1. When we arrived in Southern California we expected a barren waste land of desert, instead we were surprised at the amount of vegitation all around us.
2. Despite being in the desert, the trail begins to gain elevation early on, creating a diverse array of landscapes and a surprising amount of vegetation and forest.
3. ‘Hiker trash’ is the name and badge of honor given to thru hikers, and the disgusting, trashy habits they develop brought on by months in the backcountry. We first realized we became hiker trash only 5 days in, when a highway-side observation deck had us rub elbows against normal folk for the first time since we started.
4. The diversity of vegitation in Southern California is amazing, you’ll find tall trees in valleys and desert shrub as you climb in elevation.
5. There’s even precipitation in the desert. Pictured here are snowy peaks just 50 miles from Julian, California.
6. The first and only prairie in the desert section, and what a joy all of that flat trail was to walk through.
7. After miles of cow piles we finally saw our first cows near Warner Springs, CA.
8. Desert grasshoppers and locusts with intricate natural camoflauge.
9. At one with this big round rock.
10. Our first big climb of the PCT. San Jacinto peak, almost 11,000 feet!
11. Hiking a lot means eating a lot. And breakfast, whenever you can get it.
12. Just when you felt like you’ve made some headway on the trail, this sign shows up to point out that the 2,296 miles to go isn’t that different from the 2,650 total miles of trail. Thanks a lot, sign.
13. Outside of Wrightwood, CA is Mount Baden-Powell, a steep, 4 mile ascent. If we didn’t feel like we would roll right off the top we would have camped on the peak that night.
14. Taking in the views from Baden-Powell on a clear day.
15. The desert sun sets over a ridge.
16. Sally walks through ridges marked by fire, unfortunately not an uncommon site on the Pacific Crest Trail.
17. High elevation leads to great views of the towns and cities beyond the trail.
18. A dirt road detour along the trail scarred by the 2011 Station Fire.
19. Springtime flowers bloom, even in the desert.
20. An eerie scene: crows fly through a grove of burned, dead trees.
21. Awesome, sweeping views of mountains, valley and sky outside of Mojave, CA.
22. A hiker passes through an overpass tunnel a few miles outside of Agua Dulce, CA.
23. Sally poses for the camera in the Vasquez Rocks.
24. The morning sun rises high and heats things up in the dramatic landscape of the Vasquez Rocks.
25. The Pacific Crest Trail is graded for equestrian use. Two locals take their Mustangs out for a morning ride along the trail.
26. Hiker train!
27. Temperature regulation is one of the most frustrating things about hiking in the desert. You’re either too hot in the sun, or too cold in the shade. Sally attempts to get a little of a both while taking a nap.
28. Magnificent golden bush.
29. Out of the mountains, Sally heads towards Hikertown and the 17 mile aqueduct walk beyond.
30. Hikertown ‘hostel’ is an unusual place to stay along the trail. The fenced in compound features a mock Old West street.