Days 19 to 23 (Miles 333.5 to 412)

We are in a 110 mile stretch between resupply points (civilization). Our external battery died, so we’re relying on solar to keep the phones charged. Today was very sunny, so here are some updates since my last post.

Mile 341: Saw our second rattlesnake of the trip!

Mile 342: Reached the infamous Cajon Junction McDonald’s where hikers eat ridiculous amounts of food. We partook in the tradition. From there, Rob’s grandma picked us up and took us to Apple Valley. We bought a new fuel canister and food for about six days. Rob was hungry again within a few hours, so we went to Baskin Robbins, then Sizzler. (Thanks Shirley and Carol!)

Leaving Cajon Junction.
Leaving Cajon Junction.
Crossing under the railroad.
Crossing under the railroad.

Mile 347: Saw our third rattlesnake, but it was dead, skinned, and about to become second breakfast for a family of hikers. The little girl told us it was a mean snake that chased them down the trail.

Uphill all day... into the mountains.
Uphill all day… into the mountains.

Mile 356: Trail magic! It had been a rough day up to this point: all uphill, carrying six days worth of food and nearly two days worth of water. A guy from Wrightwood who likes to help hikers was parked where the PCT meets Forest Road 3N31. He set up some camp chairs and gave us each a beer and some snacks! We were lucky- he said it was his last day out there before going on vacation.

Mile 357.8: Camped near Gobblers Knob. I threw my pack down in a hurry and punctured my 2-liter Platypus water bag! Lost about a half liter before I figured out why everything was wet.

Desert sunrise.
Desert sunrise.

Mile 373: Reached the water spigot at Grassy Hollow Visitor Center. Water tasted terrible even after filtering.

Mile 374: Took the Manzanita Trail detour around Mt Baden-Powell. We learned from locals and other hikers that there is still too much dangerous ice up on the trail. The Manzanita Trail leads directly to another detour to get around the Endangered Species PCT closure. The trail is closed to protect the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog. The new route goes through Devil’s Punchbowl- an area I’ve been wanting to visit anyway.

Mile 380: Did not like the Devil’s Punchbowl. The trail is steep, not the gentle PCT grade we’ve become accustomed to. The wind tried to blow us away. And when we took a break, I sat in ants. They started biting after getting under my clothes, at which point they were difficult to brush off.

Mile 381: Took the side trail to Devil’s Chair (overlooking the Punchbowl). I changed my mind; it’s actually a pretty cool place.

Devil's Punchbowl
Devil’s Punchbowl
Snow plant! This is a parasitic plant, living off of the roots of trees.

Mile 389: Another rattlesnake! This one was a baby, coiled up in the middle of the trail.

Mile 394: We rejoined the PCT. It took 20 miles to bypass 19 miles of PCT.

Mile 401.1: Crossed Highway 2 for the second or third time today. We were taking a break at some picnic tables when a car pulled up to drop off two hikers. They asked if we needed anything and ended up giving us apple sauce, trail mix and two packages of ramen! We hiked with them for about 4 miles.

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Mile 411: After 17 miles, we started looking for a campsite. We were in a burn area and there was poodle dog bush everywhere. We walked a few miles further than we wanted to, but ended up with a beautiful site overlooking the desert. Poodle dog bush is the worst.

Poodle dog bush. Worse than poison oak. Also, smells bad.
Poodle dog bush. Worse than poison oak. Also, smells bad.

14 thoughts on “Days 19 to 23 (Miles 333.5 to 412)”

  1. Wow bummer about the battery, can it be charged with your panel? Those rattlers are starting to look tasty and I’am not even backpacking! Stay warm and dry! Thanks for the details and the great pics. Enjoy your journey!

    1. Thanks! 🙂 And nope- the battery doesn’t want to charge no matter what it’s plugged into. It’s okay though- we will be getting a replacement in Agua Dulce!

        1. It’s the 5W Suntactics, only 8 oz. I’ve found it works okay strapped to the top of the pack, but it’s way faster to just pull it out for a 15 minute break and get a good 10% charge with a perpendicular setup. There is a link on the Gear page.

          1. Anker solar makes a 15 W dual port USB solar panel that delivers 2.1 A on one of the ports the other I’am not sure doesn’t say on the site but it only weighs 12 ounces it would only be a 7 ounce compromise and would charge your devices a lot faster

          2. Wow you did some research! Anker was one I just had learned about and didn’t see that comparison that’s pretty awesome Suntactics sounds like it’s a lot better I’ll have to look into those

  2. I feel so fortunate to be able to follow along on your adventure. I sit here at my dreary desk looking out the window, wondering where you are right now, and what amazing views/things you are seeing. I’ve done some backpacking through the Sierra Crest the last few years and look forward to tagging along virtually while you pass through. Wishing only the best and safest journey for you!

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