PCT 2019: Day 30, Guffy Campground to Wrightwood

You put the load right on me

Spamalot sitting on a ski lift chair

Once I warmed up last night I was able to sleep well.

Then this morning I let myself sleep a few extra minutes because I knew we would only be hiking five easy miles today. We were heading to the town of Wrightwood. This would be a nero (near-zero hiking miles) day.

After Gilligan left us at Cajon Pass she went to Wrightwood and found an Airbnb for us to rent for tonight. It was big enough for all of us to stay there.

DateMonday, April 22, 2019
WeatherClear sky with temperatures from low 40s to upper 50s
Trail ConditionsAvoided sketchy snow section by following road; remainder of trail was downhill and easy
Today's Miles5.0
Trip Miles369.3

While preparing to leave camp I talked to Simple Man. He mentioned he was low on water. I had plenty for today’s short hike, so I offered him some of mine.

Captain still had not yet eaten all of the burgers and nuggets he had been carrying since our stop at McDonald’s and was eating some for breakfast.

Captain modeling his McDonald's wrapper crown

He then modeled the crown he was making with burger wrappers. It was unfinished, but he still had a few burgers he was saving for lunch.

Leaving Guffy Campground on the road

We left camp together at 7:30 a.m.

Some recent comments posted by hikers in the Guthooks app said the trail was still dangerous because of snow. They suggested walking on a road that ran parallel to the trail, so we decided to do that.

View of sketchy trail

A couple spots along the road were near enough to the trail that we could look down and see it. From the road, the trail looked sketchy and I was glad we had decided to walk on the road. The slope of the mountain was steep, so a slip on the trail could have easily resulted in a swift slide for who-knows-how-far.

Large blowdown on the road

By contrast, walking on the road was easy. We had to walk around a couple large trees that had been blown down onto the road, but otherwise, it was a smooth trip.

Mountain High resort ski lift

We took our time, stopping more than once along the short distance. One stop was to check out some ski lifts that were part of Mountain High ski resort.

The trail passed two of the resort's three ski areas. The first of these was originally called Blue Ridge. A chairlift has been running here each winter since 1947.

By 9:30 a.m. we arrived at the road that led to Wrightwood, California Highway 2. It was evident right away that we would not get a quick hitch into town.

The highway was still closed for the season at higher elevations, but was open in the direction of town. Still, because it was closed only a couple miles in the other direction, there wasn’t much little traffic passing by the trailhead.

Soon after we arrived there, a couple hikers who arrived before us got a ride from a forest ranger.

There was no cell service available here, so there was no way to call for a ride. We had no choice but to sit by the side of the road and hope for a car to drive by.

After waiting about 15 minutes one car did drive by, but it didn’t stop. Another drove by about 15 minutes later, but again, that driver didn’t stop.

Two bicyclists also rode by. We stuck out our thumbs, but they weren’t willing to give us a lift either.

Captain works on his burger wrapper crown

While we waited, Captain ate the last of his burgers and was able to finish his McDonald’s wrapper crown.

Steel Belted and Jenny greet Spamalot and Rainbow Sherbet

After we waited about 45 minutes, our luck changed. Steel Belted and his wife, Jenny, arrived at the trailhead in a car. Jenny was dropping him off to resume his hike.

Jenny agreed to not only take some of us into Wrightwood, she said she would also come back to pick up the rest of our group if we were unable to get a ride.

Then we hit upon the idea of Jenny and Steel Belted staying with us in the Airbnb. There was enough room for them. It didn’t take much persuasion before they agreed.

Jenny took Steel Belted, MJ and Rainbow back to Wrightwood, while the rest of us remained at the trailhead.

While we waited we hoped a car would stop for us so that Jenny would not have to return.

Moments later, a trail angel from Wrightwood arrived. He was dropping off a hiker, but he only had room for two passengers. Captain and Spamalot left with him, so Just Awesome and I had to wait a little longer.

No one else came up the road before Jenny returned to pick us up.

At this time it was still too early to go to our Airbnb, so Jenny took us to Mountain Hardware in Wrightwood.

The hardware store sold several items that hikers need and had an attractive offer. For a purchase of $20 or more, a fuel canister cost just one cent more.

Just Awesome signs a poster at Mountain Hardware in Wrightwood

Mountain Hardware provided other services for hikers. A canopy was located behind the store to give hikers a shady spot to hang out.

We signed a large banner that hung on the side of the store. Afterward, some of us walked to the post office, which was nearby.

I mailed home a few cold-weather items I no longer needed.

Airbnb in Wrightwood

We were allowed to go to the Airbnb at noon. It was a nice, cabin-like house in a quiet neighborhood. Two bedrooms were located upstairs and a large room of beds was downstairs.

After everyone was cleaned up we walked to a restaurant called Evergreen for lunch. There was much discussion about a movie to rent for an evening watch party. We eventually agreed to rent “The Matrix” because everyone was shocked to learn Falls had never seen it.

And yes, Wrightwood still had a video rental store. It was part of a used book store. While we were there, MJ and the other women wanted to buy a romance novel featuring Fabio on the cover. MJ’s encounter with a Fabio look-alike four days ago at the hot springs was still on their mind.

We then went to a grocery store and bought food for the next six days on the trail. My groceries cost me $102, which was higher than I normally spend, but not surprisingly so. Wrightwood is a small town in California, and I expected to pay more than I would pay at home.

Returning to the Airbnb, we repacked our food and then gathered up our dirty laundry.

There was no washer and dryer in the Airbnb, but we were told by the owner a lady down the street would gladly do our laundry.

Spamalot and Falls carrying load of laundry

To carry all of our dirty clothes, we stuffed them in a sleeping bag liner. When Spamalot and Falls hauled the load down the street to Mary Ann Freeland’s house they looked like they were carrying a dead body.

Gilligan and Mary Ann Freeland

After our pizza order was delivered we sat down to watch our movie. By the time “The Matrix" was over it was time to pick up our laundry.

Mrs. Freeland wouldn’t take any money for doing our laundry, so we gave her a lawn ornament, which we all signed on the back. It was a small gesture, but we wanted to let her know how much we appreciated her kindness.

Wrightwood has been as hiker-friendly as any hiker could want in a town. Mrs. Freeland was the perfect example of that. She was giving without expecting anything in return, welcoming without any judgment.

This was a good place to nero.

I pulled in to Nazareth, was feeling 'bout half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
Hey mister can you tell me, where a man might find a bed
He just grinned and shook my hand, and no was all he said

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fanny
And... you put the load right on me


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.