Day 26 – April 29, 2022
Mile 383.9 (Little Jimmy Campground) to 406.6 (Sulphur Springs Trail Camp)
22.7 trail miles | 21.5 tracked miles | 2,780 ft elevation gain | 77 F / 25 °C
I’m officially Little Jimmy’s biggest fan. I’m not sure who he is, but I certainly appreciate his hospitality after a rough day yesterday. Fortunately, today was a much easier day.
The stretch north of Little Jimmy Campground was a bit odd: the trail went up and down for seemingly no reason at all, while crossing Highway 2 every so often. I started wondering if it might make sense to simply follow the highway.
As it turns out, that’s precisely what ended up happening. At mile 390.2, we had to detour through the Angeles Crest Highway due to a trail closure for the preservation of the endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, a species of frog endemic to Southern California. Fortunately, there was very little traffic, except for a group of LA’s finest racing their gas guzzlers.
The sight of an abandoned ski lift piqued my curiosity. I understand that the infrastructure used to belong to the Kratka Ridge ski area, which feel into disuse in 2002 due to lack of reliable snow, among other reasons. Apparently the Forest Service was supposed to demolish the lifts in 2006. Somehow that never happened.
After four miles, we took the Buckhart Trail back up to the PCT. It was a lovely jaunt, and we stopped for lunch at a river near Cooper Canyon.
Then we turned back on the PCT and hiked through large burn areas.
On a more positive note, I passed the 400 mile marker! At our current pace of 20+ miles a day, we’re bound to hit milestones every four to five days, which is incredibly exciting.
There were several unofficial mile markers, so I took pictures by all of them!
The afternoon hike was smooth sailing all around, though it didn’t feel particularly remote. The PCT followed a dirt road over several miles, and continued to hug the highway.
While highways lack charm, they make trail magic possible! We stumbled upon a cooler with hard boiled eggs, courtesy of a local trail angel. After briefly considering the food safety issue, we promptly gobbled them.
I listened to music for the first time today, on the final stretch. While many hikers routinely listen to music or audiobooks, so far I’ve enjoyed focusing on the scenery and my thoughts. I acknowledge that occasional boredom is likely to set in, though, as the days get longer and our daily mileage increases.
I arrived at the the spacious Sulphur Springs horse camp, our stopping point for the night, to the tune of Ulay, Oh by How I Became the Bomb, which I found was very fitting (if you know the song and the backstory.)
Despite walking over 20 miles today, we arrived at camp early and I enjoyed having time to relax. We had dinner with a retired gentleman who was hiking a section and painstakingly sharing his adventures with his family on YouTube. He had a tendency to dominate the conversation…
The Angeles National Forest is remarkably well equipped for outdoor activities. The Forest Service maintains a plethora of picnic areas and campsites, and many feature bear-proof trash containers and pit toilets. It’s fantastic not to have to carry trash for days at a time. Pit toilets are not only a small luxury, but they’re also better for the environment.