"The path ahead and the path behind, try to stay in the present mind." - Joey Campanelli on the Pacific Crest Trail

Starting in May, Joey Campanelli set off running along the Pacific Crest Trail. Beginning in Mexico, the 2,650 mile voyage cuts through California, Oregon, and Washington before ending in Canada. Joey Camps’ goal was to beat the self-supported trail record of 60 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes, set by Heather “Anish” Anderson in 2013. This is his retro-diary. Check back for updates as they become available...

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 1: "Ease In Please"

Tuesday May 19, 2015

Welcome to my Joey "Flash" Camps write up of my PCT hike, 2015.

The goal of the hike was to have fun, experience some beauty, and ultimately see what my body could do.

The current unsupported record for the PCT is set by Heather "Anish" Anderson at 60days 17hours 12mins. The current supported record for the PCT is set by Joe McConaughy at 53 days 6 hours 37mins. 

I will be traveling as an unsupported hiker, which means:

Walk into and out of resupply towns to purchase or pick up prepacked and mailed supplies.

Hike as a backpacker, carrying all food and equipment between resupply towns.

Follow the official PCT route, including official closure detours.

Do not have anyone follow, or provide support in a prearranged manner.

Do not get into a vehicle for any reason during the attempt.

Honestly and thoroughly document the attempt.

Practice Leave-No-Trace ethics.

The unsupported record miles per day (MPD) is ~43.9mpd and supported ~49.9mpd. Honestly, I want the unsupported record, sure, but what I wanted more than anything is to see what I was capable of, give it my best and see what it is.

I was thinking and still think, that unsupported I could do 50mpd with everything going right and me absolutely laying it out there.

So here we go...

Day 1  5-19-2015   
Mile 0 – Mile 52.7 

Last year when I set off for the Appalachian Trail (AT) everything was new, backpacking, hiking, long trails, new. There was a nervousness and naivety that surrounded me.

Well I got hiking and that quickly went away and I was comfortable. This year, there was build up, anticipation …planning. Yes, I spent many hours at the computer, first just getting all of my resupply boxes dialed and shipped. But then it was time spent looking for anything that could help me carry less food/water, places to stay, outfitter stores in case equipment broke, anything. I was scrolling through the PCT maps, google maps and even mapping out routes into town on mapmyride to find the shortest distance.

I spent so much time looking at maps, that eventually on the trail I could imagine those topo lines as I ventured down this section or that. A LOT of time. I was prepared. Ready. No. You are never ready. But I was comfortable and confident in the planning I did.  

So off I flew to San Diego, where I was picked up by trail angel Robert Riess. I spent the night at his house along with the other five hikers he had picked up and would be dropping of at the trail in the morning. See that is the thing about long trails, there is a magic, a special power. It transforms people, it makes them better in some way. So countless times, you will encounter complete strangers that are willing to bend over backwards for you, a dirty, smelly hiker that they just met. In this case, I was fairly clean, I had my usual stink and the ride’s were prearranged. But none the less, we will see instances of magic later in our story. 

At the house I met two English brothers who were on holiday who plan to hike the entirety of the trail averaging about 30 miles per day (pretty fast) One just finished college and the other between years. We decided to walk together to get lunch/groceries/dinner (our last supper) As we talked about our trip plans, we made way to talking about me hiking the AT last year and ski mountaineering all winter long and now hiking the PCT. One of them turned to me and asked, “so are you a professional athlete?” I chuckled at the question. “No” I said, “Though I would like to be” “I am just a ski bum, so like a pro athlete, just no money!” I grabbed a bunch of veggies, pasta salad and juice, the stuff I would be missing out on the trail and we headed back. 

Now we are sitting around waiting to go to sleep, waiting to be driven to the trail. Can’t we just be hiking already. Suddenly, I realize, geez I am in sunny San Diego about to start hiking the PCT. It really hadn’t dawned on me until that moment. Why just yesterday, I was looking out my window in Alta at a fresh 16” of snow that had just fallen and all I could think about was skiing. It is okay though, it is mid May and it will turn to Jank before an hour passes. But still, hiking in the desert? So I am realizing this and starting to get “nervous” probably not the correct work, but my body started vibrating with energy. I AM READY, I think. So I go to sleep. 

