks while i was here in LB. Although it is probably best that i did not. I feel like I'm getting too soft as it is just being able to sit and have my knees at a 90 degree angle, really its like a treat. Alright this is already too long and my pillow is whispering sweet nothings into my ear. oar-vwah

JWC on the PCT

I like it when I'm fast

Day 8, Mile 151.3Today went fairly well. Last night was pretty windy, I ended up putting rocks on pretty much everything I had to keep it in my possession. Got woken up by the sun before it had even got over the mountain which sounds poetic, and could possibly be if it wasn't so damn early. Left camp about 7 and with multiple breaks managed to make it to hwy 74 by 540pm. So now i sit and wait for the parentos pick up. I had learned recently that the fire was no big deal and would be open soon which made me feel dumb for skipping around it. But upon arrival it looks as if it will still be closed until the end of the week. So this is actually the best and cheapest way to get back on the trail and to Bob's house on time. Walked the middle of the day with a girl from Univ. of Michigan, she was 19 and doing the trail alone, definitely impressive. (no grandmother, not my type at ALL) My shoes are getting too small already, so i think I'm going to upgrade in the 24 hrs i am home. Also my packs internal foam support has given up. After talking with a bunch of people who don't have chafe marks on their hips and shoulders and can carry 10 pounds more then me comfortably i have decided its time to upgrade that as well, oh yeah and i need new socks. Its gonna be a busy zero in the LBC. Nothing else to report really. Friday i will be dropped off at the highest altitude so far on the trip 8000ft or so and then climb up and down while descending to Cabazon and Bob's house by Saturday evening. Oh, i wanted to give a shout out to ray ray and thems, no really a shout out to Mr. C-Book for those inspirational words the day before i headed to Campo, they were powerful and remain as such in propelling me further on my journey. Thanks. Songs of the day; Elijah Rock & Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho both by Moses Hogan. Thought of the day; do a lot of birds die in mid-flight?

JWC on the PCT

Fast Times at Ridge-top High

Day 7, Mile 129.1- In walking today i realized that i haven't mentioned the weather much, well it has been great, nuff said. This morning i left Warner Springs at about 6:50am and headed back to the trail via a side trail so i didn't have to walk on the hwy. I guess the zero and the food must have done some good cause i made it to Combs Peak where i planned on camping just before 4:30pm. I debated on going ahead or not but the view was pretty sweet so i decided to go ahead and stay here for the night. Although as i write this the wind is gusting thru here pretty good, i think i will just put down my tyvek(ground cloth) and not put up the tent so i can sleep better. Also I'm thinking the stars will look pretty good at 5595ft and so far clear skies. I learned a few things about how to do long trails while hanging with the long island brothers. First is something i thought i already knew well; its not that serious. If you don't make your mileage, you'll make it the next day, all that really counts is water. Second if you take more frequent short breaks and eat more often during those breaks you can get better mileage and feel better doing it, hence today. Last, hike your own hike, walk your own walk, zero's are what you look forward to, not breaks which you should feel ashamed of or less of a "thru-hiker" for taking. Songs of the day; come fly with me, and fly me to the moon. Alright I'm starved, instant mashed potatoes and tuna tonight, been looking forward to it since about 6:55am.

JWC on the PCT

Monday, May 5, 2008

Just the Boost I Needed

For 20 bucks i got access to a resort basically, i guess they offer us great rates cause we are thru-hikers and its their slow season. So i got access to the internet room and while i was just in there this guy asks the other guy how to spell spectacular, at first my reaction was come on buddy, sooound iiiit ooouut. Then i realized they were both hikers and then i realized i haven't said much about the great or spec-tak-you-lar things on this trail. Sorry to have to take you through the entire thought process just to explain that i have been a little Debbie downer-ish. That being said it is pretty amazing out here, during the process of getting the shit kicked out of you its not that apparent. But as i sit here i am awe struck that in the last 5 days i have seen over 100 miles go beneath my feet and many more seen in every direction. So i just wanted to clarify that while my ass is chapped both literally and figuratively half the time on the trail, its still one of the most ! amazing things I've ever done and I'm happy to do it, and complain a good part of the way. We took a zero(no mileage) today and let the feet and bodies rest while we wait to hear about the fire closure. As it looks now i will leave tomorrow at the crack and try and put in over 20, do the same the next day and get picked up by the parentos at the edge of the fire closure at hwy 74. Spend a zero at home and then hit Idylwild where the trail opens back up again. This is definitely not how i planned my trip going but trail lesson number two is don't plan much past your next food break, just let it do what it do baby! Yes i just said that. Alright I'm gonna go see if my clothes are done washing. Thought for the day; a call home or simply something to help remember where you come from, almost always clarifies where you are going, and sometimes even why.

