Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 19

Day- 19
Date- 5-2-16
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 6,900 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 15.4 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 268.6 miles
Weather/Temp- sleet/rain, 30,40,50,60
Injuries- object in leg, rolled ankle
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- High
Days without shower- 1
Hunger/craving- low


Started walking the one mile to the post office about a quarter after 8am, and after being stopped by some locals to chat,  ended up arriving right as it opened at 9 am.


(Making friends on the way to the post office…and turds)

The lines got long quick,  and it was almost an hour before I’d packed up my replacement sleeping bag, then packaged and shipped my old one,  plus a few extras (my license plate included).

It was raining when we first began trying to hitch. We had no luck, finally gave in,  and split an expensive taxi back to the trailhead a little after noon.

Before I get into the day’s hike,  I just want to bring up a funny observation I’ve made about this trail.  Soooo many other thru hikers are skipping huge chunks of it. This trail is gorgeous, as well as a mall walk for terrain difficulty,  yet it seems that 75% of the people we’re meeting out here are skipping big sections every chance they get. Most are using the detours, reroutes, and closures as an excuse to skip,  but they are skipping WAAY more than what’s necessary.

We met a ton of hikers in Big Bear that had skipped from the cafe right before the first walkable detour, all the way up to here,  then didn’t even start at the most southern trail access to this town.  Instead starting at the furthest trail access to the town,  and distance of nearly 130 miles of trail skipped in one leap! Who knows how much they did before that,  and how much they’ll skip after.

I try not to focus on the way others hike,  but when you’re out here putting in the time and the miles,  you can’t help but get a little annoyed when people simply skip past you. It’s like playing a game that someone else is making/changing the rules to,  while you’re playing it.  Obviously there are no rules on how to hike out here,  but that’s how it feels to me when I watch others get “paid” the same as me, but for half the “work.”

I digress…

Anyways,  it doesn’t feel very intelligent when you’re taking a taxi to a trail head that’s almost 9,000 feet up…while it’s raining.  Let me be the first to tell you,  rain at 9,000 feet isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world.  Nevertheless,  we were very restless from all the waiting around and driving over the past couple days. It was time to give the old legs a good (chilly, wet)  stretch.


When we were dropped off,  there were tiny snow flakes in the air.  After a few mins of hiking they turned to tiny balls of hale.  Another 20 mins go by,  and we’re walking in sleeting rain.  Sleeting rain was the name of the game for around two hours, before it became a light misting rain.  Another 30 mins of that,  and the clouds broke.  It was a pleasant day from there on out.

After a little descent,  we hiked between seven and eight thousand feet for basically the entire day. Little bit of alpine terrain,  little bit forest and rock,  and a lot of desert terrain.  Almost no animals at all,  besides one jack rabbit I saw that I thought was a coyote at first, due to the fact that it was bigger than katana.


Speaking of the little devil herself,  she was on point again today; thriving in the wet, cold weather.  I was practically chasing her down the trail, she was moving so fast.  As a matter of fact,  I rolled my ankle twice while trying to keep my eye on her up ahead, and not paying attention to the ground. Yes it hurt, and I cussed and winced,  but I’ve come to learn that the best thing you can do for a rolled ankle is… keep moving directly after, and keep the blood flowing.  Despite a very “hot” feeling in my ankle all day,  the pain only lasted a few mins after each roll.  I’m slowly chipping away at all that fancy work that Dr. Nielsen at the Andrew’s Institute did for me after my Appalachian Trail “ankle debacle.” It’ll be interesting to see what it goes through between here and Canada….


The terrain was mostly flat and sloping,  with some Dr. Seuss looking plants thrown in here and there. All in all,  it was an enjoyable half day, done at a quick pace, and we still got some good miles done.  The trail looks extra easy ahead,  so we’re fantasizing about a 30 mile + day tomorrow.  We’ll see if those fantasies come to life…


P.S. My replacement sleeping bag is heavenly.  12 more ounces,  but no more drafts, courtesy of CatFox

Go to Day 20.

Go to my book, “Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail


  1. Just got home from work and read your blog. I find myself wishing I was there taking in all that the hike has to offer. Looking forward to keeping up with you via your blog.

  2. ✔️👍😃 ….. Hike On, Friends!…..We are thoroughly enjoying your pics n descrips!

  3. I’m reading your book now and am enjoying it very much. I’m inspired! Love the blogs. I’m cheering for you!!

  4. So enjoy getting caught up on your journey. I can understand why it is annoying that some hikers choose to skip large portions of the trail, but I guess one way to look at it is that they are missing out and are defeating the whole purpose of the experience. It’s their own loss. I can’t figure out why someone would want to take the “easy” road instead of soaking in the entire adventure. But, keep your chin up, Kyle…not many have the same desire and will that you and your furry girl have 🙂
    P.S. that tree is way cool! Can’t believe how small Katana looks next to it.

  5. Great pics. Great commentary – all proof that you’re human. I have turned to compassion for others – not only because it’s the right thing (spiritually) to do, but because it generates my own inner peace. Have compassion for those who are missing so much of the hike because they aren’t getting to experience all that you are. I’ve been told to pray for people who rub me the wrong way. It’s a difficult practice (I can be stubborn), but boy does it work! I don’t know if it works for them, but it sure works for me. 🙂 Long distance healing vibes to your ankle. 🙂

  6. Oh I forgot to comment on the photo of Katana and the huge tree! Awesome!!! Amazing!! I wonder how many hikers walked past it and how old it is! WOW! Carla

  7. Wow we where blessed with another installment so quickly. Loved your description of the Dr Seuss plants. Your right they look story bookish. CatFox loves the rainy cold temps and hauled butt. Hope you get in your 30 mile hike, hope your ankle is OK. As far as the other hikers cheating and skipping ahead……you got it off your chest now concentrate on your hike and enjoy yourself and feel good in your heart that you did it honestly. Some people are like that in this world and you can’t change it. I’m proud of you being the way you are!! Keep up the good work. Give CatFox an extra hug for us all following you! Pleasent dreams in your warm bed!

  8. Ouch! That ankle is still weak Kyle…. never as good as original. Hope no more of those over turnings or it could get ugly..
    As I’m sure you know

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