Hitch 5: Adventures in the High Desert (J “Chewie” Bunville)

June 27-July 3,2012

The season is quickly coming to a close as the temperatures continue to rise. From June 27 to 29, we stationed out of Chilao Fire Station, as we headed back to Bear Canyon Trail, to finish the work we started. The commute was only half an hour by vehicle and the hike at 7 in the morning was peaceful, as it was almost completely absent of other hikers and cool under the trees beside the creek. The work included mostly retread and lopping, with some timber removal. The hike at the end of the day was long, especially on the second day, when we reached our stopping point 4 miles from the trailhead. But walking along the creek and daydreaming about swimming in the pools on days off had everyone in a good mood.

The third day consisted of moving out of Chilao and moving up to 7100ft to camp at Mt. Pacifico. The crew was excited to be headed to a completely different part of the forest and to be working on the Pacific Crest Trail. In the morning, we headed to town for a few last minute supplies; we made good time to our campsite (despite another flat tire along the rugged steep road up to the campground). Once we reached it, we were all amazed at the view: one can see both Palmdale (a desert town on one side of the mountains), LA (on the other side of the mountains) and a whole new view of Angeles National Forest. The best: while watching the sun setting, seeing the lights in the cities slowly ignite, the vibrant orange from the sun over the desert and the brightness of the rising full moon. Despite what we thought, the nights were pleasant, with a constant wind but not as chilly as we suspected it would be.

The next two days were spent doing some much needed tread work on a closed section of the PCT. PDB filled the landscape around us, but the trail was completely clear of it (until about 2.5 miles in). A series of small unfortunate events plagued our project this hitch (including another flat tire on the second day of PCT repair), so on our third day at Mill Creek, we packed up our camp, worked our last day on the PCT and headed back to Chilao Fire Station. Despite the bumps in the road (figuratively and literally), the highlights include a trip to Coldstone Creamery (completely filthy from a day of work), our awesome isolated campsite at Mt. Pacifico, and working on the PCT!

On our last day, since we had gotten all the cleaning and meetings for post hitch out of the way the day before, we took a stroll into Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness and enjoyed a small picnic beside the waterfall around 2 miles down the trail. The water was freezing yet two LA gentleman stood in their bathing suits, fishing in the small pool with a net, which the five us were quite entertained by. And of course, per tradition, we ate our last-day-of-hitch meal (lentil quinoa coconut curry), while discussing our plans for the 4th of July.