Thursday, May 25, 2017

Warner Springs to Idyllwild


  • Heavy dew--tent and sleeping quilt got wet  

  • Resupply box perfect.  Thanks Becky!
  • Started hiking 9:20 am.  It got HOT!
  • Hiked from 109.5 to 122.2--about 13 miles
  • Long, hot uphill pull from Agua Caliente.  Relentless uphill.  Must have gained at least 2500 vertical
  • The plan for Thursday and Friday--get to mile 136-140.  Then on Saturday get to mile 197 and to Paradise Valley Cafe for their Jose burger.  Then on Sunday get to mile 170-175 so that it will be quick getting to Idyllwild on Monday.  
  • Lester from Poland (age 58) and I have formed a friendship.  We're camping together tonight.  On a ridge top, but completely surrounded by bushes.  Cool and shady
Day 8 5/19

  • Lester and I were moving on the trail by 5:30 am
  • 5 mile hike to Mike Herras for water and breakfast stop
  • 10 mile hike to Tule Spring--a mudhole.  We are at PCT mile 137.  Plan is to wait for it to cool off then hike another 1-3 miles. That would leave 12-14 miles to Paradise Valley Cafe.  We are less than 50 miles to Idyllwild
I am blessed to have several families.  Some of you belong to more than one group. 

  • To my family:  Becky, Garrett, and Leanna.  Thanks much for your encouragement when the tendon in my foot had the upper hand.  Garrett, your first-hand knowledge and insights have been invaluable.  Becky, you are supporting me in many ways--blogging, shipping resupply boxes.  I love you more than I can say.  I am proud of you. 
  • To Close Friends: You know who you are.  You are not friends, you are family.  You encourage me in ways you can't imagine.  
  • To Garrett and Harold:  You are welcome to hike ANY section with me
  • To my GracePoint church family: 
    • Elders: thanks for the sendoff.  I'm praying for you every Monday for sure. 
    • Congregation: While on the trail, there are many things I can't do.  But I can pray.  Send your prayer requests to Becky
    • I do not know the words, and my singing is awful, but "Holy, Holy, Holy" is my theme song while hiking.  I just make up words that come from my heart. 

  • To my NRCS family: 
    • Thanks for helping me have a wonderful 40 year career. 
    • It's not about the conservation at all.  It's about the people we work with and the people we serve--inside NRCS and ranchers and farmers, CDs, and partnering agencies
    • I am proud to have worked Sage Grouse Initiative alongside Pheasants Forever staff, NRCS staff, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. 
  • To my SRM Family: 
    • I will miss the Pacific NorthWest summer tour and meeting as it looks like I will still be on the trail
    • To the organizing committee for the Moses Lake meeting: you have a great meeting coming up.  Sorry for not engaging, but my mind was elsewhere. 
  • To My Extended Family: 
  • Brothers JR and Keith  Sisters-n-law: Carmen and Charlotte, Nephew: Zach, Nieces: Lucinda (I hope your wedding is everything you hope for), Miranda, and Tatum:  I'm living my dream.  Live yours.

  • How's my body doing? 
    • Left foot peroneus brevus tendon (trip was cancelled because of the tendon on 4/6.  Trip a go on 4/21)---not one whimper.  Thanks Jennifer
    • Left quadriceps tendon--reattached in 2014--doing well
    • I started not in condition I wanted because of tendon in left foot. 
    • I don't have my uphill gear in condition too
    • But I am making the miles and doing it again the next day
    • I hope to be in better shape two weeks from now.  Faster and better uphill gear.
    • Feet seem to be getting better.  The old shoes I started with only need to put in about 30 more miles.  Shoes will be changed in Idyllwild. 
Day 9 5/20

Hiking partner:
  • Lester from Poland, Age 58. Has lived in Connecticut the last few years. 
  • He was sick today.  I carried a lot of extra water for him
  • His English Accent is thick enough that communication is difficult at times.
  • You give up some freedom to do it the way you want to, but you gain a companion and perhaps make a lifelong friend. 
How much does my pack weigh? 
Depends on how much water and food I am carrying
  • Base weight without food or water 13-15 lbs--Stable weight doesn't vary much
  • Food weight--2 lbs/day.  With a six-day stretch, that adds 12 lbs the first day
    • Food weight drops 2 lbs every day
  • Water weight: Fluctuates throughout each day.  @ 5 qts = 10 lbs.
  • Can be <20 lbs on last day and as much as 37-40 lbs at max
The Jose Burger at the Paradise Valley Cafe was great as were the the fries, salad, beer, and 5 glasses of ice water.

