Day 19 Miles 235.5 – 246.5 April 1, 2017


Can see SO far


Our day began early in the morning with big plans. But only one and a half miles in, we had already climbed almost 2000 feet. We came back to the creek a number of times along our path and at one point the creek had done its thing again and it took us 45 minutes to find the trail after crossing the creek. GPS was not acting right in the canyon and that furthered our frustration along with biting the dust several times and once for me right into a cactus. All trying just to get out of the canyon and back on the trail. We traversed the burn area which had recovered more than I thought it would have been in six years; however, some areas have not recovered at all with many charred dead standing trees looking like they are ready to fall over into each other. We began another climb up above 8000 feet. Small patches of snow turned into large patches of ice covered snow that made the pack difficult and a little dangerous to follow. Of course, I fell on my butt again on an icy patch and watched my water bottle slide down the mountain. We came down from about 8600 feet and came across Coon Creek cabin area that has been closed since the fire. It is going to make a nice flat area for us to sleep tonight.


Today was the first time in nearly 3 weeks that I was not mentally up for the hike today. The past week has been very challenging going from 8,000 feet down to 1,000 and back up to 8,600 today. All through fierce wind, snow and blistering heat in the desert. None of that particularly bothered me at that time and I actually quite like the challenge. Perhaps it was losing the trail so much this morning and all the extra energy expended first thing for no miles gained that made me feel like I needed a break. And who can really blame me – we have hiked 17 of the past 19 days. Either way, we hiked the ten miles to the cabin area and my mood immediately proved as soon as I threw my pack down and saw the view. What a view! We could see so far from 8,000+ feet up. We had a nice little night to ourselves and realized we haven’t seen anyone else in 2 days. It’s fun to be in the great outdoors!


It’s sad to see everything burned


Giz kicks his feet up




We have never seen red lichen before today



Burn against the snow



A small break from snow crossings

Day 18 Miles 225.5-235 March 31, 2017


Woke up this am in not too much of a hurry since we were still recovering from the flash storm and trail demands of yesterday evening. We also knew we had a lighter day of only 10 miles. It wouldn’t have been a chore except that we were both fatigued and depleted today. The gain was was a gradual 3000 ft and the sun blazed again but the air n breeze were cooler because of the altitude gain. Camped at a nice shaded spot by the headwaters of the creek we’ve been following all day. Altitude was also fatiguing both of us a little after such a physical few days. We are entering previous fire zone in a mile but were already in an area with total burn scars everywhere away from the creek. 😦 Hope I don’t get too misty tomorrow when we are in the burn zone for the first time in 6 years after hikers started a fire. Don’t know the whole story.  Today was also a reminder that we are early on in this part of the trail as it was difficult to follow sometimes. Especially because the creek has gone through some swollen and then retraction times since last season that had wiped the trail clean or off the map in several places.

We cooked a hearty dinner tonight and are in our sleeping bags by 6. Tomorrow is a big day. 20-21 miles that we have to do in one shot. Water to water but also traveling through the fire zone where there is no camping allowed. Onyx Peak at 9100 ft is also on the aggenda tomorrow so time to rest up.


Rob making dinner 💞

Day 17 Miles 213.4 – 225.5 March 30, 2017


The canyon we climbed out of first thing in the morning


Windmill farm we camped in.



White Water Preserve below


White Water Preserve below

6176643808_IMG_02866176643808_IMG_0288Rob darn near saved my life this morning. I developed a monstrous blister yesterday on my right heel. Imagine a second heel growing out of the right side of my current heel at about the size of my thumb. Ugh. As he always lovingly tends to my blisters (seriously, he takes time to take care of my blisters EVERY DAY… sadly, that means that I need to have blisters looked at everyday 😦 ) he drained it for me and I was able to fit it in my shoe. Phew! Good thing, because our hike up this morning started with a 1,200 foot elevation gain over just 1.3 miles distance. Rob enjoyed watching the sunrise over the windmills this morning while laying in the tent. Now that same sun was scorching us at 9am as we made this intense climb first thing in the morning. On top of that, it was very windy. We both had close calls with the wind on the edge of the cliffs. We continued our windy 5 miles to White Water Preserve through large elevation gains and losses and were happy to hear and see the river running when we arrived.

