May 25, 2015
Hwy 2-Wrightwood (369.5) to Islip Saddle (386.2)
16.7 PCT miles today
401 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,061 ft, – 4,552 ft
Today was another great day on trail. We woke up this morning, packed up, and were ready to head out and start putting in the miles by 8am. At least we thought we were leaving, but that was before Jeff walked in the house (he had already been to the store!) and asked if anyone wanted coffee. So we stayed for coffee, which was fresh ground, french press, with hazelnut creamer. And then he started heating up cinnamon rolls! So we stayed for those too. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed the epitome of a cozy and warm morning with friends. We are truly indebted to this amazing family and are hoping to repay the hospitality when they come visit us in Tahoe.
Eventually Jeff drove us into town and we found a hitch back to Inspiration Point from a Wrightwood local who also happened to be a Vietnam Marine vet and a very kind man with a great sense of humor. We got to the trail, said our “see ya laters” to our new friend BeeKeeper (another hiker we stayed with at Jeff’s) and started on our way.
Today’s hike included a climb up the very popular Mount Baden-Powell and we shared the trail with a multitude of friendly locals who were out enjoying their Memorial Day. The climb was steep, but manageable, and the summit was probably my favorite summit experience of my life.
I’ve climbed quite a few mountains, but when I get to the top it is always windy and cold. Or there are bugs. Or too many people. I usually take my photos and pretty quickly start heading down. But today we got to the top, soaked in the incredible views of the valleys below, and then sat and relaxed and had lunch with a few other thru-hikers. The weather was perfect and to top it all off, one hiker had a friend with her who was day hiking and she had brought up an entire chocolate sheet cake to share. She kept telling us to eat as much as we wanted, and we kept trying to keep our bites small because it was delicious and we easily could have devoured the entire thing.
In the afternoon we caught back up to a hiker we had met in Big Bear named RatWater and we enjoyed pleasant conversation as we hiked to camp. Once we all set up, another hiker, Maverick, joined us, and we spent another fun evening laughing and chatting with friends. We realized a couple hours into our conversation that the entire thing had been about the day’s hike, poop, and food. But such is the life of a thru-hiker. It may not be pretty, but it sure is a lot of fun.