Getting back on the trail around 4 pm.  Should be in Idyllwild on Monday. 

  • Wet camps:  camps with water---at Lake Morena and Warner Springs
  • Dry camp:  no water.  This is what I've done the most and expect that to continue.  You need an extra liter of water for cooking at a dry camp
  • Cowboy camping: No tent or tarp.  Just lay out ground cloth, pad, and sleeping bag.  I've cowboy camped 4 nights so far.  Easier to set up and makes for a quick start in the morning. 

  • mid 70s--low 80s.  It seems hot from 9 am to 5 pm. When it really gets hot (90+) we will need to adjust our hiking schedule
    • Start from 4 to 4:30 am.  Hole up from noon to 4:30 pm.  Hike again from 4:30-7:00 pm
    • I'm having Becky switch me to cookless breakfasts until the Sierras.  Gotta use the cool part of the day for hiking, not cooking, or we can have a cooked breakfast at noon (readjust the meals--cookless lunch in the morning, cooked breakfast at noon, cooked dinner around 4 pm, granola bag for later.) More than one way to skin a cat
    • Hike in the cool, shade up in the heat
    • Distance between water holes will dictate a lot. 

Hikers carry their fears
    • This analogy was made by a PCT hiker last year.  It is spot on
    • Fearful of going hungry--you carry extra food 
    • Fearful of going thirsty--you carry extra water
    • Fearful of getting cold--you carry extra clothing
  • As you age, you are more prone to dehydration
  • By not drinking right at times, I get night cramps.  Ask Becky about my blood curdling scream at 3:00 am
  • So I've been carrying too much water
  • I'm trying to manage water better 
    • Camel up* at water holes, drink to stay hydrated
    • Reach the next water hole with 1/2 liter or less.  That's the goal.

Partnerships Formed, Partnerships Dissolved
  • On the PCT, the only permanent partnerships may be married couples
  • Last year a couple of sisters stayed together the whole way
  • I see several groups that formed on the day they started from the border.  Common starting date forms the bond.  Some are in and out more than once. 
  • Lester was sick today--stomach hurt/was upset
  • He seemed to rally at Paradise Valley Cafe--3 beers, burger, fries, salad
  • We left for PCT at 4 pm (Lester's suggestion).  We had gone only part way when he said he was still having stomach problems and that he was going to hitch to Idyllwild and skip this section. 
Mountain Fire Closure Predicament (mile 152)
  • Mountain Fire Area outside Idyllwild has been closed now for at least five years 
  • From Hwy 74 near Paradise Valley Cafe, the reroute has hikers:
    • climbing back up pretty high, then at mile 166, taking the reroute back down and into Idyllwild
  • The reroute makes no sense--no common sense--a lot of work climbing only to descend into Idyllwild and the climb to PCT at mile 179
    • Common sense says to skip it and resume at Idyllwild
    • It's only 27 miles
  • The reroute makes sense in one context--maintaining a line of continuous steps, unbroken from Mexico to Canada
  • A thru-hike means you hiked through, around, over, under, and skipped nothing. 
  • So I am doing the illogical to maintain the integrity of my thru-hike
  • If you skip once or leave your steps broken even for 20 feet, then it is easier to justify the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time
  • Last year Garrett maintained continuous steps
  • Today when I hit the highway,  I walked across and high-5ed the PCT sign. When I returned, I high-5ed the same sign again, thus assuring continuous steps
    • Note: a couple from New Zealand said, "We came to hike the PCT.  We're going straight thru." 
  • Can't wait to get to Idyllwild--shower, laundry, especially my lower legs are filthy-nasty. 

