Days 37-38 (May 25th and 26th): We got a ride back to the trail from our friend, Joe. We hiked through recently burned areas (2009 Station Fire or the Mill Creek Fire) past the new Mill Creek fire station. We camped near Mt Gleason Rd, also near Big Buck Campground.
Day 37, May 25th
Start location: SR-2, Three Points Trailhead
End location: A stealth site about 3 miles after the trailhead, along a long-abandoned dirt road.
Miles hiked: About 3
We spent very little time on the trail today Back in Irvine, we had lunch with friends and family. We didn’t arrive at the Three Points Trailhead until about 6pm. Once there, we said our goodbyes to our ride, Rick’s friend Joe. This had been the second time Joe helped us out on the trail by giving us a ride. We were hiking by 6:15pm. We stopped around 7:15pm, having only moved a few miles.
Day 38 (May 26th)
Start location: About three trail miles north of the SR-2 Three Points trailhead.
End location: a dirt road at mile 424.9 (LAT LON 34.37990, -118.13948), very near Big Buck campground.
Miles hiked: about 19
We were walking by 8:30am today. We didn’t wake until about 7:15am, meaning we got packed up in an hour and 15 minutes. Possibly a record!
Our speedy start was ruined, though, about a mile into the hike. The earliest mile of the morning had been over a narrow, eroding ridgeline. Nothing tall (no good views), but eroded enough to be annoying underfoot. In this area, equestrian users are requested to take an alternate trail. That alternate trail is along an abandoned, paved road. When we got to the northern junction of the actual PCT and equestrian alternate, there was a yellow road sign that’d been shot at. Rick wanted a picture…
But where was the camera? After a brief search, we realized it’d been left behind. Rick went back to the campsite and, sure enough, there was the camera. It’d fallen out of Rick’s pocket while sitting on the side of a hill.
40 minutes later, we were walking. Climbing, specifically. As we climbed, views opened up towards Palmdale (north) and Phelan (north east).
For the first (about) 5 miles of the day, nothing was burnt. After that, this day was about forest fires. We know the 2009 Station Fire happened in this area; there may have been others.
Around 2:30pm we arrived at the Mill Creek Fire Station along the Angeles Forest Highway (NOT the same as the Angeles Crest Highway, or SR-2, that we’d been following a few days earlier). With burnt forest on all sides and high tension power lines above, we and our fellow hikers made the best of the exposed day-use area.
The water at this day use area is a spigot. That spigot is attached to a water pipe inside a water junction box (the kind of junction boxes often seen at city street corners). Because the lid of the box was missing, excess water from the spigot fell into the junction box to form a disgusting soup of hiker-ickies. Indeed, one of the hikers also gathered there used the spigot and a bandana to wash his feet and genitals, repeatedly rinsing his bandana into the area below the spigot. Disgusting much? #FAILTRAILETIQUETTE
We showered there using a new contraption Rick assembled from stuff found at REI. It’s a valve which attaches to our water bladders’ quick release valves, essentially functioning as a gravity-fed showerhead when the bladder s hung above you. It worked great, and (thanks to the bladder) we can wash AWAY from the water source we and others depend on.
We left the Mill Creek Fire Station’s Day Use Area around 4pm. We hiked another 6.3 miles, all through burned forest, to our present location (GPS coordinates given above). Because the area burnt recently, there are amazing quantities of Poodle Dog Bush in the area. Thankfully, trail crews have cleared most of it from the trail. A five-foot jaunt off trail in any direction would likely be unpleasant, though.
We’ve stopped at trail crossing with a dirt road (again, GPS above). It’s incredibly ugly due to everything being burnt and our view being of a burnt hill. We arrived here at 6:45 pm.
Since that time, 5 other hikers showed up. They’re all cowboy camping. It’s a group of 4 guys and one girl. We haven’t met these hikers before, nor have we seen them before. And we were too tired to socialize with them much, so we’ve probably come off as an antisocial married couple. Which we are!