Day 33 – 36: Visiting Irvine

Days 33 to 36: We woke up to cold, cloudy, miserable weather at Three Points Trailhead and decided to head to Irvine for Memorial Day weekend, in part so that Erica could upgrade her cold weather gear (again).

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May 21th, 2015 through May 24th, 2015
Start location:Three Points Trailhead, mile 403.1
End location: Irvine!
Miles hiked: 0
Miles driven: 28 miles hitchhiked on Hwy 2, 50 miles to Irvine courtesy of Erica’s dad

 

We slept in until almost 8 am after another cold and restless night in the Angeles National Forest. Upon waking, we found more than the usual amount of condensation inside the tent. When we finally dragged ourselves out of our sleeping bags to look outside, we saw why: Overnight, more clouds had blown in, making for another yucky morning. As mentioned in the previous post, Erica was already getting worn down by the bad weather and tough terrain.  The worsening doom and gloom was more than she could handle, so after a few hours of hemming and hawing, we decided to head down to a nearby restaurant, Newcomb’s Ranch, and investigate the possibility of heading to Irvine for a long weekend.

Three Points parking lot at SR-2 (Angeles Crest Highway) and the Pacific Crest Trail

Three Points parking lot at SR-2 (Angeles Crest Highway) and the Pacific Crest Trail

Originally, we had planned to hike 2.5 more days into Acton and then maybe go down to Irvine for the holiday weekend, which normally coincides with Rick’s birthday too. As we learned long ago though, things don’t always go as planned. We were both tired and unusually stinky. One of the less obvious downsides of cold weather is that it’s difficult to maintain any semblance of daily hygiene on the trail. Ordinarily, when the evening lows aren’t in the 40s and 30s, we strip off our hiking clothes at the end of the day and use water, camp soap, and a camp towel or bandana to wash off before changing into our sleeping clothes. But in cold weather, it’s just too uncomfortable to do. Erica has a much lower tolerance for this combination of stink and cold than Rick does, partially because her cold weather gear, as it turns out, is not up to snuff.

Sitting around sipping coffee at Newcomb’s Ranch, we got in touch with Erica’s dad, Chuck, who agreed to come pick us up from La Canada Flintridge (at the end of Hwy 2) that afternoon. We would just need to hitchhike from Newcomb’s Ranch down the twisty road to civilization, which proved very easy to do; As soon as we stuck our thumbs out, a car just leaving the restaurant pulled over to pick us up.

Although we didn’t get the driver’s name, it turned out that he grew up in the Eagle Rock area and has friends that went to Culver City High School–some of whom Erica vaguely remembered from her time there. Small world indeed!

Less than one hour later, we arrived at the parking lot of Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, where Erica’s dad was waiting to drive us the rest of the way to Irvine. Traffic, as always, sucked. The drive took at least 90 minutes. We definitely owe Chuck for going out of his way to get us on short notice–thanks Dad/Chuck!

Rick’s mom, Michele, and her boyfriend, Mickey, were there to greet us when we got to Irvine. While Rick and Erica rushed upstairs to shower, Mickey and Michele put together a spur-of-the-moment dinner feast than include steaks, corn on the cob, and baked beans–yum! The five us ate and hung around chatting for a while before Chuck headed back up to the LA area. A couple hours later, we were conked out in our own bed for the first time in over a month. Many thanks to our parents for making this unplanned vacation happen!

As of today, May 24, we are still in Irvine, hanging out with family, fixing/replacing gear, planning the next sections of our hike, and updating and debugging this blog. Oh, and eating and sleeping–we’re doing lots of that too! We’re planning to hit the trail tomorrow, after ~4 very restful days off.

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