Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mile 454

Wow, it's been 150 miles since I last posted. Let's see, what has happened...

Wrightwood is definitely the most hiker-friendly town I've ever seen. We got picked up from Inspiration Point by a tattoo-covered skateboarder driving a super-nice Mercedes Benz. The hardwear store has a list of host families for hikers, and DayGlo called and made arrangements for us girls. As Carmen and I were waiting in the postoffice, THREE more Wrightwoodites gave us their numbers, beseeching us to come stay in their homes, eat their food, and drink their beer. Turns out that the folks we stayed with that first night were the wealthiest family in this already super-wealthy mountain suburb of Los Angeles. They had not one, but two climbing walls in their house, a kitchen I drooled over with two dishwashers, a detached three-car garage with office space above, a home theater, a driveway pull-around like a swanky hotel... the works. It was amazing.

The second night we stayed there, Hasty joined DayGlo, Carmen, and I at one of the families that had offered us up their home. It was very different from the first night, the family was in the process of going through all of their stuff since they were in the process of losing their home, but they still had the warmth and generosity to insist we stay and eat. Mike was a most interesting person, he was a veteran and told Hasty some crazy stories, including the forensic work he did once he got out of the forces. He also restored cars, and showed us some amazing photos of truly beautiful old cars he had worked on.

Right after we left Wrightwood, we went over Baden-Powell. It's named after the guy who started the Boy Scouts. I thought the Boy Scouts were a pretty good thing, with the whole exception of the don't-ask-don't-tell homosexuality hatred issues, but there's all that camping and knot-tying stuff. We ran into lots of Boy Scouts on the mountain though, and it was clear that it was very very poor leadership and bad judgment on part of all the adults involved. There were kids crying from the cold with no adults, trying to get down the snow as fast (and therefore, rather dangerously) as they could.

We followed the switchbacks until we hit solid snow, then tried to go straight up toward the summit. Hasty and Carmen started to truly shine, while DayGlo and I got more and more sketched out by the steeps. We made it up though. I was super duper uber happy I had my ice axe and microspikes. We followed the ridgeline to get down, and snow was expected that night, so we ended up camping 5 miles short of where we expected in order to stay sheltered and find a spot (I had lost my headlamp, amongst many other valuable items, and was becoming more of a liability with every missing piece of gear). Sure enough, we woke up to a few inches of snow, so we slept in hoping that dust-on-crust would soften to something a little better to walk on.

And... we hiked a lot. I'm trying to remember anything exciting or of note. I'm really settling into this hiking thing, so nothing seems to out of the ordinary to me.

We had to detour along roads to avoid a burned area. That ended up being really really enjoyable to me, since we hiked as a group and told stories and played games and laughed and talked the entire way, mostly with amazing views, the roadwalking wore on my psyche much less than I was expecting. The last 5 miles though were on an awful, noisy, ugly, headwind road, and I was ready to be on the trail by the time we hit the KOA.

I decided to ditch the polkadot spandex shorts and safari shirt because
a.) I have lost weight and my spandex is now saggy, with the crotch invariably below mid-thigh
b.) The spandex is cheap and now disintegrating and itches as it does so
c.) I started hiking in my camp/sleep clothes and discovered that I'm cooler in my baby blue wool shirt than beige nylon safari shirt, and BodyGlide solves all my chafe problems with just a cool, breezy skirt.

So I've also ditched the name Polkadot. Never fear, though, I instantly earned another one by the time I got dressed in Agua Dulce. I was doing my usual indecisive thing, trying to figure out what of Donna Saufley's loaner clothes to wear after I took a shower. At one point, Carmen looked over and I was debating between five choices. On the roadwalk, we talked about how the Valentine's sometimes used "thump thump" as the sound effect for indeciveness: like a squirrel that can't make up it's mind when facing a speeding car barrelling down the road. "Go right! No left! No right!" Thump thump.

We are now at the Saufleys in Agua Dulce, and Hiker Heaven has truly earned its name. For a donation only basis, Donna washes all our clothes, feeds us often, lets us chill out in her guest trailer, ride her bikes, and gives us military tents and cots to sleep in. DayGlo met up with her parents here, so we've just been chilling out, waiting to keep Mexico or Bust together.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you posting again. Looks like you got a nice little group together, and have hit "stride". Happy hiking, and I'm cooking up a variety of breakfast bars for you!