First off, thank you everyone for the great comments. Your positive greetings really do help me keep my attitude positive and forward thinking! I started this trip solo, but have come to realize I am in no way alone. There are so many great people back home rooting for me and good friends to hike and share this experience with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I'm currently in the small town of Agua Dulce CA, staying at Hiker Heaven (http://www.hikerheaven.com/). I really don't know what to say that can truly express how great this place is. The trail angels on this trip have been so wonderful, but the Saufleys really go above and beyond! Check out their website to see how they accommodate hikers and give us a place to call home for a couple well needed days of rest. Amazing...
This last week brought exactly the adventure I'm out here to experience. After leaving Wrightwood, we immediately began the climb of the very forbidding Mt Baden-Powell. What was supposed to be 4 miles of switchbacks turned into 2, after the rest disappeared under dense snow. We began a straight-line shot for the top, kicking steps in and moving very slowing. I have to admit, the danger of slipping and sliding down a couple thousand feet really got my adrenaline pumping and I was having a blast. It was no longer hiking, it was now mountaineering! The beautiful sunny weather was a far cry from the storms we had experienced the week before and I was finally in a good mood. I reached the summit with a group of guys we had met that morning and had lunch on the infamous Mt Baden-Powell summit. What an honor it was for me as an Eagle Scout, to be standing on top of a mountain named after the founder of The Boy Scouts of America! Awesome, to say the least!!!
After leaving Mt Baden-Powell, we began a long, slow descent that would eventually bring us back down into the desert. Once again, we worried about water, the heat, and rattlesnakes. I've been very impressed with the altitude and ruggedness of the mountains here in southern California. I guess when most people think of SoCal, they think of beaches, Hollywood, lots of women, and rappers livin large haha! I however, have seen none of these. Still, I can't get used to the drops down into deserts in between every large mountain range. The Sierras and Cascades are calling my name. And you better believe it when I say I'm on way...
I guess I've sort of failed to mention the wonderful friends that I've made on this trip. I usually hike alone, as do most people out here, but it's been great to share breaks and camps with other wonderful people. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dudes out here haha. Great guys, but just not too many women. I've spent the last few weeks hiking with Holden, a 29 year old guy from New Jersey. He through hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2005, so he's got thru-hiking in his blood. I really enjoy his company and we seem to share similar paces and daily mileage goals. Others have been hiking on and off with us for these weeks too. General Zod from Boulder, CO and Seattle Seth have been great hiking buddies too and I hope they can catch back up with us to continue north. Some of the other people I've met and spent time with include Adam and Forest (Wisconsin?), Asher and Elad (Israel), Matthaeus (Austria), Thano (Missouri?), Slapshot/Ben/Picker/Sam (East Coasters), Crazy K (Tennessee), and many others I've failed to remember. Sorry guys...Lot's of great people and I'm sure there will be many more. I'm sure Holden and I will group up with other hikers in Kennedy Meadows before taking on the Sierras. It will be very dangerous and confusing out there and the more minds you have to think together, the better.
Besides thinking about home, family, and friends, the other dominate thought in my head is food! I constantly think about food, even when I'm eating. At breakfast I think about lunch and snacks, at lunch I think about dinner, and at dinner I think about more dinner haha. It is nearly impossible to physically stomach the 4-5,000 calories we burn each day, so we try to make it up in town with many meals. I started this trip at about 146 pounds and when I weighed myself yesterday, I was down to 138! Everybody out here is losing weight and some definitely can afford to. I'm thinking about writing a miracle weight loss diet book when I return. It will have one page that says "Hike the PCT", thats it.
Well thats about all I can think to write about now, if anyone has other subjects they'd like me to touch on, please leave comments/suggestions/questions. I love all the interest I receive from people and am more than happy to talk about it. Love you guys, you keep me going. I hope you'll hear from me in another 4-5 days. Check out my two new sets of pictures, now back to relaxing.