Day 26 (Thursday, May 12): Lytle Creek to PCT mi 352 to Guffy Springs Campground (mi 364.36), 17.55 miles. (up/down: 6550/-1727)
It can be easy to get sucked into the off trail life, especially when there is shade, AC, and a pool. It was a nice stay, but I was ready to get back to trail. I opted to go up the canyon from where we were staying, versus going back to Cajon Pass. I had originally planned on hiking 5 miles the evening before, but made up for it by lifting some weights (water bottles) and swimming at the RV Resort. There was a truck trail that would meet up with the PCT. I planned on getting a ride with my mom to where the road and trail intersected, and leaving some water. Although, once we got to the 2 mile gravel road, it looked a bit sketchy going down into the valley where it would meet the trail at mile 347. I checked the map and saw there was another 5 mile road that went up to meet the trail at mile 352, but was quit steep with a lot of switchbacks. To go up or to go down? I decided on the longer road walk that took me up – better than going down down down than up up up, and I would end up walking the same distance.
I was quickly greeted with stunning views of the canyon. Mom, you should have driven me up – you would have seen some nice views. Within 30 minutes I saw two deer, the first yet. I also suddenly had to go #2. I was thankful I was on a deserted gravel road versus the PCT, because there would have been no privacy. Not that you need to know the details, but yesterday’s fast food marathon must have shocked my digestive system as I needed to go every 30 minutes. Despite the slow going at times, I made it to the trail within 3 hours. In those 2 hours, I also saw a snake and tarantula!
Once on trail, I went another couple miles until I found a couple of the groups I had met a couple days earlier taking a break. And so I sat. An hour later, I got back on trail – it was a hot day and I wanted to get as many miles in before the heat of the afternoon. Just a half mile later, there was another big group resting and socializing in another patch of shade. Many of the folks I was just with opted to break there as well. It looked tempting, but I had only been walking for 15 minutes and felt I ought to continue as I gained more elevation.
It started to get even hotter, and I took a short minute or two break in nearly every decent spot of shade; about every 10 minutes. Sometimes these breaks would overlap with others. One of the groups was talking about climbing Mt Baldy. I was tempted, but I was down to only enough water to get me to Guffy Springs. I finally reached the trail junction to Mt Baldy and took a nice sit. I contemplated going up – there would be snow/water. I figured the group behind me would eventually meet me at this junction, and I would decide then whether to summit or not. After an hour, no one showed. So I continued on to camp and water.
Once I arrived, I met Roadrunner who just got back from Wrightwood along with Edward. It was only 4:30, and I contemplated walking further, but more people started to trickle in and I stayed. Roadrunner found out I planned on skipping Wrightwood, and talked me into at least stopping by. Roadrunner also had tried climbing Mt Baldy the day before. I am glad I did not try as it was covered in snow and was scree straight up. He made it only a mile before having to turn back. As the others who tried the summit or skipped it arrived, we fooled them by making them think the hike and views from Baldy was amazing. A good laugh.
A number of us enjoyed an early dinner, sharing our different creations. The hikers kept rolling in as the sun set. It was a beautiful night, and we could see LA – well the smog over LA. Once the sun finally set, we could see the lights below. I settled on getting to the Hwy that would lead to Wrightwood in the morning. If I got a hitch within the first 5-10 minutes, I would go into town for breakfast and a free coffee.</spa