We pile in the van at 430 and are driven to the trial head by Mr Riess. It is awfully quiet, and Mr Riess says, “this is the quietest bunch of hikers I have had yet” I couldn’t let that happen! So I start talking boorishly about the trail. Making sure everyone knows to go to the bathroom by water sources, don’t filter water (that is stupid) don’t carry water in the desert and make sure to sleep on top of ridges when you get into the Sierras. We all have a snicker and return to silence…oh well, I tried. We arrive at the trial head and climb out of the van haphazardly. We took a group photo. I clocked my starting time (5:30am May 19th 2015).

Off I went, running away from these poor strangers I had met and disturbed oh so rapidly. It had sprinkled the night before. So instead of being sandy and soft, it was smooth and hard almost like sidewalk cement. It made for easy passage and I couldn’t believe how fast I was going. I was trying to not go “too hard” and be really sore or tired for tomorrow. That being said I love running and I did run, when it was “easy”. I saw two rattle snakes in the matter of 20 minutes on the Fred Canyon ridge. I don’t mind rattlers, but boy do they snap you back into reality when you are day dreaming in the midday sun. I started Chaffing between my legs, something I kind of expected wearing my compression tights in the heat. I shoved my compression sock down there and was good to go. As the sun headed down, I eased off the throttle and began to cool down. I rolled into Pioneer Mail campground at about eight in the evening. I felt like I wanted to keep going but I thought 53 miles was a good start and I wanted to be able to “go” tomorrow. Slept like a baby.

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 2: "Getting Lost (It's a Good Thang)"

Wednesday May 20, 2015

Miles 52.7 - 106.2  Sleep 2100 - 430

Felt good waking up and I was off.  The sun rise was off, the hook.  I was on the East side of a ridge and had a view for the entire hour and a half show.  I couldn’t help but feel like “hell yea, this is where I am suppose to be” At some point in the early morning, I reached the Mason Truck rd, I had to walk a ways on the road then take a left.  I flipped my pack around and started eating a packet of Ramen.  This is a strategy I use and like; I eat the ramen dry, which I fancy the taste to be like some kind of cracker.  Then I use the seasoning packet to flavor my water and give my body the extra 1.4-1.8grams of sodium it craves.  I am a bit hypotensive and therefore on any given day consume a ton of sodium; imagine how much I consume in the desert heat.  Sure that I would see the sign, I just kept walking.  It must have been when I was eating and not paying attention.  But I started getting the feeling that I missed the turn and was going too far down the road.  I looked at the map and thought, “no maybe, I haven’t gone far enough”  “It is always farther than you think” but then I started going downhill and reached a switchback.  I knew I had gone too far.  I let out a quick “bleep” and then told myself to calm down, it is no big deal.  When I got back to where the trail was, I guess I had gone about 1.2 miles in the wrong direction, adding 2.4 miles to the journey, oh well! 

