Trail Talk

Hiker Log: 500 Miles with Alexa

By on June 22, 2017

A while back we introduced you to Alexa McRoberts and her sisters, Kahla and Dayna. Together, they began their Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike in early May. Their first days on trail provided a quick introduction to PCT hiking: blistering sun, pouring rain and surprise snowstorms. Nevertheless, they persisted. Now, a month and a half later, the trio of sisters are working their way into the high country of California’s Sierra Nevada. To catch up with them, here are a few excerpts from Alexa’s blog, along with some photos from their journey.

Day 3: Low and behold, the weather report did not lie. I write this as we lay in a comfy bed in a cozy cabin in Mount Laguna. It surely wasn’t our intention to pay for a place to sleep by day 3, but after waking up to 2 inches of snow surrounding our tent this morning and experiencing a restless night of sleep, with 30 mph winds raging all night, we decided to take our first NERO (nearly zero miles), hiking 2.8 miles. We are extremely glad that we decided to take one of the last rooms available in this quant mountain town, because it proceeded to snow off and on all day long …

A snowy camp in the California desert, just days after beginning their thru-hike.

Day 7: We hiked about 8.5 miles into Warner Springs through foggy tall grass fields with piles of large boulders scattered throughout. It reminded me a lot of the countryside of England, when we took a school field tip during study abroad to see Stonehenge … After filling our bellies and relaxing in the shade most of the day, we hit the trail for some dusk hiking, just 5 miles, to a campsite next to a pretty nicely flowing creek. One thing we’ve noticed is that it is very rare to find a campsite next to a water source in Southern California …

Hiking thru California’s southern desert, en route to Idylwild.

Day 12: As we approached the summit, we started getting our first glimpse of snow and even did some minor snow hiking (nothing too intense, no need for snow equipment—yet). It was great to leave the heat of the desert and walk on snow but it was especially neat for one hiker, Spring, from Florida, who is hiking with Burp and Pistol Pete, who saw snow for the first time today! We enjoyed the summit for over an hour, laying across the rocks like the thousands of lizards we’ve been seeing, not wanting to leave such a spectacular spot …

Alexa, Kahla and Dayna completing the big climb up Mt. San Jacinto.

Day 18: The next destination, which we were eager to end our long day at, was Deep Creek Hot Springs, the one and only hot spring actually on trail … After a quick dinner, we submerged ourselves into the HOT pool, which conveniently was just a rock ledge away from the cooler river, where we could dip back and forth when the heat became too much … The sun started releasing what looked like paintbrush strokes of vibrant orange, yellow and pink, as we sat back and watched the portrait of a sky come to life before us …

A vivid sunset with a hot soak at Warner Hot Springs.

Day 28: I’m hoping I’ll look back and say these were the hottest days we’ll experience on trail. In order to survive and continue a forward progression, we spent [these] days night hiking and early morning hiking with small naps pieced together during the day in order to make this section possible. The limited water sources acted as check points as our zombie bodies awoke to 3:30am alarms … The hours between 11am to 4pm were strict “No Hiking” time zones. It simply didn’t make sense to walk under the burning sun, wasting so much energy and consuming so much water when hiking at dusk, dawn and when it was dark, was so much easier mentally and physically, even if it meant sleep was compromised …

PCT thru-hiking companions celebrating their 500-mile milestone.

Day 32: Today we take our second official zero day. Both mentally and physically, the desert has put every single one of us through the ringer and with each hour I spend off my feet, I can feel my muscles, open foot sores and mind recover exponentially … With an 8 day food bag (by far the biggest yet), we are enjoying a relaxing day as horizontal as possible, getting ready for the next 136-mile stretch to Kennedy Meadows where we will take on the next challenges—many feet of snow and raging river crossings! 

Another brilliant sunset in California’s Mojave Desert.

We’ll continue to share Alexa, Kahla and Dayna’s progress as they make their way farther north. Once they reach Oregon, they’ll be sharing some of trail conditions they encounter along the way. We’ll include their reports in our weekly updates. Stay tuned for the next part of their adventure.

You can check out Alexa’s full blog with more photos at Images are provided courtesy of Alexa McRoberts.



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