JWC on the PCT

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More of the same

Day 5 Mile 109. Currently at Warner Springs ranch, hiked 22 miles today and it was worth it, the room is nice, the food was real good and everything was relatively cheap. Last night i used my sleeping bag as a blanket and worked a little better, cause I've been overheating lately. Wow that sentence was completely backwards. Started at 7 and leap frogged most of the day with two brothers from long island also the two I'm sharing the room with. Not too many crazy hiker types out yet, that i have met anyway, probably because i am behind the main pack of folks. Anyway I'm gonna cut this one short, apparently there is a fire in San Jacinto wilderness so i gotta figure that trail closure out and then sleep off these pains...on a bed. Awesome.JWC on the PCT

The longest day

Day 4 Mile 86.6 - I have found my pattern now on the PCT. Feel good about making it all the way to Canada up until just after lunch then it starts sucking big time. Left last nights camp at 7am this morning and got into tonight's camp at 6:30ish approx 24 miles later. The last 10 miles were walking along the side of a small mountain range, every time you turned right you could see another mile to go it was taxing both physically and mentally. Also the wind was blowing and gusting causing me- 3000+ feet up on a trail no wider then a foot- to start talking to myself. One of the popular mantras was "the wind is my friend" and a weirder one was this song that the girls liked at camp. i don't know what its called but the part of the chorus was what i was singing "dooont stop belieeeeving... something something down the boulevard, there was danger or strangers or something lurking in the nigh-hi-hyyyte" Now that i look at it it sounds like the rally cry for hookers with aspirations everywhere, well it ! still worked for me. Met some guys here tonight that are also headed into Warner Springs tomorrow, we both realized in talking about it that tomorrow is Sunday and we wont be able to get our mail drops so were gonna split a hotel room three ways. This is good for all parties involved, one guy has a bunch of blisters, and i just got two new ones today cause i didn't change my socks at lunch like i have been. Also i won the battle with chafe on the b-ball court but now he is "butting" in elsewhere, which is all bad. Hopefully tomorrows hotel stay will help me catch up on these things. Lastly, i am really not sure what i am doing out here. If the object was to torture myself until i figure out what i want to do with my life then great, a few more days like today and it will be all clear. I knew coming into this that the first week was gonna be the hardest but gaaaawd damn. Hope tomorrow brings better things. Haha shit my tent just blew down on me! I wish one of you were out here! to see all this ridiculousness, i miss everyone- and i usually don't get "homesick". Thought for the day as i lie under my collapsed tent; water is everything.

JWC on the PCT

Reality Check

Last night went great, today was a little bit different. Started the morning late cause check out wasn't until 900 also that's when the store opened and i wanted to pick up a few things. But lesson learned, never start at 930 on the trail cause you will end up freaking out at 630pm when you still haven't made your mileage for the day and you will run downhill the last mile and a half. Or maybe that's just me. Walked alone yesterday but leap frogged with the same folks from the first day. Today though i only saw one other hiker the entire day and it felt like this is the real deal being alone all day. Plus the first night was a campground with other pct hikers, last night was a motel, but tonight I'm just out, just out. All day I've been conserving water because there are no guaranteed sources for the next 24 miles. So this evening after my little downhill event i decided to just set up the tent and have a cold dinner to save that H2O just in case. Which meant my dinner consisted ! of 3 small pieces of jerky, a 3oz pack of cheese-its, a Luna bar and about 8oz of water. Constipation here i come. Speaking of which i cant eat my oats in the morning cause that requires water too, hmm ill have to figure that out tomorrow. Anyway I've done away with my map holder it was a waste, the trail is clearly marked so far and the only times I've used my maps I've almost always been disappointed that i wasn't further along the trail. Besides half the time you can see the next 2 miles of trail ahead of you peaking over hills or around corners, i haven't decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Alright bedtime, hope my tent doesn't dew up again cause I'm camped in a gully sort of thing. Thought of the day; OK i think I'm back to wtf am i doing!?

JWC on the PCT

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It didn't look this hard on the internet

Aaalright so last entry was definitely sugar coated to some degree and in walking today i thought what for? So its not horrible, but its pretty damn close. Basically I' finding out i scheduled my trip as if i adventure raced on the side when i wasn't donating my body to science in the search for human body's' V02 max. Last night the strap that i "fixed" came loose about 345am and subsequently all the moisture that had accumulated soaked my sleeping bag until i awoke and figured it out. So this morning i had to pack up a wet sleeping bag and tent. i thought i would have time to dry it out on my lunch break but when i realized today's mileage was lagging at lunch and i still had 13 miles and about 2000ft to climb i didn't. yeah so i got into my next stop at 700pm and decided i needed a motel--i know what your thinking but, my sleeping bag would be freezing cold and 2nd i didn't want to mention this but my chafe is balling outta control if you know what I'm saying. also i have a blister! the size of my pinky toe underneath my big toe and across the webbing to the second toe, good times. haven't decided what to do with that yet. so I'm finishing up dinner and just read the mileage for tomorrow; 22.6-i know, I'm a frickin genius. off to the races again feet hate me. now for some sleep in a queen bed, man i am so hardcore. Song of the day in my head; you knooow its hard out here for a pimp...wait is the lyric hard or hot? well shit either way it applied today.

seee ya JWC on the PCT