After that I was cruising.  Smooth easy trail, easy grade and some downhill got me to the highway 78 water cache a little before noon.  Now 24 miles until the next water on the trail and in the mid day sun.  I camel’d up and took three liters of water. I had electrolyte tabs and only used four.  It was easier and more comfortable than I thought.  Of course, usually I can do a 20 mile run at home with no water.  But you get nervous seeing as you are backpacking, in a foreign place and it is hotter than usual.  I definitely got fried on this south facing ridge, with the sun high in the sky.  But as the sun went down and the temperatures cooled, I came back to life.  I was booking along after my fresh water refill and enjoying moving by headlamp.  When I saw two eyes staring at me from about 300 feet.  I thought “stupid deer”, but then it blinked and moved.  Deer usually just stare at you, because they are dumb and think that you have just as bad of vision as they do, and if they don’t move, you won’t be able to see them.  So now my attention is drawn.  It was hard to tell but by the way it moved and the under belly looked white, I presumed it was a mountain lion (hard to say).  But I counted it, and picked up my pace…as if I would out run the mountain lion.  My thought on mountain lions is this; I was born in the year of the Fire Tiger and I am a Leo.  Basically, I am a Fire Tigon.  A mountain lion would have to be crazy to eff with me.  Now this is just what I tell myself…we all know the reality.  But I know I won’t go down without a fight…if I get the chance.  Most likely, if a mountain lion were to attack you, they would sneak up and get your neck, you wouldn’t even know you were dead.  So nothing to worry about, so I don’t.  Moving at night always gives me a weird, eerie feeling, the senses spike and I feel super attentive, but after awhile I tire and just want to sleep.  I was exhausted; so I ate, brushed my teeth and cooled down.  I set up camp by Eagle rock and passed out.

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 3: "Paradise is a Taco Salad"

Thursday May 21, 2015

Miles 106.2 - 159.7 Sleep 2200 - 400

When I woke up, I felt rather tired and a bit sore.  No big deal, I should be.  It took me almost two hours to warm up and feel semi decent.  As I was leaving Warner Springs, down a hill and across a creek, I saw him good.  I turned my headlamp to the high setting, which is like a car low beam.  The mountain lion jumped ten feet in air and to the side.  Almost enough to make it out of the lights field.  Damn, I thought.  If I could move like that.  But then I remembered, that they over heat in no time.  Yes, I guess I would rather be a human for my adventure.  However; I often envy some of the other creatures on this planet and there physical abilities.  The day got hot quick once some fog and clouds cleared.  About 23 miles in, I took my only rest.  I found a spot with a back rest and feet up combo.  I quickly untie my shoes and rip of my socks.  I lay the shoes and socks in the sun and make sure my feet get some too.  This is an important thing I try to do each and every day.  I don't like to take breaks, I lose momentum.  But in a 16-18 hour day, there is plenty of time to get it back.  It feels refreshing when you put your socks and shoes back on and they feel lighter and drier.  But the most important for me, is that it give the skin a chance to dry and become hard again, instead of staying wet and getting softer.  I think it will be less of a problem on the PCT because of the drier climate compared to the AT.  But I am not taking any chances and I am staying on top of it. 

 It seemed like the miles were getting longer and I knew the heat and sun was getting to me.  It is funny to me, when I know I have a “check point” coming up, in this case the Pine to Palms Highway.  I start guessing that “oh this is that last bend before the descent” or “this is that turn you make, then you are almost to the turn to the descent, so you are almost there” to which, I start giving myself shit.  Because it is always farther than you think and I really have no clue where I am.  I will look over at a boulder and think to myself (sarcastically) “oh yea Joey, that is that boulder on map, you are almost there…..yea shut up and just keep moving” Yes, I talk to myself that way.  But when you slow down as you get closer to a target, you got to do something to just get you moving faster again. So a little tough love.  Finally I saw the Pine to Palms highway and I was relieved as I knew it was a short descent and then a mile to my resupply.  I got to Paradise Café, plugged in and ordered a taco salad.  I got my resupply box and started repacking.  I ate my salad, finished packing and used the facilities.  I was back off hiking in just about an hour.  Quick resupplies are something I want to focus on.  I find that the longer I spend in “town” the more I eat, the more comfortable I get and the less I want to leave.  I got back on the trail feeling good and super satisfied that I did a quick resupply.  I rode this energy and hiked for another three hours feeling good. The last hour I ate and brushed my teeth.  Found a campsite and settled down with a feeling of supreme satisfaction.  I had my first “battle” day, where things didn’t go easy-smooth, I had a good resupply and I crushed it on miles.  I have no problem patting myself on the back, except my backpack is in the way;-)

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 4: "Mt. San Jacinto"

