Day 26 – Wrightwood to Baden – Powell

May 19th
Miles: 369.8 to 380 (insane climb)

Wake on with the birds, like normal. Watch a bit of movie, it is one about fate and all that in a real world setting with magical elements, I like those normally but I am a bit tired and weary, the trail has given me time to think on things and think on thinking of those things. Magical realism always makes me thoughtful and a touch wistful.

On the topic of magical realism, to explain better, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez always leaves a little hole in my heart and I hate when his books end, the same is true of some movies which wrap you in a new world and explore them with you. It is easily my favorite genre, a blend of the real with the fantasy creating in a way that is like repainting your favorite town for one night and making it fresh and new.

I am dwelling on it because the PCT is kind of magic like that.  Nowhere else do I know of with such a huge support structure to make sure us crazy people have water and rides and places to stay. Trail magic happens as needed at times and people say “The trail provides” and they belive it. Trail angels post their phone numbers in the woods, really. It is begging for a travel book which invents. I mean like how Bill Bryson invented his hiking partner, but better.  When I found that out about his partner it blew me away.


Today we need to wrap town chores and get back on the trail to do Mt Baden – Powell which has a crazy elevation profile.


Went to breakfast with Happy Man and Cheese burger in Wrightwood and now everyone is off doing town chores and I am siting in the Evergreen cafe, which still has a ton of Easter decorations up.  Little bunnies and eggs everywhere .


Well, time to down coffee and get things done.

Got my resupply,  my bag is heavy again, like every time I leave a town now. I am dreading the haul out of Kennedy Meadows, I don’t know how much stronger I can get in the next three weeks but it better be a lot because ten days of food is going to kill me with the climb into the Sierra.

Waiting on my hiking group to buy stuff, sitting in front of Jensen market considering just hitching out myself now as the ride would be easy as a solo hiker. Though I am kind of watching bags here and it is nice to have time alone. I realize on this trail I am very comfortable with myself and have zero issues camping solo or doing any of the tasks associated with a thru-hike solo. It would appear I am a capable person with no codependent issues. A lot of hikers, that is the “thing” they learn. I may be slightly more leaning the other way, where I enjoy solitude and my own autonomy and prioritize it. Possibly the reason I have no desire to stay with trail angels who host hikers. I don’t want to talk trail when I get in town,  mostly I want a shower, laundry done, a meal with beer (with friends usually), resupply from P.O. or store and then to watch a movie and try to update here, which I mostly do on breaks. Usually i do these in just about that order. Those are the “town chores” I talk about. I think perhaps my lesson here is that I am learning how good people are, in general. How much a whole town will band together and help out a bunch of stinky hikers. Maybe this is undoing some of my New York jaded exterior, or at least softening it partially.

Well, time to hitch and then go hike a mountain.

Got a ride from this nice lady Joan who worked in Yosemite many years.  We talked straight hiker trash talk with her,  it was great.

“Assume you boys carrying a bear can when you get North” she says.

“Yes BV500!” I reply, mentioning the largest one made, and most secure. Refill mentions the same and that he used an URsack in “oh – seven”

“They had some failures in the BV’s in a section around Independence, eight total thus year.” She rattles off. “Though it seems to be only one bear who figured them out, smart sucker. Not sure if he is still around. Check the boards on your way up.  Remember,  no URSsacks, those are bear bait,  the O rings fail”

“A bear ninja’d a BV?!?!” We both reply, shocked. 

“Yup, let’s hope he didn’t show the other bears”

This is big stuff,  it could change our hike this year if bears have figured out the food vaults we all carry. It would turn us into walking vending machines.


She drops us off, and up up up we go. I just want to say for the record that I am a beast climber now.  I did the entire trip to the top of Baden – Powell in one go, no stops and at 2.5mph with a 30+ pound pack.  I am blown away how strong I am now. Eat your heart out stair climbers in LA.


Yea, I walked up that in about an hour and a half.


1500 year old tree I sat on and ate junk food.


It was cool at the top.  By that I mean cold, very cold.  We got out and checked the maps and decided to camp at about 8400ft




I made some super strong hot and sour to replace my salt losses and warm me up. It is going to be a very cold one.  I am in the tent for the first time in a while.

I used my dynema wire to secure the tent to a boulder.

Let’s hope it stays, there is no wind so far.

2 thoughts on “Day 26 – Wrightwood to Baden – Powell

  1. Donna DeGan

    Hi Joel, I’ve been having a hard time getting a message to go through on your website but will try again by clicking on Facebook, so this is just an experiment. For some reason it won’t accept our email address.


  2. Donna DeGan

    Well, I couldn’t figure out the Facebook thing so tried using our email address again and it took it. Sometimes this new technology stuff is wonderful, and sometimes It leaves a lot to be desired.

    I wanted to tell you that I was real interested in what you said about Bill Bryson who wrote A Walk In The Woods, as I’m getting ready to read it again. I did some research and it seems that a lot of people thought Katz, his hiking partner on the AT, was fictional. Actually, people say that he has said in several interviews that Katz really did exist but his real name is Matthew Angerer and he lives in or near Des Moines. A man who lives there and went to the same school as them said that’s true. The BBC sent some reporters over here to find Stephen Katz to do an interview and they found him. Well, they found Matthew Angerer and he said he was the one who hiked the AT with Bill Bryson. But it sounds like he wasn’t too happy with how Bill Bryson portrayed him in the book. In fact, from what I’ve read, it sounds like he really exaggerated or made a bunch of stuff up. When Bill Bryson, who was living in England at the time, found out about the interview he wasn’t too happy. He’s made a lot of money from the book though and Matt Angerer doesn’t seem to have much.

    Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s true in cases like this, but this is what I found out. When I was reading the book the first time I wondered if “Katz” was really as bad as he made him out to be. Did Bryson think the truth was just too boring? Gee, It seems like the truth would have been just as interesting, or maybe more so.



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