Thursday, June 8, 2017

Big Bear City to Wrightwood

Mon. 5/29 (day 18)
5:45 am

  • Waiting for my 7 am ride back to the PCT
  • Yesterday was a zero here in Big Bear City
  • My goals while here were simple
    • Rest and stay off my feet and legs
    • Spend some time in Worship
  • The only bummer is that Big Bear City did not have a Christian Church
  • Right foot was considerably swollen.  Ibuprofen and elevation while in bed last night helped.  Still a little swollen but much better
  • Leaving here with new shorts (other pair is in the trash--that was the plan) and a new nylon, long-sleeved shirt to protect my arms from the desert sun.  Thanks, Becky!!
  • From Saturday afternoon to last night, I had an on-going phone conversation with Becky.  It was good to reconnect. 
  • Jim Lyon, 80 year-old local, gave me a ride to the PCT. Delightful man, young at heart. He also helps with the water cache at mile 275. 
  • Hikers I saw/talked to: 
    • Lani, Kim, Charlie, etc.
    • Morgan, John
    • Morgan, Curtis, Zach

  • I am in the burn area--dry camp, cowboy camp--completely surrounded by poodle dog bush which is much like poison ivy, poison oak, etc.  I don't think I've touched any.  We'll see.  (Becky's aside--he's been in poison ivy and never broken out, but I handle his clothes, and I have to take steroids to get over the rash)
  • In the afternoon, two things of note: 
    • Hanging from a string--a Cliff bar with a note attached  "John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." 
    • Two rattlesnakes within 1/4 mile of PCT Trail. 

  • Today, I hiked from 266->288=22 miles. 
Tues May 30 (Day 19)
  • Met two hikers of note: 
    • Rebecca--gal from Great Britain.  She is not making many miles in a day.  But I am respecting the fact that she is "hiking her hike," doing what she can. 
    • Brad--also from Great Britain.  Started April 19 and has come just over 300 miles.  I'm really glad he's here trying to make a go of it. 
  • I'm shading up at Willow Creek, about to pack up and head for Deep Creek Hot Springs. 
  • Passed 300 mile mark today!
  • Hiked to 308=20 miles
  • At Deep Creek Hot Springs, an older hiker from Portland was here, then left.  
  • Captain Planet and Flask were here, then left
  • Lani, Kim, Charlie, Aaron are camping nearby. 

June 1 (Day 22) 6:15 pm
  • Yesterday and today were days I'd like to forget
  • Camped the night before at Deep Creek Hot Springs with a lot of other thru-hikers.  Not much sleep as the younger hikers were up late talking and having fun.
  • Broke camp at 5:05 am. Very quickly I became dizzy and short of breath.  Any uphill was a struggle.  Stopped 45 minutes up the trail at a water source--shallow pools--for breakfast.
  • Left hot spot doing okay, but the dizziness and short of breath came back.  
  • So I stopped at far end of Rainbow Bridge.  Not long afterward, Captain Planet and Flask showed up.  They planned a short day because of pain in Captain Planet's foot.  We discussed my situation.  I drank 16 oz of Skratch (like Gatorade with much less sugar)
  • We headed for Mojave River and I was determined to stay with them.  I had a brief dizzy spell there, but I was able to cross while balancing on a downed tree. 
  • At Hwy 173, I still felt like continuing.  Just as the trail switched back to an uphill (300-400 feet), we stopped in a boulder field and discussed options.  Flask even called a few Trail Angels from Big Bear area.  I started uphill, but I was dizzy within ten steps. 
  • Captain Planet dropped her pack and walked with me to junction of Hwy 173 and Arrowhead Lake Rd. It took a little while but we got a car to stop and talk.  When Captain Planet said that I needed to get to a hospital, the man whipped onto the gravel shoulder.  Nick, Elena, and kids got out.  Nick called his other (Evelyn) who took me to Hesperia Urgent Care. 
  • At urgent care vitals were taken, tests done.  I was sent to hospital emergency room for an IV--low blood pressure due to dehydration.  
  • Now I am ravenous, so Evelyn and I went to a New Mexican restaurant for lunch. 
  • At the emergency room at Desert Valley Hospital, vitals were taken, tests were done pretty quickly.  Then there was a LONG wait.  Finally my name was called--they had a bed for me in the ER, and an IV was started by my nurse, Bryant
  • I asked for a shower as I was filthy dirty (I am not exaggerating).  Middle of the night, Bryant brought warm water and towels for a sponge bath.  This helped but I wanted and needed a shower and I needed to eat.  Sandwich devoured. Still hungry, "Bryant, you don't understand, I need to eat." He brought an armload of food. 
  • The ER was full, busy, noisy.  I was told to get some sleep.  I got a few winks.  When the person next to me was taken home, they brought in a crazy, drunk woman.  She was loud, belligerent, and disrupting the entire ER. 
  • Next morning at the same time, two women came for me--one bringing breakfast, one to take me upstairs.  I could have sung the "Hallelujah Chorus."
  • Upstairs in room 251-b it was quiet, a little piece of heaven compared to ER chaos. 
  • I asked for a shower but with a heart monitor that was not an option
  • Two tests were done
    • Ultrasound of heart--echo-cardiogram
    • CT angiogram to check for blockages in arteries.  This was an experience
  • Roommate in 251--Stan with heart issues.  Had a couple of great talks with Stan about God.  He's a Christian too.  Please pray for Stan's son Mike, who has walked away from God--first wife died of cancer, his son died in a lake
  • After tests were done, I had to wait the rest of the day for the results
  • Many texts and calls with Becky, Garrett, and Leanna throughout the day
  • Also texted with Evelyn.  She kept checking on me
  • About 7:00 pm, the nurse came in with discharge papers.  The diagnosis--eat more, drink more. Evelyn picked me up, took me home, fed me, did my laundry, gave me towels for a SHOWER.  A piece of heaven, all of it. 
  • I have now had three wonderful trail angels.  God is looking out for me. 
  • Evelyn even went to the store and picked up Fritos, peanuts, Emergen-C, granola, Gatorade, and other things for me prior to picking me up
  • We talked to Becky (Kevin's phone only works on speaker) 

