Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another Lesson On The Trail, Acorn Style - Day 39 (5/10/2014)

Day 39
Mile 363.5 to 370.9 + 3 miles on Acorn Trail
10.4 miles

Today's lesson was brought to us by the Acorn Trail. The Acorn trail is the very steep trail that we hiked down yesterday to resupply in Wrightwood. Today we needed to hike back up it to get back on the PCT. 

The sign at the Acorn Trailhead says, 2.1 miles and 1,500 feet of elevation gain. (The extra 0.9 miles comes from hiking the road to the trailhead.) I am not sure how to do the math to figure out how many feet we go up over a foot of distance but, based on hiking it, the trail goes inverted it is so steep. 

What is the lesson we learned from the Acorn Trail? We learned that energy spent on these side trails, which are not actively moving us forward to Canada, is energy wasted. Therefore, we are going to try and eliminate them whenever possible. 

The Acorn kicked my ass hard, and I had very little energy left by the time we got on the PCT. we still needed to make some miles so I plodded along as best as I could. My arms and legs felt like lead weights and I had very little energy. Every uphill climb was a battle.  I tried to move along as best as I could on the flats and downhills but it was well below my usual pace.

I am not sure why these uphills have been kicking my butt the last few days but they have been and it has been making the hike less than fun. It is unfortunate because everything else feels pretty good, my legs feel good and my feet feel good.

My only thought on the matter is that I am 'hitting the wall'. Before Mandie and I set out on this journey, I read an article about hiker nutrition. It talked about what you need to eat so you do not 'hit the wall'; which foods were best for fats, carbs and proteins and which amount and combination of those categories you should eat. Clearly, a lot of that information went in one ear and out the other so I think it may be time to reread that article. 

Tomorrow I am going to try and eat more of the good foods that we now have. Hopefully that will help and I won't hit the wall tomorrow. 

A little bit more about the events of the day...

We got out of the motel a bit later that we wanted to. Partly because I was dragging my feet not wanting to hike to the Acorn Trail and then up the Acorn Trail.

As we walked through town we walked by a gentleman that was getting out of his car. I stopped him before he walked away and asked if he could take us up to the Acorn Trail, it is a very steep road to the top. He said 'Okay' and drove us 3/4 of the way there. At that point there is a sign that says, 'STOP Residents Only'. Well 3/4 is better than walking the whole way. As we were walking the rest of the way up I saw a truck coming towards us. I immediately stuck out my thumb and a man and his dog stopped. I asked if he wouldn't mind taking us to the top to which he replied, 'I live at the top, hop on in the back of the truck.' Score! We still had to hike up the trail but those rides sure helped.

We got to hike through Mtn. High ski area, which was pretty neat to do. I had no idea the trail went right through that area. And, we saw a small herd of deer. 

We are now camped at the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center in the Angeles National Forest. We have hiked through San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and are now in Los Angeles.

We had read reports of the water quality here at the Visitor Center being very metallicy but didn't expect it to be so bad. Luckily for us the Visitor Center sold bottles of water for a small donation. I asked Arnie, the Volunteer here, for a couple of gallons but he couldn't spare that much so he gave me what he could, which was plenty. I of course gave them a nice donation. Arnie was a nice generous man who had experience with the PCT and hikers. Before he left for the day he brought us a couple more bottles of water out of the goodness of his heart. Thank you Arnie. 

A little later as we were making dinner a few more hikers showed up and joined us at our table. They are, Twinkle Toes, Sheriff Woody, and somebody else who we don't recall. All three very nice guys. I even gave Twinkle Toes some diaper rash cream for his butt chafe. That was a little embarrassing but we gotta help each other out here. 

It is a freezing cold night and it looks like the winds are picking up. Time to cuddle!