The landscape changes in the Preserve to white sand and rock with a river submit through it. In the middle of the desert. It was a beautiful change in scenery and when we left that area about 4 after our siesta I commented that the Preserve, with the San Bernardino mountains in the background, look like a movie set they are so picturesque. Before that, at the Preserve, we spent about 3 1/2 hours eating lunch, and laying around in our sleeping bags on the grass to kill the hot part of the day.

On our way out about 4 we rain into Mellow. He was entering the Ranger Station on the property right as we went to walk out and finish another 8+ miles for the day before camping on Mission Creek. He said that Tasha and B were 30 minutes behind him and they were camping there that night.

We proceeded out of the Preserve and started to feel like we made the right decision leaving later because it was nice and cool out with the intensity of the midday sun. Our evening hike soon turned a bit dangerous. It became incredibly windy and as we were traversing the mountain sides we were soon battling the wind just to stay on the trail and not be blown down the cliff. We have encountered wind so far, but this was fierce wind. At several points, I was standing on the top of the mountain when a fierce wind pounded against me. I had to dig my trekking poles in deep, bend my knees and put my head down and brace myself so the wind wouldn’t knock me over. I stood there for a full minute at least waiting for it to die down before moving any further. I saw Rob being nearly blown back from the wind on the cliff. Mellow said it’s more windy these past couple weeks than he remembers it being when he did the PCT the first time. Our day of unexpected and varied hiking difficulties didn’t stop there. About 3 miles in it started raining. Just a drizzle at first and then constant. The sky was so dark and we were trying to outrun the rain, but still had 4 miles left to go. The path had us climbing a small mountain which was windy again – so it’s raining and windy – but at least it wasn’t too cold. I was hustling for those miles. I even ran some of them, which is hindsight was not a good idea. It’s way too hard on my feet with the pack on and adding to all those miles walked during the day. While my head was down to fight the wind, and I’m being rained on as daylight is fading, I saw something coming at me fast. I couldn’t tell what it was and screamed. Rob came over the ridge running and I yelled back, “Its only a bunny, but I couldn’t tell cause the darn thing was charging me so fast.” I scared that cute thing when I screamed!!
**Rob’s interjection: The mad rage of the Bunny was aimed right for Lace as they both crossed the ridge toward one another. The Bunny’s horns popped 3″ out of his head and drool ran down his fangs. On one little Bunny paw, a switchblade. In the other, a spiked iron ball on a chain. Strapped to his back was a crossbow, loaded and cocked with the curled metal Bunny tail right on the trigger. Blood curdling screams from both Lacy n the evil Bunny cried out in the twilight. Lacy’s pure size and vocal ability saved her life as the Bunny broke off his charge and went off in search of another target.**
After what felt like an endless 4 miles in the rain on a ridge top that seemed to go on for eternity, we descended and camped at the first decent looking spot and set up camp in the rain. First time we have had to do that. We moved fast and almost like clock work, as soon as we were all set up, the clouds parted and it was a beautiful night. We were too frazzled to cook so we ate a bunch of snacks for dinner – beef jerky (has fast become 1 of our favorite snacks), truffle almonds and coconut flakes (thanks again S&K!) topped off by Oreos. While we ate, we went back over the day and were laughing about the bunny “charging” me (I promise, this bunny was on a mission). We marveled at how this had been our most technically challenging day ever and that we got through it unscathed and even ending the day with laughs. After snuggling down in my sleeping bag and reading while eating jelly beans (it was heavenly!), I dozed off. Today was a rollercoaster!