April 18 (~07:30 – ~10:30 / ~18:00 – ~19:15)
Guffy Campground – before Vincent Gap trailhead (8.4 mi / Total: 372.8 mi)
Weather: Not too hot or cold. In the evening the air feels summery and soft.
We have a short day today. We only need to hike ten miles so we’re set up well to summit Mount Baden-Powell in the morning, before the snow begins to melt. As we’re close to the town of Wrightwood, we decide to hitch in and spend the afternoon in a coffee shop. We have two options. The highway to Wrightwood interjects the PCT twice, and we could hitch either after five miles (and hike the remaining five in the evening) or after having done all ten miles for the day. I vote for the latter option, and we agree this may be best.
We put on our microspikes and start our day. It an easy morning. Patches of snow cover the trail but it’s easily navigated, and everything is going downhill anyways. We hike through the forest until we hit the first highway crossing. After we’ve continued on the other side the trail runs parallel to the road and we get worried about a sign warning for a road closure ahead. Is the road to the Mt Baden-Powell trailhead closed? We can’t be sure. We don’t have enough signal to check so ask a parked driver if the sign is correct – it is, so we find a side trail to the road and backtrack. I don’t believe this closure will effect us, I reckon the road will be fine for the next five miles, but it doesn’t take long before we have walked back and a driver has stopped to give us a ride into town – just when Speedy manages to see the road closures on her phone and realises the closure indeed doesn’t start until much, much farther ahead.
But it’s okay. We’re in a car and we’re headed to Wrightwood. It doesn’t take long to arrive, and to like the town. Its lovely. It’s set up greatly for hikers and we find the coffee shop first, where we receive free coffee as PCT hikers. The local hardware / gear shop is also great, and they have scaled for hikers to weigh their lack, and a good section of relevant equipment. I weigh my pack – I’m curious as it’s loaded with way too much food and hugely uncomfortable. My base weight is 13 pounds (6 kg) including my poles and microspikes, and it’s 27.5 (12.5 kg) with everything else, including two bottles of water. It’s the lightest of us three, but it’s way too heavy for me, and the pack itself isn’t made for this weight either. The pack feels as uncomfortable as my old Osprey Aura did when it reached 38-40 pounds (17-18 kg) – the difference is remarkable. Clearly I have to keep this pack lightweight, or it just won’t work.
We check out the supermarket which has an amazing selection for hikers – I can’t believe I can’t buy anything cause my pack is still full of Walmart food I’ve hardly touched. I only pick up a grapefruit, raspberry ice cream and a block of cheese to substitute the low quality plastic cheese I got from Walmart. We sit at the picnic tables that are set up at a parking lot, especially for hikers, with big umbrellas and a sign that says Hiker Heaven. We certainly feel welcome. After more browsing, pizza and more coffee, it’s time to go back to trail.
We get a hitch easily again, and before we know it we are continuing through the forest, the lovely pine covered trail where we left off. It all feel easy. It’s a great evening for a walk and I feel a change in the weather. It’s as though the air is soft and warm, and spring has officially arrived.
We don’t even walk another five miles but find a cowboy camping spot less than a few miles back, just before the trail intersects the last dirt road. We plan to start on time tomorrow, and hit the mountain when the snow is still hard.