SoCal

Photos of us hiking

We hike a lot. All day, every day. 20 miles per day. It's both exhilarating and awfully monotonous. 

The sun sets over the Mojave Desert as we prepare for a night hike. 

The sun sets over the Mojave Desert as we prepare for a night hike. 

Beautiful alpine forests are my favorite!

Beautiful alpine forests are my favorite!

Epic stream crossings in the Sierra. Dan did this one barefoot. 

Epic stream crossings in the Sierra. Dan did this one barefoot. 

Our Belgian got all thugged out for Mt. Whitney. 

Our Belgian got all thugged out for Mt. Whitney. 

Bearing the heat of the desert. 

Bearing the heat of the desert. 

Walking along the L.A. aqueduct. 

Walking along the L.A. aqueduct. 

Vasquez Rocks. Half'n'Half was all smiles walking through this place. 

Vasquez Rocks. Half'n'Half was all smiles walking through this place. 

I love when logs are laid out over stream crossings. 

I love when logs are laid out over stream crossings. 

And then there was this staircase on the PCT. The John Muir Trail section gets fancy. 

And then there was this staircase on the PCT. The John Muir Trail section gets fancy. 

The approach to Forrester Pass. Dan (Soap Box) makes it look epic. It kinda was. 

The approach to Forrester Pass. Dan (Soap Box) makes it look epic. It kinda was. 

Cheers,

Jonathan

Life in the backcountry

As much as I love sharing scenic views from the trail, most of life for a PCT hiker is walking, camping and spending time with hiker friends. These are the simple moments. 

The boys are back outta town.  

The boys are back outta town.  

Setting up tents. 

Setting up tents. 

Dinner

Dinner

Riding in the back of a pickup on the way back to the trail.  Checking more activities off the American bucket list. 

Riding in the back of a pickup on the way back to the trail.  Checking more activities off the American bucket list. 

This is how you don't get scurvy. 

This is how you don't get scurvy. 

Blogging in our sleeping bags.  

Blogging in our sleeping bags.  

Swimming in a dammed up lake

Swimming in a dammed up lake

It's hot and we're tired.  

It's hot and we're tired.  

Waiting for cars give us a hitch.  

Waiting for cars give us a hitch.  

Peeing off the side of a mountain.  

Peeing off the side of a mountain.  

Searching for "gold" in rivers. 

Searching for "gold" in rivers. 

Finding ourselves exhausted by the mountains. 

Finding ourselves exhausted by the mountains. 

Sleeping on top of Muir Pass in the Muir Hut. 

Sleeping on top of Muir Pass in the Muir Hut. 

And then we keep walking. 

And then we keep walking. 

Cheers,

Jonathan (Pedi) 

 

Scenes of the desert

The desert is so many things and has so many varieties. There's low desert, high desert, hilly desert, sandy desert and on and on. It's not as glamorous as snow covered mountains, but we have given much of our lives to it of late. 

mile 220

mile 220

mile 224

mile 224

Mile 226

Mile 226

Mile 285

Mile 285

Mile 312

Mile 312

Mile 337

Mile 337

mile 315

mile 315

Mile 345

Mile 345

Mile 344

Mile 344

mile 387

mile 387

Mile 343

Mile 343

Mile 540

Mile 540

Mile 522

Mile 522

Mile 515

Mile 515

mile 524

mile 524

Mile 656ish

Mile 656ish

Now the desert comes to a close as we ascend up into the Sierra Nevada. The mountains look grand and beautiful. 

Cheers, 

Jonathan

Mt. Baden Powell

 

A few days ago we ascended the 9400 foot Mt. Baden Powell after leaving Wrightwood, Ca. We made a fantastic camp at 7500 feet elevation (above the clouds and in the high 30s overnight).

View from Baden Powell looking towards Mt. Baldy. 

View from Baden Powell looking towards Mt. Baldy. 

The next morning we gained the summit after climbing through an old growth pine forest - and old means a tree 1500 years old (trees that were young in the Dark Ages). On the summit we found a memorial built by Boy Scouts in the 1950s - they hiked the mountain with concrete to build it. From the summit we could see Mt. Baldy, another giant of the San Gabriels Range. 

