PCT Week 5 – From Big Bear to Wrightwood

PCT Week 5 – From Big Bear to Wrightwood

The fifth week on the Pacific Crest Trail is over and I had my first border experiences. PCT Week 5 went from Big Bear Mile 284 to Wrightwood Mile 372. If you missed the fourth week’s contribution, here’s the link to the article: PCT week 4.

Map – Pacific Crest Trail Week 5

October 27, 2019 6:07 pm
  • Distance 136 km
  • Time 34 h 6 min
  • Speed 4.0 km/h
  • Min altitude 907 m
  • Peak 2571 m
  • Climb 3997 m
  • Descent 3900 m
  • Distance Instructions

Day 29: The 300 miles mark in sight

Day: May 3rd 2019
Distance: 17 mi, 27,2 km
Accumulated: 301 mi, 481.6 km

The next morning we check the campground for traces, but find nothing useful. The night is still in the bones and Nils is not sure which animal growled in front of his tent. So we’re back on the trail.

A few miles after the first break, I bend my right ankle and collapse in pain. The other questions are if everything’s okay, and I’m mumbling it’s okay. I get up and I still feel the pain. Nothing’s broken, but it feels sprained. I’m walking slowly. After further miles I arrive at a stream with good current. Lila and Débo are taking a break. I sit down and put my swollen foot in the ice-cold water.

The pain’s going down and I’m trying my best on the trail. At the Deep Creek Bridge, Nils and I walk on. Lila and Débo stay there to camp. I need a good day’s end because my foot still hurts. My reward: the 300-mile mark on the PCT. After we have reached them, we look for a camp spot and I fall asleep satisfied.

Day 30: Wellness Day at the Hots Springs

Day: May 4th 2019
Distance: 12 mi, 19,2 km
Accumulated: 313 mi, 500.8 km

Today is a relaxed day, because the Deep Creek Hot Springs are on the agenda. The Hot Springs are natural springs with hot water and a popular excursion destination. However, 8 miles must be covered first.

Lila and Débo catch up with Nils and me at the campground and around 11 am we take a first break at a paradisiacal place with river and small waterfalls. The sun burns down on us and I don’t hesitate a second: Clothes off and into the cold water. A good refreshment and I let the sun dry me afterwards on a big stone. I am as relaxed as on a wellness day with sauna visit. Around 1:00 p.m. we continue in the direction of Hot Springs.

Arrived at the Hot Springs I am more than happy to have bathed before. Lots of people, garbage everywhere and turds of toilet paper in the bushes. I let the others go to the Hot Springs, find a spot on the beach and decide to sleep. The other three inspect the Hot Springs and are thrilled. I’ll pass… After a few hours of relaxation, we are back on the PCT.

There is another fantastic sunset to see and we camp on the beach of the Mojave River Forks dam. Nils and I do cowboycamping, Lila and Débo pitch their tents.

Day 31: Silverwood Lake

Day: May 5th 2019
Distance: 15,1 mi, 24,16 km
Accumulated: 328.1 mi, 524.96 km

Today we go along Silverwood Lake. A reservoir with beautiful beaches, which are however littered with garbage. Anyway, we’ll take a long break and relax by the lake.

A campsite is located directly at Silverwood Lake and we decide to camp there. The highlight of the campground: you can order pizza. $40 for a pizza and a six-pack of Bud Light… you only live once.

Day 32: McDonald’s and Subway in Cajon

Day: May 6th 2019
Distance: 15,5 mi, 24,8 km
Accumulated: 343.6 mi, 549.76 km

There is only one declared goal for this day: the McDonald’s in Cajon. There’s internet and a small gas station next door to buy some food. Arrived at McDonald’s I ask if there are veggiburgers and the saleswoman shakes her head and looks at me like an alien. Head to Subway across the street, I’m hungry.

At Subway we get delicious sandwiches, but we don’t have Internet. Afterwards back to McDonald’s, where I treat myself to a strawberry milkshake. Brilliant!

After that we walk another mile and pitch our tents. Tomorrow’s a busy day.

Day 33: The ascent to Wright Mountain

Day: May 7th 2019
Distance: 18,1 mi, 28,96, km
Accumulated: 361.7 mi, 578.72 km

Today is a tough day: 18 miles (29 km) with an increase from 3,000 feet (914 meters) to 8,100 feet (2500 meters). The morning is humid, cold and foggy. I am thinking about how I can make the ascent as pleasant as possible.

There’s only one solution: 90’s Happy Hardcore. I download a playlist “Best of Scooter” on Spotify and fly up the mountain. “Yeheheaaa, yeeehee always Hardcore” it roars in my ears. Sometimes you have to resort to radical solutions, even if it’s trashy.

After 18 miles I arrive at a camp spot and am totally exhausted. It’s getting cold and damn windy. We’ll make a fire, but it won’t get any warmer. I Set up my tent put myself in my sleeping bag as quickly as possible. I put on all the things I have in my backpack, but the cold wind goes through all the things.

Around 1:00 o’clock at night I wake up with extreme chills and need almost 30 minutes to calm down. It’s freezing cold and the wind is still blowing into my tent with full force. I get my aluminium rescue blanket from my backpack and wrap myself in it in my sleeping bag. It gets a little better and I kind of fall asleep. I feel flat, exhausted and done. I feel like I’m at my limit. Tomorrow it’s only a few miles.

Day 34: Arrival in Wrightwood

Day: May 8th 2019
Distance: 7,4 mi, 11,84 km
Accumulated: 369.1 mi, 590.56 km

I wake up and just feel bad, broken and weak. 7.4 miles to the road to Wrightwood, a stretch of road where I torture myself that day. Every step hurts and I feel burned out. Luckily, it’s a day of rest.

At the road we try to hitchhike to Wrightwood. The sheriff stops in his huge car, gets out and says dryly: “Jump in! You’ll never get the chance to be driven around in a police car without handcuffs again.” We look at each other and we all have a grin on our faces. Sheriff’s taking us to Wrightwood. Afterwards eat and relax. I need rest and sleep.

Day 35: Resupply and back on the trail

Day: May 9th 2019
Distance: 2,5 mi, 4 km
Accumulated: 371.6 mi, 594.56 km

The next morning I wake up and don’t want to leave the bed. Check out is 11:00 a.m., then breakfast and then resupply. The supermarket in Wrightwood is pretty expensive. I pay $146 for five days of food.

Before we go back on the trail we all have a beer in the Wrightwood Brew, the local brewery and talk to other hikers. On the way to the main road we pass the local library. A magical place where we spend another hour. Besides books there is the cat Kali, which wants to be stroked permanently, turtles and tarantulas.

Around ,5 p.m. it goes back to the Trail and we still walk 2.5 miles to a camping site which is, however, still officially closed. Setting up tents, eating, sleeping, good night. Tomorrow will be a hard day and the weather will change. We expect rain, snow and ice.

The fifth week on the Pacific Crest Trail is over and I had a hell of a night just before Wrightwood. Be curious what happens next. Here it goes directly to week 6.

If you liked this article, I’m happy about a Like, a heart or a smile on your face. If you have questions, suggestions or criticism, I look forward to your comments.

Greetings, Martin