Date: Thursday, 18 May 2017
Start: Little Jimmy Campground, Mile 383.9, 7479 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 407.3, 5315 ft
Daily Miles: 23.4 PCT, 1.0 other
Total PCT Miles: 407.3
Weather: Warm and sunny after a cold start
Accommodation: Tent by the trail
Dinner: Rehydrated chilli mac
Aches: Right shoulder intermittently sore. Perhaps a pinched nerve.
Highlight: My midday break at a clearing in the forest at Cooper Canyon. The smell of pine in the air. The temperature basking in the sun just perfect. It would have been easy to lie down and have a nap for a few hours.
Lowlight: Realising too late that I had passed by the last source of water before camping and having to retrace my steps for a quarter of a mile to fill up.
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
I was on the trail by 6:30am on a sunny but very cold morning. My fingers were frozen and it took an hour or so of hiking, wearing more clothes than usual, before I began to feel warm. Shortly after leaving the campsite, I came upon the word BEARS written with a stick on the trail, but couldn’t see any. It was written by either an early morning hiker or someone last night. There are warnings about bears around here, but none seen by me so far.
The trail continued to follow the Angeles Crest, dipping down to saddles, where it generally crossed the highway, then climbing steeply up again. The conifer forest was cool and shady and the trail often covered in pine needles. Perfect. The clouds hiding Los Angeles had disappeared, but been replaced by smog which didn’t allow for much to be seen.
At one point the trail was closed for some miles to protect an endangered species (frog or toad, I think), so I walked the road for 3 miles as one of the suggested alternatives, and then returned to the PCT via the Burkhart Trail which descended through a beautiful shady and rocky canyon harbouring a babbling and clear stream. Once back on the PCT there was more climbing and a noticeable drying of the landscape. At my afternoon break at a campground near a highway crossing I met a hiker who had just hitch-hiked to there from the point where the detour started, saving him about ten miles of walking. I don’t think this approach is uncommon amongst the PCT hikers, but each to his own.
The last part of the day saw the trail gradually descend and the vegetation become more desert-like as the PCT leaves the Angeles Crest and heads towards another desert section. I suspect I will be complaining about the heat by tomorrow night. It’s been another long and tiring, but interesting day. As usual, my favourite part of the day is setting up camp and eating as the sun sets, capped by climbing into my cosy tent and sleeping bag, and after finishing my diary, reading for 30 minutes or so, before sleeping.