Friday May 22, 2015

Miles 159.7 - 204.8 Sleep 2200 - 317

Woke up to rain drops dripping on my head.  It was 3:17am, 43 minutes before my alarm.  I figured I might as well get up, get going and finish the road walk section before too many cars were out.  It was windy with the rain kind of spitting, which made for a cold morning.  I was on the Hurkey Creek section when I clipped a low hanging branch.  It grabbed my rain jacket (must have just been a funny angle) and I heard a loud rip.  Looking down, I let out a slight curse, but kept moving.  I had a foot long gash in the torso section of my jacket.  When the rain let up for a bit, I took the jacket off and taped it with duct tape.  It didn’t really hold and I could tell was not going to be a long term fix.  The next thing I did was check my phone for cell service.  Bingo, searched outfitters and found “Nomad Ventures” in Idyllwild only 1.9 miles off the trail.  At the store I was also able to pick up a thermal top and some wool socks.  I didn’t have any warm layers yet, as I thought I was going to be hot in the desert. 

I got out of town and had a wonderful, fog engulfed, spitting rain/snow traverse of Mt. San Jacinto.  The nice thing about being cold, whether you are tired, hungry, thirsty, you are constantly reminded that you are cold.  The best way to get warm; is move and move faster.  I think this helped me make quick time around the mountain.  Finally, in the afternoon after descending the Fuller ridge a bit, the sun came out and warmed me to the bone.  I stopped at one windy spot and was able to dry out my gear and my feet really quick.  My feet had gotten pretty soggy and it was nice to have them dry and hard again.  In sitting there, I was staring up at Mt San Jacinto in aw.  It was a gorgeous peak, half engulfed in cloud, the other half baking in the sun.  I couldn’t believe I had just traversed this peak.  I daydreamed about skiing it.  The North had two or three basins that had many chutes that came together into a massive run-out.  I would imagine if we got the planet some few degrees colder and a good snow year; you could ski the beast from the peak ~10,800 all the way down to ~1,800 feet.  9,000 feet of gloriousness.  Haha yup, this is what I dream about. 

Mount San Jacinto

Ski mountaineering was a big part of my training.  During the winter I averaged about 5k vertical climbing everyday with ski’s on my feet.  This not only got the legs, lungs and heart in shape but also keeps the fat off and makes the transition to running much easier.  All of this hiking was done at an elevation of ~8-11k feet, which helps get you used to the high elevations faced in the Sierras.  The PCT is claimed to have 450k vertical for the entire 2,650 miles.  That is 170 feet per mile average and thus in a 50 mile day you should average 8.5k vertical feet.  So basically, for four months straight through (it would be five or six months, but it just didn’t snow this year) I was doing about two thirds the vertical I would have to do on the PCT.  That kind of training gives you the confidence it takes to tackle such an endeavor.  However; descending on ski’s is much easier than in shoes.  I made my way on what seemed like a never ending descent.  I thought for sure in an hour and a half to two hours I would have made it down to the highway.  Well I ended up giving up on the notion of making the highway tonight and found a nice little camp spot cut into the side of the hill.  I was tired, it was a long day and I was supremely satisfied once more, this time with how I handled the adversity of ripping my jacket and some cold wet weather. 

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 5: "Uphill Battle"

Saturday May 23, 2015

Miles 204.8 - 251.5 Sleep 2145 - 530

Well I slept in, not on purpose.  I had only been using my watch for an alarm, as to save my phone battery.  I must have hit the button to stop the alarm without knowing or did not hear it because of the wind.  Either way I woke up at 530 instead of 400, whoops.  Well I am sure that the hot section I have to hike through today will be even more fun now, seeing as how I will be there more like 1200 then 1030.  Anyhow, I was cruising and it felt good.  After a while though, I couldn’t help but feel like every step was uphill and I was just crawling along.  Well, it was!  I climbed about 7,000 net vertical feet.  I therefore had no reason to get upset about how much walking I did for the day.  Finally, I reached a place with a view.  And what a view.  I could not tell, but I assumed there was a lake down on the horizon and thus the reason the fog-cloud had pooled in that valley.  Gorgeous!  If I could, I would have set up camp there and watched the sun set right into the cloud.  But I seem to remember I am trying to get to Canada as fast as my legs will carry me, so onward.  It was nice and cool in the early evening, which was a pleasant change of pace to the temperature all day.  I knew I was in for a cold night of sleeping, which I always sleep really well in the cold and was excited for that.  I ate dinner and walked on in the cold, having trouble seeing through my breath in my headlamps light.  Finally, I said enough and laid up for the night. 

