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Pacific Crest Trail... photos and journal

Summer of 2001... The Desert continued...

(Page 3 of 10 pages)

ADZPCTKO 2001 continued...

While talking to Carol Wellman "Brawney" (left) about my lightweight styrofoam cup, she expressed concern about it being porous thus having the ability to provide a safe harbor for bacteria. This led me (center) into a three hour marathon to invent a new hiking cup with the help of several other hiker's, including a future PCT thru-hiker Jason (right). We continiously experimented by boiling the bottoms of several old water bottles until we got one shrunk to the exact size that would fit snug inside my MSR Titan Kettle. We then used duct tape to hold on a ring of styrofoam so that it'd be hot liquid safe. We had so much fun creating my new cup then somebody convinced me to enter it in the homemade gear contest where it won me a nice leatherman knife and title of "the wildest presentation using the most useless materials"!

Greg Hummel and Tom host the homemade gear contest which was really more of a wild and wacky grilling of the contestant as they attempted to demonstrate and explain their invention. This ended up being one of the most hilarious and educational moments of the event!

A couple of hiker's by the names of Marcus and Robin won the grand prize in the homemade gear contest which was a brand new GV4 backpack!

There was always a long line at meal time and that's Brian Robinson in the white & blue ball cap who was attempting a triple crown hike of the AT, PCT, and CDT in one calendar year. He accomplished this "first" in October of the same year! Congratulations "Flyin' Brian"!

Mad Monte now is giving an alcohol stove making demonstration.

From my journal (April 29th, Day-4)..."Finally I am off and truely on my own hiking toward Canada. Bob Riess and a few others had a hot breakfast for us at sunrise and plenty of hot coffee. About 7:30 a.m. "Blaze", a friend who also thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in '94 gave me a ride back to Fred Canyon Road where I resumed my hike northbound. It was nice reaching the pine forest which covers the 6,000 foot Mt. Laguna area after all that open exposure in the desert. Water was very available today which was also nice. At the small community of Mt. Laguna I walked a short distance to the store and bought enough groceries to get me to my first food drop at Warner Springs, then I cooked a mac & cheese at the picnic area beside the trail and moved on over nice terrain down to Laguna campground where I went for water and ran into one of the sponsoring ADZPCTKO hiker's. I rode with him back to the store to pick up another hiker then back at the campground I decided to hike on eventhough they graciously offered me hot dogs and beans. I was just too darn anxious to enter the freedom of the trail after several wonderful, yet confining days at Lake Morena so I filled up a water bag and hiked to the trailhead area of Noble Canyon and set up a stealth campsite and soon went to sleep."

From the right it's me, Tom, GT, Luzia, and Swiss Miss at the begining of a slack pack day about 13 miles north of Lake Morena at Fred Canyon Road.

From my journal (April 30th, Day-5)... "I'm up and packing at sunrise which is about 6:00 a.m. and it's a very pleasant 40 degrees (F) which I know will soon be in the scorching and unrelenting 80's in a part of the country where I haven't seen a drop of rain since my plane landed in San Diego over a week ago. I opt to get moving and eat my breakfast somewhere down trail. I fill up all of my water containers for a total of 6 liters for a 29 mile water alert zone, then after drinking a liter I'm on the trail with the heaviest load yet! At Pioneer Mail picnic area ther is a barrel of water that must be filtered but I pass it by since my load is sufficient. Two other hikers from the Kick-off are there filtering the nasty horse water.

The next several hours are spent ploughing out the miles on a very long cactus infested and no-shade trail, although the trail angels have left some gallon jugs of water for us which I was able to pass by for the most part. At about 5:00 p.m. I'd had about all the sun and heat that I could stand so I pull off the trail somewhere on the north slope of Granite mountain and about 100 feet up a drainage gully I find sufficent refuge from the sun and with the idea of resting then hiking some more, but that was not to be as my leg and shoulders were screaming a little bit too loud, plus 3 new blisters! My body is just not yet trail hardened enough for an extended day of hiking, but I'm now onlyu 38 miles from Warner Springs so I'm doing just fine mileage wise."

I found some of the biggest pine cones ever while hiking through the Mount Laguna mountains.

This was the first water cache somewhere before Scissor's Crossing. You can't depend on them but it sure was nice when they were there!

From my journal (May 1st, Day-6)... "I am presently waiting out the midday heat under the broken shade provided by a thick scrub-like tree at the junction of the PCT and the pipe gate past the crest of the San Felipe Hills... and where it is 90 (F) in the shade. What a way to spend May Day 2001! after draining 3 blisters I slept solely under the stars last night on my ground cloth and ensolite pad. I slept well but when I would shift position I would also usually feel the sharp pain in my right knee which is becoming more trail hard with each passing day. However, each time that I woke up I made it a regular point to notice the shifting position of the Big Dipper around the North Star and once just turned on my back to study the heavens for a while until sleep overcame me again. The Milky Way was alive and well as seen from the desert floor on a dark May night.

I was hiking just at daybreak trying to beat the sun as futile an effort as it was. It is certainly a hot challenging day when I must have my sunglasses and sun protection in place by 7:00 a.m.! From Granite Mountain I cover the remaining six miles to Scissor's Crossing without delay. I filled up with five liters of blttled spring water left by the trail angels then rinsed out my socks, shirt and sleeping bag liner in the creek, the crossed Highway 78 to sign the first trail register and started climbing several switchbacks until the grade was flat for several miles. Here I saw cactus bigger than me and an array of desert plants not yet seen... all so beautiful and amazing. How they can survive in such a hostile terrain is even the more amazing. Shade was extremely limited on this steep crest line but I finally found a rock out cropping on the steep hill that gave me a tiny yet solid shade for an hour whil I cooked a good meal. Moving on down the trail I met Tim and Ann "The Raven's" from San Diego who thru-hiked the PCT back in '96 but were now only doing the desert section again. I also ran into my 3rd rattlesnake which as usual scared me silly as I jumped back in a jerking motion as it quickly coiled up in a defensive mode. It wouldn't budge an inch so I finally detoured around this huge stubborn serpent off the trail and I don't plan to ever come back to hike this missed 10 foot section of trail.

At a pipe gate I cooked another meal, washed my hair and was relaxing when I decided to hike for another hour which was a good move since it was a long 2.7 mile ascent back to the San Felipe ridge. Grom here I went a short distance to find a very nice campsite in the chapparal about 100 feet off the trail. It's high and windy here but I think I'm gonna like it!"

Me and a nice cactus as I enter the San Felipe Hills just after Scissor's Crossing.

This was the third rattler I crossed and also the biggest one of the trip! It was so big and old that it didn't even make a rattling warning just daring me to continue walking. I ended up detouring through the bushes and gave the trail to him!

Join me on the next page as I pass through Warner Springs, Idyylwild, Fuller Ridge, San Gorgonio Pass and all points inbetween...