Friday, June 2 (Day 22)

Evelyn had me back on the trail at 7:00 am.  It is now 2:00 pm and I'm at Cleghorn Picnic Area (PCT mile 328.7).  So I've done about 15 miles today already.  I hope to put in another 5-7 miles.  Trail Angels Mary and Billy Ray gave me a cold soda to drink.  They are trying to do something for veterans (a great cause) and be PCT trail angels, but it looks like they have few resources.  They call themselves White Pearl. 

After losing most of Wednesday and all of Thursday, it was good to be back on the trail.  I was quite antsy about being off trail.  The hospital gave me 3+ IVs which helped me get hydrated.  Garrett and I talked about the situation and came to the conclusion it was more "Hiker Hunger" than dehydration.  I've got to get more calories.  Evelyn helped--pistachios covered with dark chocolate--amazingly delicious.

Started at PCT mile 314.3 (Hwy 173) and ended at approximately 222.5 for 19.2 miles, 8.5 miles to Cajon Pass and about 36 miles to Wrightwood.  Easy hiking to Cajon Pass but >5000 feet of climb between Cajon Pass and Wrightwood with NO water sources

Saturday June 3 (Day 23)

Left camp just before 5:00 am--I love hiking early, it is cool and I have sunrise all to myself.  Hiked the 8 1/2 miles to Cajon Pass.  Last 24 hours I hiked 28 miles.  Ate breakfast at McDonalds--breakfast is the only meal where actual food is served there.

I am currently shading up, drinking up, and resting at Best Western.  They are very accommodating to hikers at the Best Western.  I don't know why--we're filthy, dirty, stinky, and contributing absolutely nothing to society. 

The plan is to hole up at Cajon Pass, eat lunch at Taco del Mar, buy a Subway for dinner so water is not used for cooking, leave about 4:00 pm and hike till almost dark, then get up early and hike until it gets hot the next day.  Hopefully one more evening hike will put me close to Wrightwood.  Hopefully in Wrightwood Monday morning.  I plan to leave with six liters of water and camel up* before leaving. 

I hit the hot tub and pool at Best Western--almost a religious experience.  Had a good time at Best Western talking with thru-hikers:
  • Beagle and Moo--middle aged women
  • Kaylyn and Kristen--Canadian girls
  • Craig and T-bone
  • One eleven and W
  • Brad from England

Kaylyn wanted a picture of the two of us with her phone.  I had one taken with my camera

Anxious and excited about the trail to Wrightwood--27 miles with no water sources
Ate half a Subway and chips, packed the other half for tonight at camp
Left at 5:21 pm, hiked until almost dark (8:30 pm) to approximately mile 348
Around 10:00 pm three groups of night hikers went by 

Sunday June 4 (Day 24)

