PCT day 23 – First half of the Climb


Hwy 2 (369.3) to Mountainside Camp (375.8)

6.5 miles

Today I hiked a lot further than I wanted to. My initial plan was to leave Wrightwood after lunch and just hike a couple of miles to an off-trail campground.

I got a hitch immediately as the chair couple showed up at the supermarket and they had a ride arranged. Another injured hiker would drive them to the Hwy and I could jump in.

I carried only half a liter of water to lower my pack weight. Five days of food were pressing my shoulder straps hard on my shoulders when I began hiking towards Grassy Hollow Visitor Center which was the first water source and only a mile away. Arriving there I just topped up my half liters as I wanted to hike only one mile further to an off-trail campground that was supposed to have water according to Guthook. Well, you might suspect it… there wasn’t any water at the campground! I was walking around on the campground desperately searching for the cold wet. Nothing! The next reliable water source was halfway up Mt. Baden-Powell. I never wanted to go that far, especially not in the afternoon and maybe get stuck on a steep mountain side.

With limited options I decided to hike another three miles to the highway crossing at Vincent Gap. From there it would just be 1.5 miles to the spring up the mountain and I would survive a rather dry camp. Hiking there I could hardly enjoy the landscape or the views. I was angry at myself for not carrying more spare water. Normally I do!

Arriving at Vincent Gap it was super windy and the campsites were not really nice. I was standing there unable to make a decision when a Czech couple I had met in Wrightwood came by. They were heading for the spring up the mountain convinced that there are enough camp spots. With my water situation putting some pressure on me I decided to join them. In fact I shooted up the mountain in front.

The spring trail was kind of steep and small and arriving at the spring there was just water, no camping. Oh no! I thought, filled up my bottles quickly and got back to the trail again. I did the only thing I could do which was hiking on until I would find a spot.

Turning around the next bend I saw the Czech couple and indeed there were some camp spots. I felt some relief and picked a spot. At least I got one because right now the mountainside is crowded. It’s cold up here, quite windy AND my tent has a downward angle to one side! I don’t expect a good night’s sleep at all. Hopefully I will get some as tomorrow I will Summit Mt. Baden-Powell!

4 replies
    • lifetimetrails
      lifetimetrails says:

      Yes, that’s true. That’s when the actual weather comes handy. It’s not too hot and running out of water is no problem. And just as I am writing these lines it’s hailing in the desert!


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