As we left Wrightwood, we summited Mount Baden-Powell on a very beautiful morning. Our recent SOBO hike & new trail friend revitalized our excitement and energy, making the fairly steep 2,800 foot ascent pretty fun. The 9,406 ft peak brought about many emotions among the group: excitement, pride, joy, and awe. The mountain, named after the founder of the Boy Scouts, provided gorgeous panoramic views of the range we had been hiking in the past few days.
The beautiful day continued as we traversed the ridges. We felt good and enjoyed the day, so we put in a few extra miles that day & the next. Unfortunately, those extra miles put a little too much strain on Steve’s feet, making for a very painful descent over 5 miles into the Mills Creek fire station where we made home that night. His feet were in so much pain he had to chant the mantra “my feet are numb, my feet are frozen” to try to trick his mind into forgetting the offending feet were still attached to his body. This lead him to the decision to rest his barking dogs for the next few days. Steve found a trail angel to drive him to the Acton KOA to soak his feet and research possible causes & remedies of the perpetual ailment while Patch & I hiked the 25 miles from Mills Creek to Acton.
This was our first overnight apart on trail, our first nights alone. I kept our shared tent, as Steve had a better chance of finding a place to stay in town or cowboy camp if need be. (Cowboy camping – camping out under the stars, no shelter). Patch & I had a wonderful 17 mile hike together, but separate; reaching our destination by early afternoon. We weighed the options of continuing the 8 miles to reach the town, or enjoy our day as is. We both agreed 17 miles was a respectable day, and 25 would be pushing it after the past couple days.
The former roadside stop was a simple camping area with a water cache maintained by a ranger, along with soda and candy available for $1 donation. The area was a bit breezy, but the horse corrals just down the hill offered good protection from the wind, as well as soft grassy ground to set up camp. With my water topped off, tent set up (for my first time solo), and soda acquired, I set up at a picnic table to blog for the afternoon. A few other hikers trickled in over the next few hours, enjoying the quiet camping nook for the evening.
While dinner cooked, I ventured up to the breezy hill top to get enough cell service to post the latest blog. But the cell service brought even better news than knowing my friends and family were updated with our adventure. I received the photo of baby Ezekiel Reynolds – my brand new nephew! After getting word everyone was happy & healthy, I ran back down the hill, excited to share the news with my fellow hikers!
The next morning, Patch & I cruised through the remaining 8 miles to meet Steve in Acton, each listening to our own podcasts, lost in enjoying the beauty of the area while learning about new topics. My podcasts covered Harry Potter, dinosaur illustrations, and bitcoins – a good variety to make the morning go by quickly. Once we met Steve, we relaxed in the swings at the campground, ordered Chinese food, and evaluated Steve’s foot status. We had another 10 miles until we reached Agua Dulce, home of the famous Hiker Heaven trail angels. It was decided, after a filling lunch & short siesta, Patch & I would hike out a few more miles and Steve would get a ride from a fella who worked at the campground to Hiker Heaven.
After letting the midday sun cool down a bit, Patch & I set out for our second hike of the day. We crossed over rolling hills and through the tunnel under Interstate 14. We ended our day in a valley just past the interstate, the road noise blocked by the rocky outcrops. We set up our Z-packs Duplex tents, mine in a solid grey, Patch’s a stealthy camo print. We enjoyed a quiet dinner, watching the sun set behind the rock outcrops as ravens swooped in & out of nesting crevices.
My second night in my tent solo went smoother than the first night, considering the first night I sat something on my water bladder valve, resulting in a small lake forming in my tent. My second night was drier & organized better. I’ve developed my camp routine of where everything goes to maximize our space when I set up home for the two of us. With it just being me, I didn’t know what to do with all the space. Things weren’t in their normal place, so I couldn’t find items in the middle of the night. Though the extra space of being by myself in a two person tent was quite nice in theory, I still tend to ball up during the night, therefore only using about 30% of the floor space, ha! I was looking forward to having my tent partner back (though we’re considering the 3 person version for a bit more elbow room).
Patch & I took our time getting up in the morning since we only had 3 miles to go to get to town. But our morning route wasn’t just a regular hiking path. Those last 3 miles to town passed through Vasquez Rocks, a famous film site where many movies and tv shows have been filmed. Patch was geeking out quite a bit as we passed familiar scene sites from one of his favorite sci-fi shows, Star Trek (which were then also filmed on Big Bang Theory for one of their Star Trek episodes).
We checked the visitor’s center where they had a display of movie posters of all the movies filmed here. One of my most recognized movies being The Flintstone’s Movie with John Goodman. As soon as we turned the corner to town, we were picked up by a local, knowing we were destined for Hiker Heaven, just a few miles away.