Within five miles after re-entering the San Bernardino Mountains, we came across our sixth rattlesnake of the trip. It was very big, and the darkest we've seen, but calm and motionless, so we moved on after I snapped a picture. Two more rattlesnake encounters before finishing this section, so I hope we have filled our quota. I read that the average thru-hiker sees three or four during the first 700 miles to the Kennedy Meadows. Still, I've adopted a no-music policy before 10 am. and after 4pm., as morning and evening are when we usually see them.
The rest of the morning was spent around 6,000 feet as I listened to a Dodgers vs. Marlins game on my new Sony radio I picked up in Big Bear. After lunch, we meandered our way through scorched land, a result of the forest fires in 2008, until we reached a creek side trail camp with a picnic table.
This continued the following morning, until we reached Holcomb Creek and some crossings. As we ate our tuna fish and hot sauce in tortillas, dark grey clouds came rolling toward us. We surely expected this would be our first rainfall, but we got lucky and stayed dry. A mid-afternoon dip in Deep Creek was the highlight of the day and shortly thereafter we climbed a hundred feet and began a long traverse next to but above the creek for the remainder of the day.
In the morning we skipped coffee and pushed three miles to Deep Creek Hot Spring, an amazing place with terraced pools of 100-degree-plus water. We soaked for over an hour, jumped into the creek to cool off, and packed up. As we walked west, it was apparent that we were getting closer to civilization, due to the plastic bottles at the side of the trail, the graffiti on the rocks, day hikers in bermuda shorts, and the gigantic dam built to hold back Deep Creek's waters. A half mile later, our first official ford, but Deep Creek was only thigh deep. We camped this night at Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area on a small peninsula only accessible by boat or foot, with picnic tables and garbage cans.
Up early at 5am. the next morning because we had a date with Mickey D. We hiked 16 miles before 2pm., and we rewarded ourselves when we reached I-15 with french fries, orange Hi-C's, Chicken McNuggets, Coca Cola, cheese burgers, chocolate milkshakes and iced coffee. Needless to say we left McDonalds with full bellies as well as full capacity of water, as we had 22 dry miles
of trail to look forward to. We camped about 5 miles from I-15/ Cajon Pass to avoid the noise.
Leaving Cajon Canyon we thankfully entered the San Gabriel Mountains. John Muir called them, "more rigidly inaccessible than any other I ever attempted to penetrate." We didn't have a problem, but we did have over 5000 feet to climb in one day! Wow! We spent the night at Guffy's Campground, just inside the Angeles National Forest. In the AM, two short hours and five miles brought us to mile 369, the Angeles Crest Highway, and we hitchhiked into Wrightwood for resupply.
Things are well on the trail for us. Our feet are doing much much better, and we are halfway to Kennedy Meadows, which is exciting. More often than not, our conversation turns to food. I asked Em today what she missed the most. She responded,"Pasta and my Dad's tomato sauce, red wine and salad." For me, it's simply Coke...although beer is a very close 2nd.
Chris (and Emily)