Buckhorn Campground (394.0) to Mill Creek Camp (418.4)
It started raining early in the morning. I was wondering if I could just stay in my tent all day. Maybe a good idea, who knows?!
From the weather forecast I knew it was supposed to rain all day. A bad weather front was apparently moving through a big part of California. After another half hour I did something I hated doing: I started packing all my stuff while I was inside my tent. Somehow I managed and waited for the rain to slow down a bit. Then it was my turn. From now on things needed to happen fast. I took down the tentfly and tried to collapse the inner tent as fast as possible to avoid it getting wet. I would say I was halfway successful and after only five minutes I was all packed up and ready to go. I was also wet all over already. My full set of rain clothes was drenched within minutes. It was cold and even wearing anything I had except my sleeping clothes didn’t seem to be enough. There was only one thing I could do: hike and get moving! The Australian couple had mentioned the night before that it would be a bit shorter to hike further in the highway to the next intersection with the PCT. As it was raining like crazy I was sold on that idea. Picking up a fast pace I made my way to the entry of the Buckhorn Campground. Actually I didn’t like the idea of hiking again on a highway without a shoulder but yesterday it had not been bad at all. There was little traffic because parts of the highway were still blocked due to a landslide.
As soon as I arrived at the entry of the campground I heard a horrible noise coming from the highway. Two snowplows shooted past with a ridiculous speed. Thank god I was still in the driveway. With mixed feelings I set my foot on the highway. It was raining and therefore hard to hear noises from behind. I chose to hike on the barely existing side whenever possible.
Eventually I reached the trail. No further vehicle had passed me and I was relieved to feel some dirt again under my feet. The trail descended along the mountain and the sky kept dripping on me. But on the map was some hope. Glenwood Camp was mentioned as an old building with some pit toilets. Maybe the building was accessible? When I got there it was not only raining but also super windy. I was freezing! The building looked nice but unfortunately all the doors were closed. I dropped my pack under the small front roof and went for the bathroom to have at least some dry privacy.
I hiked on and on in the rain until I reached the last crossing of Hwy 2. The PCT crosses the Angeles Crest Highway in total 9 times! The highway crossing was the last chance to hide in the bathrooms but after a while I had to hike on. Around the next corner and I could see the sun in the distance shining through a hole in the clouds. “Hey sun, I am here!” I shouted out loud and indeed the trail went into the right direction. After a while the rain died down and I soaked in every little bit of sunlight. I had entered the Pleasant View Wilderness and there were some pleasant views around. Warming up in the sun I started to enjoy today’s hike again.
It turned out to be a nice hiking day until I made a wrong decision on the last mountain ridge. I wanted to loose some elevation and also didn’t like the campsites up there too much. A creepy car was standing there and not knowing what had happened was kind of scary. I approached the car and glimpsed inside just to see if someone needed help. There was no one and I connected the car to a helicopter I had seen earlier that day flying over the mountain.
Anyway, I didn’t want to stay there and so I headed for the next campsite 2.4 miles down the mountain. Around the next corner and dark clouds were hanging in the sky again. I sped up but of course wasn’t fast enough. It was raining on me again and the campsite I was heading for was not really a good one. As I was already wet I aimed for the Highway crossing close to the Mill Creek Fire Station. Dripping wet I arrived there and desperate set up camp in the wet again on the side of a dirt road and close to some powerlines.
The day ended as it has begun: wet and rainy. Today had taught me a lot about hiking in rain and keeping my gear dry. Especially setting up camp in the rain was a challenge. Well, I just practiced for the Cascades.
I am hoping the best for tomorrow. Some sun would be highly appreciated!