A long climb

Small camp site after 4th gate
4/1/18
Miles – 23.98 (94.41)
Total miles – 52.77
Leaving camp it is a very easy walk to Scissors Crossing. We traversed along the mountainside and then had a long straight section across the desert floor. Before we started this trip we had stashed 4 gallons of water at the far side of the crossing. When we got to the 1st road there was a water stash, some basic supplies, and, since it is Easter, someone had put 4 pies from Julian. We each had a slice. We filled up on water then walked on to the bridge. Under it was a very large water stash and someone was cooking breakfast for the hikers. Two water stashes and we still have not gotten to ours. We decided to not touch ours and, once we had finished the hike, we would drive back and move it under the bridge.
We stared up San Felipe Ridge. This is a very long exposed climb with no natural water. Although, about 12 miles up the ridge is a water cache. The weather was perfect to hike this desert trail, cloudy, cool, and not too windy. It is not unheard of having temperatures in the triple digits. We moved along well, but the hiking is very boring.  You spend a lot of time waking in and out of gullies and small valleys. We did come across a rattlesnake. Bling was passing it when they both saw each other and jumped back. He waited for us to catch up and we all passed it. It was big and brown. In the later afternoon we got to the 3ed gate, the water cache. There were hundreds of gallons of water stacked in boxes. After filling our water bottles we decided to hike a few more miles to 4th gate and stop for the night. When we arrived at the 4th gate there was no place to camp, so we pushed on to the next flat area.  This was a somewhat exposed shoulder.  Right now it is very windy up here and we have only a little protection.  I hope the wind lets up so we can sleep.

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First Day

A small saddle
3/31/18
Mile – 22.89 (70.43)
Total miles – 28.79
Today we started to have hiking aches and pains. The hips hurt, the shoulders hurt, the feet hurt, the back hurt. Some high clouds rolled in last night and that soften the sun as we hiked. They thicken a bit this evening. That will make tomorrow cooler, when we drop down into the desert.
For many years we have used Z-Lit Sleeping Pad.  Last night Mama Raven tried an inflatable sleeping pad for the first time and had problems. It’s surface is nylon and she slides around a bit. Also her pad slide around the tent making it hard to stay close to her. We sleep with a single open sleeping bag, like a big blanket, so we have to be near each other.  The last problem was her back; the pad did not support it.  In the morning she had a lot of back pain.  She is going to let Bling and Whisper try the pad for the next few nights.
This was really an easy day of hiking. The trail goes along the top of the Laguna Mountains, just on the eastern edge, where they drop down to the desert. In the afternoon we hiked down to Chariot Canyon Rd.  The trail then come back up and around to the next saddle and our only water source, Rodriguez Spur tank. The water tank was just about empty, but someone had left some bottles of water. We partially filled up. As we were fixing dinner a truck drove up and they stopped to talk to some of the thru-hikers. Soon they were handing out more water. All and all about 11 people got water from them.  After dinner we hiked on, for a few more miles. Just about 7:00 we stopped for the night. We had to walk down to a small saddle to find a flat place to camp.  All the other thru-hikers stayed back at Rodriguez Spur.

Easter trip

Near Mount Laguna Campground
3/30/18
Miles – 5.9 (47.54)
Total miles – 5.9

We are doing a short 3-4 day trip just to get out this spring.  I looked at four or five possible trips and decided on a point-to-point along the PCT.  This trip will give us a chance to stretch our legs and see if there is any improvement in Mama Ravens foot.  At the end of the CDT Mama Raven was a mass of pain.  She hurt in her neck, lower back, throat, and right foot.  All winter she has been seeing doctors trying to resolve all her issues.

We had a lot to finish before we could drive out, so we knew we would get a late start.  All those last minute things add up. What we had not realized was that Bling did not have any decent shoes. We left our house at 11:30. Mama Raven and Bling headed for Big 5.  Whisper and I stopped by the bank and then we meet them at Big 5. We found a pair of shoes and we all headed over to Subway for lunch and a sandwich for dinner.  On the road again we drove to Warner Springs and parked the truck in a shady spot off of the road. We all piled into the Prius and drove to Scissors Crossing. We found a safe place near the trail and stashed 4 gallons of water.  We will be back there in a few days for the water. While looking for a hiding place, Mama Raven realized that she had forgotten her hat.  With the temperatures in the mid 90’s a hat was something she would need. We left Scissors Crossing and drove up to Julian. The town was busy.  I found a parking place and we walked to the nearest clothing store. There Mama Raven found a hat. We left Julian and headed toward Mt Laguna. We made a quick stop at Pioneer Mail to check to see if the water was turned on, it was.  Our next stop was at the Mt Laguna store.  I asked were we could park the car for a few days.  The owner told me about a place just up the road. A short time later we pulled into the empty parking lot and unloaded.  It was 3:30.
The hiking along Mt Laguna was easy.  It is mainly rolling hills covered in chaparral.  Most of the pines were lost in a big fire 5 or 6 years ago. We hiked along easily in the cool mountain air.  Clouds rolled in as we sat and ate our Subway sandwiches. Then we hiked on toward the Mt Laguna Campground.  We found a good place to camp and settled down for the night.