From Wrightwood to Little Jimmy Spring Camp
I wake up and take another shower. Might as well start off clean for the next section. Don and Yvon feed us breakfast, then Yvon takes us to the store for a new fuel canister and then to the trailhead. Yvon explained last night that get daughter has found surrogate mothers all over the world – so she likes to take care of the children of other people who come their way. These debts and gifts of kindness get passed around in a giant loop all over the world I suppose. My mother likes to take in the children of friends and strangers too. I wonder if it all eventually shakes out even – it seems that those who are better at giving have more room to receive.
J and I have no way to repay debts but with thanks, so we do our best and start on our way. We’ve hardly started when we run into a cluster of other hikers, our first in days. Medicine Man and Monique are there, and some hikers I don’t recognize. It’s Michael! We’d met him in Mt Laguna, more than three weeks ago, laid up with a bum knee. He’d been waiting for nearly a week for a brace to come in the mail from his dad. His knee pain sounded a lot like mine, so I showed him the brace I was using and had him try it on. Three weeks later and he’s putting twenty mile days, with familiar looking braces on both knees. It had done the trick for him too. I’m thrilled that he’s still on the trail, and doing well. I’d hoped so.
Michael is with two other hikers, a trio of Canadians. J and I set off with Monique and Medicine Man, the Canadians behind us. We’ve got a bit of a drop than a four mile climb up Mt Baden Powell (the founder of Boy Scouts). We’ve got the same pace but syncopated breaks and we pass each other over and over again as we switch back, back, back again, always up. I feel like a momentum machine. It takes a lot of effort to get going but then the pace maintains itself.
We’ve lost Monique and Medicine Man somewhere back in the long train of switchbacks by the time we make the summit. I skimped on water and now I’m low, with five miles to the closest spring, so we don’t wait around.
The next five miles rollercoaster across a long ridge coming off the peak. The views to the southwest look green and moist. LA is hiding under it’s cloak of smog, but I can almost convince myself that I see the ocean beyond. The views to the northeast look flat and hot and dry. That’s where we’re headed, of course.
By the time we make it to the spring, water up, and cook dinner, it’s seven. I’m not sure what happened to the day – we’ve been hiking all day, it’s getting late, and we’ve only made fourteen miles. I want to keep going, but there’s no promising locations to camp for miles. I also don’t want to keep going. I want to stay here, by the spring, surrounded by friends. I’m worried that I’ll never start making the mileage I need to finish this pilgrimage – but maybe I should focus more on enjoying the day I’m actually having? Easier said than done. Maybe better walking tomorrow.