Big Bear

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 6: "The River"

Saturday May 24, 2015

Miles 251.5 - 302 Sleep 2145 - 400

I was right: slept amazing. I didn’t want to get up in the morning, because I was sleeping so well, but also because it was so cold.  But Canada on my mind.  I was up and moving fast to stay warm.  I moved well for the first ten hours of the day, the music was hitting the spot, the trail easy, the views beautiful; I was flowing, in the river.  My philosophy on life; The River; go with the flow and it is all downhill.  You can eddy out when you want, portage if you need, or just send that waterfall when you feel like it (I thought I was reading a hiking trip report, not philosophical babblings)   It was getting hot in the afternoon and I was exposed in the sun the entire way.  When I stopped to get water and dry out my feet, I lost all momentum.  My feet were pretty wet and so I spent the little extra time making sure they were dry.  I continued slowly running on this apparently never ending descent.  All I wanted to do was walk and looked forward to some uphill.  It never came, the trail rolled along a river and then into a flat valley.  The beautiful sunset only slightly distracted me from the fact that I was fried, needed water and desperately wanted to walk.  Finally, I hit Deep creek and was able to camel up for the night.  I also got to walk uphill, for about 500 feet.  Then it was rolling trail cut into the side of the canyon.  I trudged on and finally setup camp in a bend in the trail.  I was warned that there was no camping for the next 12 miles or so, but when you are just bivying you don’t need much.  Also, setting up late and leaving early, I have no problem sleeping right on the trail a night or two, which tonight I was. 

Peace and love everybody!

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 7: "California Love, We Keep It Rocking"

Sunday May 25, 2015

Miles 302 - 354 Sleep 2215 - 415

As the sun rose, I realized how absolutely beautiful the canyon I was in really was.  The trail was cut into the side of the canyon the whole way, nothing more than a two foot ledge.  It was rolling downhill and once again I was cruising.  When I crossed Deep creek for the last time at the bottom, I stood right in the creek to soak my feet while I cameled up.  I knew it was going to be a long hot section in the sun and it was already feeling hot at nine or so in the morning.  Boy was I right.   I kept trucking but I felt like I was totally out of it.  I was glad my pack weighed next to nilch.  This was the first test of my nutrition training and man was it paying off.  I packed enough food from Paradise Café to barely make it to Cajon canyon.  If I felt like I wasn’t going to make it, I would suck up the four miles and get a resupply in Big Bear Lake.  Well as I rolled by Big Bear, I decided with confidence that yes indeed I would go for it and I would surely make it.  I had three Nature Valley bars and two packets of Ramen at the start of the day. 1,300 calories for 40 miles.  I got this easy I thought.  Why? Because for over a year I have been working on my nutrition.  I discovered that, indeed the human body is capable of a lot more than anyone thinks.  It might be uncomfortable, but you can go very far with no food and limited water.  So training; all winter long, I would have my big meal at night 1700-1800 because that is when our employee meal is, I know the time.  I would go to bed.  Get up 5-6 in the morning.  Get all my ski gear together/on and start hiking.  I would hike for as long as I could without eating anything.  Then I would slowly sip on juice I had packed along.  Often times this meant I hadn’t eaten anything for 15-16 hours.  And I would slowly be supplying some carbohydrate for the body to use up immediately.  Often times I would hike for eight to ten hours on two or three liters of juice.  On days I was spoiled I would also have some energy cake leftover from the evening past.  Why would I do this?  Well it works out nice that you save time not packing a lunch and don’t have to carry it.  But no, the real reason is to teach my body to get used to running on fat and fat only.  Also, to get used to how it feels mentally to only run on fat.  It is important for your body to be able to utilize fat very well, but equally important you have to be comfortable with the feeling.  It is different then when you have some carbohydrate.  When you have carbohydrate you feel fresher and crisper mentally.  When you are running on fat, you feel sluggish and foggy mentally.  Once you get used to the feeling though, it is not that bad. 

