Day 25: Hills and Hail

May 9, 2017: Hiked Miles 361.8 to 383.9 (22.1 total)

Last night was for sure the coldest night on the trail. Zipping our sleeping bags together helped, but I still had to wear two pairs of socks, my base layer, my beanie, and my puffy jacket all night. We woke up a lot because it was so cold, but since we went to bed so early we still got a decent amount of sleep.  

We woke up to a gorgeous view and a bright sunny sky as we sat above the cloud layer. 

We got out of camp at 7:20, our earliest day yet. We hiked along ridges all morning and had some amazing views of the socked-in valley.

And we entered a new forest.

We even walked right through a grassy ski park. 

We wound our way down to Highway 2 where we met up with Don one last time. We were expecting to have a really long slow climb yesterday without any water so we were going to ship most of our food onto Wrightwood to pick up today. But Don offered to just drive it up to us on the trail. He also brought us apples and rice crispy bars and my favorite, coffee. We barely just met and he already knows me so well. 

We hung out with him and his dog, Buddy for a bit and sorted out our resupply. We saw a few of our friends who were trying to hitch a ride into Wrightwood, so Don ended up giving them a ride when he left. 

We kept hiking and ended up passing a couple groups of elementary school kids on a field trip. We talked to them for a bit and one of them told us he was gonna walk to Mexico this summer. Only about 400 miles to go!

Colton entertained me by whistling songs and having me guess them. I honestly never realized what a good whistler he was until now. Just look at all the important stuff we’re learning out here! We went down one mountain, crossed the highway again, and started right back up another. It’s almost starting to get comical, how the trail seems to take us the hardest possible way. Almost. 

And then we started the walk from hell. 

Four miles up. 4000 foot nonstop climb. The slushiest snow. And all after already walking 12 miles today. It was fun for about the first mile and then it hurt. And hurt some more. But we finally made it to the top of Mt. Baden-Powell and the 360 degree views made it all worth it. 

It’s named after the founder of Boy Scouts, which I think made it extra special for Colton since he’s an eagle scout. 

We stopped for lunch on top, but the dark clouds started to creep in so we ate quickly and started down. Just as we started walking, the rain started, which then turned into snow and then hail.  Everyone quickly threw on all their rain gear and tried to get off the peak. The air instantly got that first-rain smell and I was in heaven.

The rain and hail came and went for a bit, never getting too hard as we slowly started making our way down the other side of the mountain. I hate going down hills and this one was no exception. It was steep and snowy and seemed like it was never going to end. But we did still have some great views of the fog bank slowly creeping into the mountains the whole time. 

We finally made it to a spring with ice cold water which we didn’t even have to filter. Well we hope we didn’t need to filter it. Because we didn’t. It looked good. And seemed to come right from the source. Gotta take a chance sometimes.

We hiked another .2 miles and ended up in Little Jimmy Campground. 

The place was perfect, with tons of flat spots, picnic tables, an outhouse, and even a fire ring that someone had started a fire in. Most people spent the night in Wrightwood last night so they had a short hike here so it was already pretty busy when we showed up. We set up and ate dinner with a fun group off people, some old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, some new. We all got a good kick out of teaching a foreign girl how to cook instant mashed potatoes. Apparently she doesn’t read directions and has already screwed up Top Ramen so she was desperate for advice. We taught her how: boil water, add potatoes, stir, eat (hard I know) and then laughed even more as she proceeded to add a whole avocado to her potatoes. We had fun talking about the difference in cultures with her and a girl from the UK. They tried to explain to us some really good digestive biscuits they have back home that they were excited to find here. We never could figure out if they were some kind of laxative or just fiber bars. They talked about all the funny things we do here in the states, like serve ridiculously large portion sizes. ‘Merica.

After dinner we sat around the campfire for a bit until it was even too cold for that. 

Into the tent we go for another cold night.

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