Mill Creek Summit (PCT mile 418.6) to Camp Glenwood (mile 400.6)
(18 miles, +4,200/-3,500 feet).
Thanks to my lovely and supportive parents, Half Cookie and I get to do a backpacking trip about twice a year. They come down and party with our kids while we hit the trail.
This year we were going to go to Capitol Reef, but Half Cookie’s ankle has been bothering her so we decided to stay closer to home and do a stretch of the PCT in section D.
In spite of her ankle, Half Cookie wanted to do some 20 mile days, and I obliged by planning a 4-day 80 mile trip. But today it took us some time to get to the trailhead, so we didn’t quite make our 20. We will make up the miles later in the trip.
We left around 4am and made it to Cal State San Bernardino around 6am where we called an Uber to follow us to Cajon Junction. We left our car there and then had the Uber take us to Mill Creek Summit. The driver was a Taos Puebloan who was listening to her traditional music on the radio, so we talked about her culture as she drove. She was kind of nutty, but given all the hardship her family apparently endured it’s pretty remarkable how resilient she seemed.
By 7:30am we were at the trailhead and ready to hike.
Wildflowers were still in bloom everywhere, and after a little bit we encountered a lovely trail angel sign for the Nobo thru-hikers.
We were walking eastward into the sun and it was already warm and a little windy as Zephyrs swirled around us from the desert floor.
The lupines were especially lovely.
There were also thousands of ladybugs everywhere.
The first few miles of trail passed through a burn zone that was stark and beautiful, but it also harbored the dreaded Poodle Dog Bush, a poisonous plant that causes intense blisters if it comes in contact with your skin.
A 1500 foot climb gave us incredible views to the North and brought us to a healthy pine forest that littered the trail with springy needles.
Afterwards we descended through another burn zone where we found the Fountainhead Spring (Ayn was a no-show), ate lunch, and continued on our way.
The yucca blooms were especially impressive along this stretch.
Our afternoon climb brought us into the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness and back into pine forests.
We stopped for dinner by a piped spring with delicious cold water.
We thought about trying for 20 miles today, but at mile 18 we hit a nice place to camp near a vacant cabin for the “Glenwood Dads.” It was luxurious to idle at a picnic table while we watched the sky dim.
A thru-hiker appeared shortly after us and also stayed the night. She had had a harrowing day negotiating the road walk around the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog endangered species trail closure (we are headed there tomorrow) and was separated from some of her trail buddies. It was nice hearing about some of her adventures!