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Longstride: Trail Journals

Hiking and Backpacking Trail Journals by John “Longstride” Bafford

A feed by John “Longstride” Bafford

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Day 29: Happy Mountain Hippy

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-19 03:38, modified on 2018-04-21 04:05

It was cold overnight, with frost on the inside of my tent, so even though I woke up shortly after six, I was disinclined to get out of my sleeping bag for well over another hour, by which time the sun had come out and had started to defrost my tent. Happily, there was no notable wind last night, which was great since I had no rocks with which to hold down my tent. The plan for a short day today also did nothing to speed my exit.

read more (1006 words, 5 photos)


Day 28: Bloaty Pizza Hog

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-18 03:25, modified on 2018-04-19 04:06

The wind blew all night, but because of our semi-protected campsite, it never got to be terribly windy, and certainly nothing like the forecast was calling for. I only had one stake pull out, right before I went to sleep. Because it was going to be so windy, I had pitched my tent lower to the ground than usual to lower the wind profile, which meant getting up was a bit more of a nuisance, since any time I moved around, I rubbed my head on my tent’s roof.

read more (1137 words, 3 photos)


Day 27: “If You Love Your Brain, Don’t Put It Underwater”

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-17 04:20, modified on 2018-04-19 01:01

It was a bit cold overnight, but the high winds we were expecting never happened. The wind did pick up a bit after sunrise, but even then, it wasn’t too bad.

read more (857 words, 4 photos)


Day 26: The Early Hiker Gets The Rocks

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-16 03:53, modified on 2018-04-17 04:15

Today started off with the potential for great disaster. Whatever I had was no mere cold: colds don’t wake me up at 1 am with an urgent need to sit on a toilet. Or, since I was in the middle of nowhere on a mountain, place a landmine before it exploded and made a mess. I’ll spare the details of what ended up in the (very hastily dug) cathole; the important thing was that disaster was averted. At least until 7 am, at which point, the scene replayed itself. (I blame the Mexican food I had two nights ago; Although I was told that it “is the shit”, clearly instead, it gives the shits.)

read more (894 words, 2 photos)


Day 25: The Trail Turns West

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-15 03:43, modified on 2018-04-16 16:05

When my 6 am alarm went off, I really did not want to get up. I didn’t sleep very well, and the slightly sore throat I had when I went to bed had not gone away. But, if I wanted to get back on the trail today, I had to get moving. There was a 7:30 bus to catch.

read more (996 words, 3 photos)


Day 24: The Three R’s In Big Bear Lake

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-14 03:18, modified at 08:24

As expected, today was a nice, low-key day of the three Rs: rest, resupply, and restaurants.

read more (268 words, 1 photo)


Day 23: Ten Percent

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-13 03:21, modified on 2018-04-14 02:58

It was cold and windy overnight. The winds peaked just before 1 am, when a singular gust hit my tent hard enough to pull out four of its stakes. Aside from having to restake my tent, though, I slept pretty well, thanks to the flat, soft sand. And, unlike the last cold and high wind night, it was low-humidity, so my tent didn’t develop condensation inside.

read more (794 words, 3 photos)


Day 22: Tuna is not Butterfly Food

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-12 04:39, modified on 2018-04-13 21:52

Although the morning was not quite as warm as yesterday, I managed to make it out of camp before 7 am, a new record for this hike. This proved to be quite necessary, as it was warmer today than yesterday (or at least seemed so), and my hiking quickly grew to be quite sluggish once the sun made its way above the mountains. I got in a good 45 minutes of hiking before the first direct rays from the sun hit me.

read more (1042 words, 3 photos)


Day 21: A Single Snake Eye Staring Into Your Soul

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-11 04:17, modified on 2018-04-13 02:33

Thanks to the warm temperatures, I was actually able to get up before sunrise, and after the half-mile walk from the Whitewater Preserve to the PCT, I was back on the trail by 7:30.

read more (689 words, 2 photos)


Day 20: Wind Farm and Whitewater

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-10 03:37, modified on 2018-04-12 21:52