And so, I knew I had some food, but if I had to I could make it to Cajon Canyon with nothing more.  Carrying less food, means less weight.  Less weight is important when you are doing something like this.  Less weight means less work, which means less calories burned.  It also means less work your muscles do and less impact when running downhill.  On a hot day, you ultimately are doing less work, therefore creating less heat and staying “cooler” And by having a lighter pack, mentally I feel lighter and feel more like running or moving faster.  Yes, I am that obsessive and nit picky, every little thing makes a difference when you are going long.  So cruising through the heat feeling lighter and cooler, I reached the top of the ridge.  All that was left was the long downhill to my resupply at Cajon Canyon.  A Cheveron…my favorite resupply (gas station).  I felt like I didn’t even have a pack on at all.  Such a good feeling had me flying.  I got to the road and started the rehearsal of my resupply.  I got my OJ and all while drinking, I fill my stuff sack with the appropriate amount of junk food.  I was out quick, damn I am getting good at this.  As I went under the bridge overpass, there was a group of hiker’s setup for the night playing drinking games.  They offered me a beer and told me to setup camp with them.  Man, I sure would have loved to.  No thanks was all I said as I kept walking.  All I could think was, I still got another ten or so miles to hike…probably as many as they did the whole day to get there, ugh.  My pack felt so heavy in comparison, damn I thought, this is what 200 miles worth of food feels like.  Wait it is only 100 miles to the next resupply. That is right! I got extra food to pig out while I walk up this hill.  And so the feast began.  Luckily for me, I can’t eat that fast while walking and it saves me from over doing it and laying comatose on the side of the trail.  None the less, my stomach hurt and I thought I might knock it off.  The last hour and a half I didn’t eat a thing and my stomach finally cleared.  Perfect. Set up camp and passed out satisfied with a great week of hiking, well running, or speedmoving? What am I doing?  And also a feeling of vindication of my training and that it is working for me.  

Delicate Sky

Now that is how you start

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 8: "California Soul; Music Is A Rockin'"

Monday May 26, 2015

Miles 354 - 401 Sleep 2200 - 400

Like a sound you hear
That lingers in your ear
But you can’t forget
From sundown to sunset
It’s all in the air
You hear it everywhere
No matter what you do
It’s gonna grab a hold on you
— California Soul

The sunrise this morning was amazing above a valley inversion.  The trail was nice pine needley dirt engulfed in huge pine trees.  I felt like I was in heaven.  When “California Soul” came on my shuffle, I turned it loud and got proud with my Cali soul.  I miss Cali.  I reminisced about living in the bay area a few years ago as the trail continued a long the ridge all day right next to the Angeles Crest highway.  I took a break in one of the parking lots as the trail crossed the road and was about to head up a big climb.  I dried my feet good and got to chat with a few other hikers.  When it was time to move again, I felt refreshed.  I was powering up the climb.  I could look up and see a beautiful Sun Dog or 22° halo.  There is a song by Lord Huron called “In the Wind”  and there is a ski edit titled “Sun Dog”(Sun Dog Video if you got a minute) that uses the song, that we (My skimo partner) and I highly enjoy.  We often sing the words as we are losing our minds on the longer days as a joke or mood lifter.  Well the song came on my shuffle.  I couldn’t help but be instantly teleported to the Wasatch mountains covered in snow.  I felt numb and couldn’t tell if I was walking uphill in the snow with skis on my feet or hiking the PCT.  Didn’t matter.  I just started crying and moving faster, I was numb.  What an experience, I live for these moments!  I reached the top of the hill, sobered up and got back to business.  Nothing like 5-10-15 minutes of free, easy, no effort movement to get me further up the trail.  I cruised along the crest the rest of the day.  I didn’t hate on the road walk that was part of the detour.  Most times I would get upset that I was walking along the road.  Especially when you are on such a beautiful trail and then you get plopped out next to cars with their exhaust and inconsiderate drivers.  I mean I know there is a double yellow line, but there isn’t another car on the road for miles.  I think you could scooch over and give me more than just a foot of space as you wiz past me doing 40 mph.  Enough about fatties who never ran a day in their lives.  I was exhausted when the sun went down, but on a downhill.  I tried to just keep the mojo going, but faded.  I ate, brushed my teeth and passed out right next to the road.  

