Scissors Crossing Nobo 77

This post is from October 25, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

The 14 miles that I needed to do today plus the 11 miles since my last water made a 25-mile section without any water other than what I carried.  I had enough to reach Scissors Crossing without running out but it was certainly a hot day to be descending out of the mountains and then crossing the flat desert at about 2500 feet above sea level to reach scissors Crossing.

Here are some pictures of that descent and then walking across the valley floor:




I met four southbound thru-hikers today in two groups of two people. They gave me good information about what water to expect between here and Warner Springs and even a little beyond. There is nothing that I didn’t expect but at least they confirmed that what I had heard about was in fact there. There will be somewhat dry sections that will force me to carry a lot of water but I think it’s all doable. The last two of these hikers we’re older gentlemen – something that I have not seen so far amongst the thru-hikers heading south. They expected to find water about a mile south of where we met and I was saddened to tell them that there would be no water for 16 more miles. They seemed very frustrated and bothered by this.

After waiting 45 minutes for a ride at Scissors Crossing, I finally managed to hitchhike a ride to the touristic town of Julian tucked in the mountains above the desert. I am now comfortable in my hotel room icing both of my ankles.  I was happy to see the food box that I mailed ahead waiting for me at the hotel reception desk. I will get a ride to the trail and start early tomorrow heading north.

I stayed in the Julian Lodge.

Also, Julian seems to have more pie stores and restaurants than anyplace I have seen. I sampled some:


Unnamed tent site Nobo 63

This post is from October 24, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

My ankle was feeling great this morning and gave me no complaints through this 22-mile day. I think that the 90 minutes of icing both ankles in the cabin last night had something to do with that.

The views during much of the day today were jaw-dropping. I was hiking between 5009-6000 feet elevation but the terrain to my east dropped off dramatically to true desert. Even though this waterless hike feels like desert to the hiker there are living bushes so there is some water. Here are some pictures of these vistas.



My big gamble this morning was to leave Mt Laguna with only 3 liters of water for 2 days. The reports I had read on the Internet said that the tap filling the horse trough at mile 11 was still running. The water had to be treated, but that would be fine. I ran into a group of 4 SOBO thru-hikers and they confirmed the water was running. When I got to mile 11 i\I loaded up and treated 5 liters of water.




My pace accelerated for reasons not totally clear to me and as my ankle was not complaining as I flew through another 11 miles after that stop to this dubious just-before-dark camp:

Mt. Laguna Nobo 42

This post is from October 23, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

I was so relieved this morning when I took my first steps and felt that my ankle was OK. Although every now and then I have a twinge of soreness it really is doing as well as I can expect. I had no serious aches all the way today.

I started at about 7:40 this morning with a brisk temperature that required having long pants and a long sleeve shirt because of the cold. The last couple of days I have hiked about 3 miles before transferring to a T-shirt and shorts. Today included a very long and gradual 2500 foot climb up to the 6000-foot high town of Mount Laguna.

Here is some scenery along the way:

Everything went pretty well and I was in the town by 3 PM. When I say town perhaps I should say hamlet because the population is only 70 people. Nonetheless, I was able to rent a small cabin for the night and get some food at the general store across the street so I am very comfortable. Very importantly I am able to ice my ankles and that is good therapy.
Most importantly, the food drop box I had mailed ahead a week ago was waiting for me in my cabin (see photo below). Yeah!

Today was about 16 generally uphill miles. The temperatures are a little bit cooler up here at 6000 feet then they were in the 2000-foot elevations of the past couple of days.

So far so good. I have to leave here in the morning with a heavy pack full of the food that I had mailed ahead.

Boulder Oaks campground Nobo 26

This post is from October 22, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

I left camp this morning at 7:30am with 4 liters of water. That felt noticeably lighter and better than yesterday.  I could afford to be light on water as I knew I would come to Lake Morena campground at mile 15 which had guaranteed water. Leaving there with 6 liters felt heavy again.

The late morning today was very hot with an unusually steep climb. That climb was the descent into and climb out of Hauser Canyon. That actually took a lot out of me. I think it was the heat and heavy pack.


At mile 18 I encountered a couple of southbound thru-hikers, the first I have seen on this section. Amazingly, one of them was the very same ‘Pippin’ that I camped with at the Middle Fork of the Feather River on August 30 (see that post). That was a cool reunion.  The photo below is of Pippin’s reunion with Tarman.

My ankle is sore tonight. I hope it is better in the morning….

Just north of Mexican border Nobo 5

This post is from October 21, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

After getting up in Mobile, Alabama at 5am after Helen Sewell’s (my son-in-law’s mother’s) wedding yesterday we flew to Atlanta.  Then, Helen and my mother flew home from there and I flew to San Diego. Once there, after reorganizing my pack and loading up my water containers I got an Uber ride to Campo and the start at the Mexican border.

I was hiking north by 3:15.

It was getting pretty dark by 6 now so I stopped after 5 miles and made this lovely camp.

All is going well so far. The pack feels a bit heavy with all the water.

Belden! NOBO 1287

This post is from September 1, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I hiked about 17 miles today through varying terrain and 1,000,000,000 gnats.

I broke camp and was hiking by 8am. During the first 9 undulating miles yet still around 7000′ elevation I saw views like these:



I knew I was getting closer to getting out of the deep woods when I saw this sign 9 miles from the end:


During the long 3000’+ descent into the (Main) Feather River Canyon I saw views like these:


During this 6 mile descent, I was besieged by gnats. I covered myself in DEET but they still constantly flew into my eyes, nostrils, and ears for about 3 hours. I was so urgently swatting at them that twice I nearly fell off the steep switchbacks.

At about 3pm and almost 17 miles, I reached Belden and the end of this planned 240-mile section, I was underwhelmed, to say the least. Neither they nor any area campground had any rooms or even tent spaces to rent. I ended up backtracking onto Forest Service land where I made this camp:


On the positive side, it is only about 300 meters from my tent to the Belden restaurant and store so at least I won’t be hungry while I camp waiting for Bill Johnson to pick me up late tomorrow morning.

PS yes the bottle of champagne on the picture is for me to privately and gnat-free celebrate my successful and on-time completion of this section!

Unnamed tent site NOBO 1270

This post is from August 31, 2018.

My pace, elevation profile and other GPS track information are viewable on:

I started the day with a 10 mile long 3100’ climb out of Middle Fork Feather River canyon.  Note that this river is on the national ‘Wild and  Scenic Rivers’ list.

Another day with very long dry stretches interspersed with unreliable water sources.

I did 21,4 miles today.

These are some views about halfway through the day.





I interrupted a large mother bear and her 2 cubs 1//2 mile before where I am now camped. She stood up on her hind legs and was taller than me.  After about 45 seconds, she and her cubs walked away from me on the trail.  I was a bit apprehensive for a while as I never really saw them walk off the trail, only further up on the trail, through scrub that impeded my view.  I half-expected them around every turn until I reached my campsite.

Here is my campsite. There is a bear close by!