A New Addition
  • We have a new addition at home--10 year old Belgian Malinois/Lab mix named Abby.  I don't want a dog, but if this makes Becky feel safer, I'm all for it. 
Counting going to and from Paradise Valley, this was a 17-18 mile day

Sun 5/21, Day 10
  • Yesterday afternoon, I hiked 4 miles up from Hwy 74 to a shady campsite.  Very nice
  • This morning was an uphill grind
  • Uphill from campsite to Live Oak Junction
  • without pack: 1 mile downhill to spring for water, 1 mile uphill to PCT
  • Next 8 miles to trail closure--lots of uphill
  • I'm tired and it's not even 1 pm
  • Met Heather at junction to Live Oak Springs
  • We're shading up for a while at Fobes Ranch Trail junction, then will head out together 
  • Won't make it to Idyllwild until tomorrow
  • Heather and I hiked Fobes Ranch Trail until hitting water
  • Got some water, Heather stayed in the only patch of shade
  • I have everything I need, shade, water, snacks
  • Heather thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail last year and hopes to do the Continental Divide Trail next year to complete the Triple Crown
  • Reading the Proverbs by King Solomon
    • Wisdom starts with trust and reverence in the Lord
    • Proverbs 2:20 Follow the steps of the godly and stay on the right path
    • Many parallels to my PCT hike. 
  • At 5 pm, I completed the hike of the Fobes Ranch Trail Road and got on Highway 74 to walk toward Idyllwild
  • A couple of nice folks stopped to see if I wanted a ride, "Yes, but if I am to maintain continuous steps, I've got to walk to Idyllwild."
  • Hiked until sun went down and bivvied next to highway--cowboy camped
Mon 5/22
  • It froze last night, dew on sleeping quilt
  • Continued my highway walk at 4:45 am
  • A young guy stopped offering a ride.  Before he left, he gave me an avocado.  It was eaten on the spot
  • At Mountain Center (junction Hwys 74 and 243) I stopped for a Gatorade and Power bar
  • The walk on 243 was dicey--no shoulder and lots of traffic
  • At Idyllwild, I stopped at Town Baker--omelet, fruit, and orange juice.  Then I had half a huge sticky bun and a brownie they gave me
  • Laundry was great.  They gave me clothes to wear so I could wash was I had on
  • Five minute shower at San Jacinto State Park
  • Clean clothes, clean Kevin, I felt like a million bucks
  • Yesterday's 10 mile PCT hike from camp to Fobes Junction was the most difficult yet.  Lots of uphill.  Trail tread was very marginal, loose rocks, boulders, etc
  • Garrett says PCT grade is not all that bad.  He's correct
  • But it's not all PCT grade.  Some short stretches are steep and slow going
*Hiker Vocabulary:  Camel Up--drinking as much water as you can hold to get you through the next bit of hiking. 


  1. Things I noticed:
    1. Dad's first hiking partner is from a country I never met anyone from. I met a lot of people from other countries, but never Poland. Poland has a very rich mountaineering history by the way.

    2. I've seen several different types of partnerships last the entire trail: married couples, friends, siblings, family members, or people who met on the trail. I didn't have it in me to hike long term with anyone else. We will see if Dad does.

    3. Common start date seems to help form partnerships early, but later on that goes out the window.

    4. People who go for continuous steps are stubborn. More reasonable people hitch rides around fire closures. Guinns are stubborn and not all that reasonable so we go for continuous steps.

    5. Giving a sign a high five is a method to tie in for those serious about continuous steps. This makes sure that you didn't skip even a single step.

    6. Hiking through trail closures I believe is reasonable. The trail is closed because someone hasn't signed off on the paperwork saying that it is safe. To maintain continuous steps, Dad hiked a narrow, winding highway without a shoulder. What's safer? I agree with the New Zealand couple.

    7. Idyllwild is one of the best trail towns. I only highway hiked for a mile as I chose a different alternate route than Dad and I still had people stop and offer a ride.

    8. I found that fat was the most important thing I needed on the trail. I both craved it and noticed my performance suffered when I didn't get enough. Avocados are the best (healthiest) source of fat I know of. That's GREAT trail magic.

    9. PCT grade to me means that my hiking speed is independent on whether I'm going uphill, downhill, or flat. Trail tread (rocky, sandy, smooth, etc.) had more of an impact on speed. However, the primary impact was energy level which was based on when I last ate, how much I last ate, and what I last ate. Most people once they get their trail legs seemed to agree with that. Dad doesn't have his trail legs yet.

  2. Way to go Kevin! I love reading your blog so far and your pictures are beautiful. I am so glad your foot is doing well. My prayers are with you.

  3. It's a delight to see details of your trek. Your strength and commitment give me pause! Carry on!

  4. They say 60 is the new 50, whatever. Have a great time and enjoy the experience. Best wishes, Mike K.