We visited our mate McDonald’s on day 28. This stretch of the trail was definitely my favourite so far with all the perks along the trail! After another fast 13 miles, we arrive at 12pm – in time for lunch! I polished off a quarter pounder, large fries and 8 chicken nuggets and a McFlurry while Andrew guzzled down a McChicken, a cheeseburger, 12 chicken nuggets and a Mcflurry.
On day 29 we hiked 22 miles to Wrightwood which was a longest day to date. The first 15 miles of the trail was a low gradient uphill with the remaining being undulating. I was uncertain whether we would hike the full distance but Andrew was determined to make it to town to enjoy $1.50 tacos at a local bar. As we hiked up the hill, the trail changed from being dusty dirt to moist earth.
We finally arrived at highway 2 at 5.20pm – at this point we were both limping slightly because our legs knee down were aching from the long day. We wondered how long it would take us to get a hitch since there was no traffic, however, as soon as Andrew reached the highway, a black sedan appeared from around the corner.
“Stick your thumb out!” I shouted about 4 metres behind him, which he promptly did. The car screeched to a halt and we jogged up to see a young family of 4 inside. They were happy to take us to Wrightwood which was on their way, but we were concerned that we wouldn’t fit into the car with our backpacks. The woman sitting in the front passenger’s seat immediately got out of the car and sat in the back, sitting her young daughter in her lap. We were so grateful for them and were ecstatic to get our tacos!
Day 30 was a relaxing zero day in Wrightwood. Wrightwood was a very hiker friendly town which was reflected by the black boxes of free stuff for hikers at the local supermarket and the amenities available to hikers at the local hardware store.
The next day we had an easy 5 mile hike from the highway to Vincent’s gap. The road was closed at the Vincent’s gap so we cowboy camped by the road.
On day 32, we summited Mount Baden Powell (9,400 ft / 2,865m) which was named after the founder of the Boy Scouts. We started hiking at 5.45am as we knew that there would be snow. After 1 mile of switchbacks the trail disappeared underneath the snow and the foot steps of previous hikers went straight up the fault line of the mountain. At one point we were literally on our hands and knees scrambling up a scree on the side of the mountain. With each step we took, the ground would crumble away and rocks would fall below us. I was terrified of losing my footing and falling down the mountain. We later learned that this was not the “correct” way up! Finally we summited and enjoyed the view from the top where there is a monument. Going down the otherside of the ridge was not as easy as we thought. It was still tricky with lots of snow which we tried avoid with some bushwhacking.
On day 33, we hiked up Mt. Williamson which was a steep hike up and down but luckily there was minimal snow. It honestly felt a bit of a waste of effort since highway 2 ran next to the mountain and was relatively flat. However, we stuck to the trail! This night I also made my first campfire, including making the stone firepit from scratch.
On day 34, we reached the 400 mile marker – there were six signs in total! We were rewarded with cell reception which allowed us to order pizza to the Mill Creek fire station. It was a mad dash to the bottom of the hill to make sure we arrived at the station before the pizza delivery guy but we ended up with 40 minutes to spare!