It was warm overnight, the first actually warm evening on the trail, which made it a little easier to get moving faster. From the water faucet, the downhill from San Jacinto continued, as the trail followed an access road for the water agency, before turning into a sandy trail that passed through more sub-desert landscape as it headed across the valley towards the Mesa Wind Farm.

read more (765 words, 3 photos)


Day 19: Descent

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-09 04:24, modified at 13:50

Somehow, my tent survived the night. Though, if more stakes had pulled out, I’m not entirely sure I’d have gone outside to fix them. It was a bit cool in the morning, but the skies had cleared and the humidity dropped significantly. It was looking to be a much better day for hiking (and views) than yesterday.

read more (591 words, 3 photos)


Day 18: Uphill into the Clouds

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-08 01:04, modified at 18:21

Today started much like yesterday, only earlier. I had another round of French toast at the Red Kettle, and then returned to my room to finish packing my pack and wait outside for the shuttle to the trailhead to resume my hike.

read more (663 words, 3 photos)


Day 17: Devils Slide, Tahquitz Peak, and South Ridge

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-07 03:42, modified at 05:04

Today got off to a slightly earlier start than usual, thanks to an annoying wake-up call from a telemarketer, but I was feeling a lot better than I was yesterday, and felt some hiking was in order.

read more (1198 words, 3 photos)


Day 16: Idle, But Not Wild

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-06 04:58, modified at 05:01

Today was nice and lazy, my first actual zero on the PCT. Granted, I only put in a half-mile day when I went into Warner Springs, but that day didn’t feel like a zero, in spite of the distance actually covered being basically a rounding error.

read more (384 words, 1 photo)


Day 15: “Is that as much fun as it looks?”

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-05 01:18, modified on 2018-04-06 04:50

With a campsite in a valley, it was surprisingly cold overnight, and definitely more humid than I preferred. It’s always pretty lousy when your dryish clothes get wetter just by sitting there. But, not every campsite can be warm and dry. At least mine was close to water and a restroom.

read more (797 words, 1 photo)


Day 14: The Mountain Fire Alternate

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-03 23:29, modified on 2018-04-05 00:44

Although I did not manage to set a record time for departing camp this hike, I at least managed to leave camp before 8 am, and despite ending the day with more than a few hours of daylight left, I got to where I expected to go and had plenty of time to relax at the end of a hard day of hiking.

read more (952 words, 3 photos)


Day 13: Fire and Dust

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-02 11:25, modified on 2018-04-03 15:39

Last night was one of the lumpiest tentsites I’ve ever had, and it was not enhanced by the coyotes yipping around 1 am. Nor was it enhanced by the unexpectedly cool temperatures: I found a small amount of ice in my tent, indicating it had dropped below freezing at some point. I did manage to get some sleep, though, and I was awake early enough to have my stuff packed and ready to go to be ready for Paradise Valley Cafe when they opened at 8.

read more (1131 words, 3 photos)


Day 12: Easter at Muir Wood/s

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-02 03:20, modified at 05:05

I had a mostly restful sleep, once my sinuses actually cleared out around midnight. I suspect I was likely dehydrated, and it was only by then that my rehydration efforts kicked in to allow my sinuses to clear out.

read more (989 words, 3 photos)


Day 11: Slippery Slopes to Water

Permalink - Posted on 2018-04-01 03:59, modified at 23:46

The morning started off with some good news: I found my headlamp. Turns out it was lying on my pack outside my tent. It must have fallen out of the pocket I keep it in when I put the pack there, and I just couldn’t see it because it was too dark.

read more (786 words, 3 photos)


Day 10: Ups and Downs

Permalink - Posted on 2018-03-31 05:12

After one of the most restful nights I’ve had on the trail (owing in no small part to tenting under a tree on grass with nice weather), I wound up getting a later start than anticipated, had a very tiring hike, didn’t meet my distance goal for the day, and had all sorts of annoying things go wrong.

read more (915 words, 3 photos)