Jennifer Whitcomb: PCT Thru-Hiker

Week 2 on the Pacific Crest Trail
Gorp.com

Week 2: Wrightwood, California

Inspiration Point, where I now sit, has to be one of the most awesome vistas between the two borders. I'm hanging out here for the evening with Colin and our new companion of late, Steve, figuring out what supplies we need to retrieve tomorrow from the town of Wrightwood, a few miles down the road. The high peaks around us here jut out in a semicircle from a vast blanket of clouds that extends to the horizon—perhaps to the ocean? I'm letting myself believe.

Steve has been with us since Warner Springs, so it seems odd to just be introducing him now. I sent the e-mail thingy ahead from Idylwild as a packweight-reducing exercise, and should get it back tomorrow at the P.O. to send this in.

Steve was our secret behind getting the free passes to the hot springs at Warner Springs, which we ended up soaking in for the majority of our day there. He travels our pace, seems amused by my chronic retardedness, and is the kind of insightful, articulate company that can make the miles fly by faster out here. I'd have loved to have him around during my AT trip in 1997, when I was battling all sorts of teenage madness and passed the miles babbling silently to myself. Having both him and Colin around to tag team has kept me from tipping over the edge of my sanity.

The stretch of trail between Warner Springs and here has been frustratingly repetitive as far as weather and terrain. We still have yet to be rained on for any more than 15 minutes at a stretch, and the sun has bleached my hair noticeably lighter and left me with the starkest farmer's tan of my life. There have been some gorgeous spots, however, like the ridge along Big Bear Lake, and some of the burned landscapes the trail crosses are hauntingly surreal.

I'm seeing plenty of register entries from northbounders a week or so ahead who are old friends of mine from the AT—some I didn't even know were out here. Hopefully I'll catch them at some point along the way . . . you never know, out here.

Next update, Agua Dulce or Tehachapi . . .

What is she carrying? Check out Jen's gear list.
Missed week one? See the trail dispatch archive.


Jen's Story: Three quick years have passed since this PCT thru-hike elbowed out grad school and a career jumpstart to claim the months following my college graduation. Not easy news for my parents, who in 1997 weathered my dropping out of college for six months to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. I know they're now thinking "sh**, here we go again."

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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