For those not in the know: Lord Baden Powell was the founder of the World Scouting Movement and this little bit of rock was renamed for him in 1931 (originally it was called Little Baldy). As an Eagle Scout I owe ol Mr. Powell. Also, I can't imagine hiking to the summit with backpacks filled with concrete (definitly not Ultralight).

 

1500 year old tree.

1500 year old tree.

USGS seal at the top of the mountain.

USGS seal at the top of the mountain.

Pedi, Half'n'half, Quinoa hanging out at the monument.

Pedi, Half'n'half, Quinoa hanging out at the monument.

The monument built in the 1950s. 

The monument built in the 1950s. 

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This sign says says something about the tree being 1500 years old.   

This sign says says something about the tree being 1500 years old.

 



 

The McDash

Mile 342 of the Pacific Crest Trail has a McDonalds 0.4 miles away from the trail. Hikers choose to gorge themselves at this haven of free wifi, food and clean water. Even hikers outwardly against McDonalds plan to camp within easy hiking range to gain the Golden Arches the next day.

We were overcome by hunger, you see. Not starvation, but knowledge that $10 could get you 3000 calories of already prepared food and maybe a milkshake, this fact drove us all. 

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The day before we had hiked over 20 miles and managed to find a lake to swim in. After finding a place to camp 13 miles away from McDonalds, the Dash was on. Pedi and Quinoa flew down the trail while Half'n'Half and myself held a steady pace. Beautiful country with great gashes in the landscape from seismic activity - we were hiking over the San Andreas fault. Finally I saw highway 10 and was within sight of my goal. Upon arrival Pedi welcomed me with the most divine 10pc chicken nuggets, and after that the afternoon was a blur of burgers, fries and fountain soda.

At one point the PCT hikers outnumbered the regular guests. A pair had fallen asleep in a booth, cell phones and camera batteries hung from the ceiling like stalactites, and the trays of empty fries and burger wrappers filled the tables. 

After gorging ourselves we had to rally to hike up and away from sanctuary and back into the mountains. After eating all that food it felt good to put some miles behind the place where we shamed ourselves. 

People on mountains

 

"DUDE, this place is beautiful." 

"DUDE, this place is beautiful." 

Moonshine's beard. 

Moonshine's beard. 

Most of the way up San Jacinto.   photo/probably Half and Half

Most of the way up San Jacinto. 

photo/probably Half and Half

Soap Box, Pedi, Half and Half, and Quinoa at 10,800 ft atop Mt. San Jacinto.   photo/random nice couple

Soap Box, Pedi, Half and Half, and Quinoa at 10,800 ft atop Mt. San Jacinto. 

photo/random nice couple

We climbed over many a fallen tree at higher altitudes.  

We climbed over many a fallen tree at higher altitudes.  

Jonathan hiking through the fresh snow.

Jonathan hiking through the fresh snow.

Jonathan descending, seeking warmer climbs.

Jonathan descending, seeking warmer climbs.

Half and Half snapping photos at the summit of San Jacinto.

Half and Half snapping photos at the summit of San Jacinto.

We say our goodbyes to the snow covered mountain (Not unhappily).

We say our goodbyes to the snow covered mountain (Not unhappily).


Greater than a marathon

I ran my first marathon in 3h40m and it was one of the most proud moments I'd ever experienced. Yesterday I completed my second marathon length endeavor, except this time I did it in 11 hours with 30 lbs on my back while climbing 4000 ft in elevation. 

It felt like a mere drop in the ocean. 

But I didn't stop once I had done 26.2 miles. Throughout the day I'd been leapfrogging with Zippy Morroco, a fellow thru-hiker, and by mile 22 we had banded together for the day's endeavor. 

"Wanna try for a 30 day?" Zippy asked me once I passed my marathon mark. 

Sure, why the hell not. 

I'd split up from my group a few days prior. It was my first time hiking alone and I had it stuck in my brain that I could push myself to complete this seemingly ludicrous feat. 

