Nobody likes getting stuck in town. Getting stuck usually means being laid over until some needed service or body part agrees to start working for you again. It can get expensive! Getting stuck in town often means needing to spring for a few nights in a motel or campground, eating at restaurants and, worst of all, many buddies that have been hiking along will go right by if they don’t need to stop where you do.
A good way to get stuck in town is by arriving after the post office closes for the weekend. Extra big bummer if it’s a holiday weekend. Many of us mail supply packages to ourselves and rely on these mail drops to get us along the trail.
The challenge I faced yesterday (Thursday) afternoon was this: get to Wrightwood before the post office closes, Friday 5 p.m. from Silverwood Lake (where I spent two hours lounging in the grass with Billy Goat and Captain America). The common access points to Wrightwood are as follows:
Acorn Canyon Trail: A horribly steep descent from high in the San Gabriels, whose trailhead lies 26 miles from the lake.
Angeles Crest Highway: 32 miles from Silverwood Lake, plus time to hitch a ride.
I was in trouble. Unless I could become Super Hiker and walk either of those distances and still get to town before the post office closed at 5 the next day, I was looking at an unplanned weekend in Wrightwood. Fortunately, Billy Goat and Virgil informed me of a lesser-used access point a mere 19 miles away. The PCT crosses a dirt canyon road here, which leads 1/2 mile to a paved road, which goes into Wrightwood.
SAVED! If I hiked until dark, I reasoned, I could cut down the distance and be in position to arrive in Wrightwood by Friday noon and still make it for breakfast at the McDonald’s at the I-15 crossing. Thus, last night I walked an extra eight miles, making 30 miles for the day and leaving 11 more miles to make this morning. I arrived in Wrightwood today at noon, plenty of time to spare and with McDonald’s coffee, McMuffin, hash brown, fruit parfait, and cinnamon drops (nasty) in my belly.
The last hundred miles have been eventful and the terrain fairly easy. Highlights: natural hot springs in Deep Creek, a lake with lush grass and shade, and a new pair of shorts. Scenery can’t be beat! More to come.