PCT Day 35 – Thursday May 18
Buckhorn Campground to Sulphur Springs Trail Camp Mile 406.6
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 12.6
Endangered Species Alternate: 2
Feet Ascended Today: 2268
Feet Descended Today: 26314
Current Elevation: 5187
I was absolutely wiped out after yesterday’s hike and slept hard last night. I got 10.5 hours of sleep (which is unusual for me) and didn’t wake up until 6:45 am. I had a leisurely morning, taking time to cook breakfast and also to do my exercises with the massage ball to loosen the muscles in my feet. I hate doing this but it does help manage my foot pain when I do.
We didn’t leave camp until 8:30 or 9:00 which is kindof unheard of for thru-hikers. But, I’m not in a big hurry. I have plenty of time to get to Agua Dulce to meet Daniel who will be flying to meet me soon (YAY!!). If I hike too fast I’ll get there early and have to sit around until he arrives. Dr. Pain is okay with hiking slower so we have relaxed the pace. Also I’m hoping for the Slo-Bos to catch up with us as I believe they are about a half day behind us.
Turns Out this Log Wasn’t Even on the PCT but it Still Made for a good Photo Op
We hiked out of Buckhorn Campground on the Buckhart Trail which reconnected with the PCT 1.5 miles later. We hiked another mile on the PCT to Cooper Canyon Camp, one of many established backcountry campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest. The mile hike to the camp was a grueling uphill slog and I was glad when we arrived. We took a break at the Camp, and joined fellow hikers Sea Biscuit, Sizzle and Dan who had camped there last night. It was fun to run into them again and we leapfrogged them the rest of the day.
Getting Water at Camp Glenwood
From there we hiked a few more miles to Camp Glenwood, a small private camp but it had a water spigot so a crowd of PCT hikers were congregated nearby to fill up on water. On the way we passed the 400 mile mark (400 miles!! Woo!!)
400 Miles on the PCT!! Woop woop!
After that it was just a couple of miles to Three Points Junction which intersects with Highway 2. Dr Pain had heard that you can hitch to a restaurant down the road from Three Points so we decided to check it out. Sea Biscuit, Sizzle and Dan were also lured by the prospect of a hot meal and joined us.
Sea Biscuit and Sizzle Hitch Dancing
I’m a slightly slower hiker, so when I arrived at the junction I found Sea Biscuit and Sizzle dancing on the side of the road with their thumbs out. I laughed as they looked like they were having fun. No cars went by. This road doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
“Move over boys, this is a job for a girl,” I said. I put down my pack and took off my long-sleeved shirt (I had a tank top on underneath) and stuck out my thumb. A truck appeared out of nowhere and instantly pulled over, agreeing to take all 6 of us.
“And that’s how it’s done,” I grinned, getting into the front passenger seat while the boys all climbed into the extended cab or into the truck bed. The driver was a polite young man from L.A. who was going for a drive in the mountains to visit his girlfriend. He’d heard about the PCT and was happy to drive us the 2 miles to Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant. I’m sure he would have pulled over no matter who had stuck their thumb out but I still couldn’t resist rubbing it in.
Eating Lunch at Newcomb’s. From Left to Right: Sizzle, Dan, Dr Pain, Sea Biscuit
The parking lot in Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant was filled with motorcycles. Bikers lined the front porch in black leather riding outfits smoking cigars as we walked up. They nodded a friendly hello to us and asked us the usual questions about how far we were hiking. They seemed impressed that we’d hiked 400 miles to get there.
Sea Biscuit Playing Piano at Newcomb’s
The staff were very friendly to us. I ordered a giant burger and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hadn’t had a cell signal in a couple of days but the bar had wifi so it was nice to get online briefly and check in with loved ones.As we paid up our tabs, the proprietress clucked disapprovingly at a young woman getting onto the back of a motorcycle in leather shorts.
“These roads are very unforgiving,” she said. She had been in an accident before and since then always wore full length leather clothing to protect her arms and legs. “I tried to warn her but she wouldn’t listen to me,” she said, shaking her head.
We were back on the side of the road with burgers in our bellies and our thumbs out shortly after 4:00 pm. A local who drove by to pick up his mail offered to take us to the trailhead in his truck. The hike to Sulphur Springs Trail Camp went quickly – the trail was easy and we were energized by a good meal.
Beware of Poodle Dog Bush
The camp was another established Forest Service Back Country Camp with fire rings and pit toilets and picnic tables. What luxuries! The six of us were joined by Ryan, another hiker who we’d been leapfrogging today.
Dr Pain’s Pack Shakedown
The entertainment for the evening was provided courtesy of Dr. Pain, who asked for a pack shakedown. This afternoon as we were hefting our bags into the truck, we noticed that his bag was heavier than everyone else’s. He’s already sent a lot of things home but was looking to lighten up even more as he’s been experiencing foot pain lately. He spread all his belongings on his groundsheet and we went through each item one by one, challenging whether or not he really needed it. He ended up with quite a big pile of “nice to have” items that he’s now considering whether or not to ditch in the next town or shipping to a point ahead on the trail.
Chillin by the Campfire
Ryan built a fire in the fire ring and we spent a pleasant evening eating dinner at a picnic table and watching the flames. I borrowed some thread from Dr. Pain and took in the waistband of my skirt as it keeps falling off my hips as I hike and the safety pins I was using were digging into my skin under my hipbelt. I also sewed my PCT Wrightwood Hiker patch into backpack. Woo! PCT pride!