Left camp at 4:57 am.  Passed a couple of camps of night hikers still sleeping.  I am shaded up at mile 360-361--darned windy, but nice otherwise.  Would like to hike another 4-6 miles this evening and last 2-5 miles tomorrow morning. Hiked to Guffy Campground (PCT mile 363), lots of uphill hiking today.  At Guffy Campground I asked a camper about water.  He said none that he knew of, but he brought me two sodas--wet and cold. 
His name was James Dansby--also a Christian.  We talked quite awhile--his story and mine.  I was beginning to think that I needed to cook dinner and eat when Kaylyn, Kristen, and One Eleven came.  We checked water--spring is no longer flowing. When Kaylyn and Kristen left, we hugged.  I think the fondness goes both ways. 

Wind howling, so I cooked and ate in the outhouse--no fooling
Moved pack to leeward side of mountain.  Wind not so fierce here. 
Tomorrow 5 mile hike and then a hitch to Wrightwood

I have taken the trail name Wayfarer.  Given to me by Captain Planet and Flask.  Wayfarer is related to my quest for continuous steps.  After all Flask and Captain Planet did for me, it's the least I can do.  I still introduce myself as "Kevin," then I say my trail name is "Wayfarer" 

It seems that the "incident" and hospital stay took its toll--I do not seem as strong a hiker as I had been before. 

Monday 6/5 

I am in Wrightwood, wonderful breakfast at Evergreen Cafe

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and encouraging thoughts.  It helped during the last 27 miles of trail--no water source and more than 5000 feet of elevation gain!  I love you all, y'all!


  1. Sharon and my prayers and thoughts are with you Kevin and we pass a special hug to Beck praying she doesn't become a basket case with your great endeavour.

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  3. My thoughts on this post:

    1. In the last post, Dad talked about pushing himself to get to Big Bear before the post office closed on Saturday. He then took Sunday off, and got back on the trail Monday morning. Pushing himself to get the package only saved him about 2 hours in the morning, so it probably wasn't worth it.

    2. Dad doesn't react to poison ivy as Mom pointed out. He probably won't react to poison oak either as they are in the same family. I think I'm like Dad in that regard. However, Poodle Dog Bush is a completely different animal. Reactions are similar to poison oak, but treatment is totally different and if you don't react to poison oak, that means nothing for how you will react to Poodle Dog Bush. Fortunately, it's very distinctive.

    3. Dad admitted to some criminal activity in this post.

    4. Captain Planet and Flask really went out of their way to help Dad. I recently read a blog post by another hiker who was probably having altitude sickness before falling into a stream getting soaked and as a result hypothermic. Several other hikers had opportunities to help him and didn't in very standoffish ways. I really appreciate what Captain Planet and Flask did for Dad.

    5. Evelyn and her family provided Dad with another amazing trail angel experience. They not only took him to the urgent care, but also into their home. Once again, I really appreciate all they did for him.

    6. Dad's time off the trail waiting for test results was scary for me. Knowing how much Dad wants to be on the trail and spending all that time not knowing if he could get back scared me bad. I think I can imagine what Dad went through. If I was in that situation, I might have had a heart attack waiting for the results.

    7. Dad likes to hike in the morning before breakfast. He told me he hasn't been eating anything until 7:30 AM. Working out in the morning prior to breakfast is a good weight loss strategy as it increases your metabolism for the day. Thru hikers don't need metabolism increases, so all he probably did was run his glycogen stores too low. He did it enough times that his body finally started to shut down. I'm not an expert, but I have studied this a bit so that I can maximize my workouts.

    8. Dad mentioned before he started the trail that he didn't think he would connect with people very well because of his age. Between the two of us, I have the moodier and less friendly personality so I knew he wouldn't have any trouble. Sure enough, he at least seems to get the names of more thru hikers than I did (he might have already beat me for the entire PCT), made connections with other hikers at least as deep as I did by this point, and had three trail angel experiences that meet or exceed the very best I ever had.

    9. I've kept track of Dad's daily mileage to see how he compares to other PCT hikers. Even with the ER trip and his lower miles since then, he is still hiking in the average to a little above average range.

  4. Kevin,
    I keep praying for you every day, glad you are back on the trail, and feeling better. Keep eating and drinking and get some sleep!!

  5. So enjoying your journey, and praying for you. If you meet up with a couple named Mark & Kristen, I'm following them too. She is from Michigan and I work at the church she grew up at. I pray you grow in strength to continue. You inspire me!!

  6. Remember what we talked, no competitions and one step at the time! Really happy for you! I know you'll be successful!