At the completion of 30 miles we knew there were only five more left until Big Bear, my hiking family and a soft bed. We donned our headlamps, scarfed a few granola bars pounded out the last miles. Darkness, tired legs and sore feet be damned, 14 hours after I started walking I had made it. 

Zippy Morroco, my hiking partner for the day. It was a joy getting to know him and experience the day together. I could never have done it all without him. 

Zippy Morroco, my hiking partner for the day. It was a joy getting to know him and experience the day together. I could never have done it all without him. 

My feet at the end of the day.  

My feet at the end of the day.  

A Joshua tree as night fell.  

A Joshua tree as night fell.  

Cheers,

Jonathan

Scenes of snow

Walking through the snow for a day and a half has been one of the most challenging and exhilarating experiences of the hike so far. As I panted for breath in the cold wind and trudged my feet sloppily through snow it was all I could do to stop myself and shoot a few frames every five yards. The scenes were spectacular beyond any words that I can write. With my camera at least I could put forth a worthwhile effort. 

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Cheers,

Jonathan

Day 5 - happy Easter!

Ok, I don't think we'll be finding Easter Eggs on the trails. We stink, we walk funny, we dress in goofy clothes, and we will eat anything - we've become hiker trash.

Today has been rough. The first few days are behind us and we are taking a break at mile 91 as I write. We will be crossing our 100 mile marker! However, the desert sun is beating down and as another hiker said, "there are bodies under all the trees." We are seeking out shade. It's hot, water is short and the tallest tree is close to 5 ft tall. Every day I am drawing on my experiences with Double H and Philmont to help make things easier. 

Day 1 I was extremely excited to be on the trail, maybe even nervous with anticipation. Our trail angel, Girl Scout dropped us off at the border, we snapped some pictures and we were on our way through the desert, putting distance between ourselves and the border patrol.

Day 2 brought sore muscles, but new friends and I was able to dole out backpacking tips. We were playing leap frog with a Belgian guy and a German all day and finally we decided to hike together. We hiked over 20 miles to our next camp and went from the desert to Ponderosa pines and the scenic town of Mt. Laguna.

Day 3 was more incredible scenery and the landscape opened up to vistas overlooking the enormous Noble Canyon. A long day of walking on trail with solid rock on one side and a 2000 foot drop on the other side. 

Day 4 was a long one, but was a blast: fighter jets, bridge beers, camping in the desert. During lunch we found water at a fire tank. If there hadn't been water there we would have been in trouble - no other water for 30+ miles. Jonathan had/has terrible foot problems so I hiked ahead (thinking if he needed help I'd find more water and closer road access) while he laid up with hiker friends. Half an hour later I hear yelling behind me. I turned as fast as I could to see Jonathan bolting down this mountain ridge trail, flying by other hikers. He's yelling for me to take video. After he passes me, I cinch down my straps and run after him. That evening we hiked to Scissors Crossing to find beer stored in a cooler, left by a trail angel. Perfect.

 

Side note: we had to leave the bridge hangout - lots of people were showing up at the bridge and we needed sleep. From our hillside campsite we saw bikers and some guy with a search light on his car drive by the bridge so I think we made an excellent call when we moved on. 

I feel like all my experience from working at Double H has made me more prepared for the desert, mentally. And I have been extremely lucky, very few blisters. Been trying to get some good pictures and teach the guys some skillz! As a group we have taken on our trail personalities, are growing accustomed to walking all day, taking notice of our surroundings and getting past our aches and pains. 

-Dan (no drawings yet, just pics!) 

Southern Terminus

Southern Terminus

Afternoon of Day 1

Afternoon of Day 1

Day 3 - tons of ridge walking, breaking for a snack!

Day 3 - tons of ridge walking, breaking for a snack!

The ridge we were walking along (day 3). Jonathan is in the middle someplace. 

The ridge we were walking along (day 3). Jonathan is in the middle someplace. 

Day 4 - Scissors Crossing, the bridge vortex. We founds water, beer, trash collection and things got strange.

Day 4 - Scissors Crossing, the bridge vortex. We founds water, beer, trash collection and things got strange.