Perfect Pine Needley Forest Trail

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 9: "Effin A and the KOA"

Tuesday May 27, 2015

Miles 401 - 447 Sleep 2200 - 400

The morning was cool, with some trapped cold air in little canyons on the way.  But that sun came up and it was quickly hot once more.  I am really glad I did all that heat training before getting on the trail.  I would crank the sauna, stretch as I usually do, but just see how long I could stay in there at 170degrees and 10% humidity, brutal.  I passed the 420 mile mark.  Of course it was the nicest mile marker with decorations of a plant/flower of some kind.  When I say mile mark: people are able to tell where they are via an app on the phone.  Often there is a “500” written with rocks or something like that.  It is not the highway; there are not green signs every mile of the trail.  This 420 mile mark reeked of marijuana.  There was not a rolled up joint for every hiker to celebrate there completion of 420 miles.  Although, that is a thought for some trail magic…just saying.  No instead the smell is radiating from a plant called “Poodle Dog Bush” Which, is an invasive noxious plant that grows rapidly after a wildfire rages.  It is similar to poison-oak and can really mess up your hike.  I am entering a pretty long section infested with it.

In the heat of the day, I am picking my way through the poison plant.  It sucked, I was miserable, “get me out of here” I thought.  At one point, I am sideways on the trail trying to avoid touching the plant to my left, while not touching it on my right.  I am covered in sweat and so uncomfortable.  Then I hear it.  Like glass shattering.  The high pitched sound of a rattler.  “Oh eff me, I think”  standing still as to not touch any plant or startle the snake more, I try to figure out where the snake is.  I can’t see anything, the trail is all overgrown and there is no sight to the ground.  Shit.  Kill me now, I think.  A few deep breaths later and I am able to make out what I think is the snake.  So I continue picking my way through the poodle dog bush.  The snake seems to be getting louder, but surely he will understand my predicament?  Not how it works?  So I got out of that situation, walked for ten minutes or so to relax then found a place to regroup.  Laying on my back, with my feet up; I think to myself, Joey relax.  It is just a stupid plant and a little reptile.  You are suppose to be hiking 50 miles a day.  You are suppose to be a badass.  Suck it up and stop being a pussy!  And sure enough that worked.  I keep hiking on for a ways.  Dripping sweat and losing my mind.  When I looked up and realized that I had startled a young female “airing out” a little ways off the trail.  She covered up sort of, but remained topless.  I awkwardly tried not to be awkward.  I kept my glance forward on the trail, but tried to be friendly, as though not ignoring her.  Yes, real smooth Joey.  We deduced that it was hot out (thus the nudity) and I wished her a good day as I moved on.  Feeling dumb, I got a chuckle about the encounter.  Thinking to myself, “whelp, I don’t know if I could have made that more awkward” I should be used to it, all those street festivals back in San Fran.  But I guess it just caught me off guard.  This kind of thing happens on the trail, not super often.  But I can’t count the times where I hadn’t seen someone for hours and decide I am just going to change my shorts right here.  And then magically there is always someone walking around the bend.  And I get to do the, “OH, HEY, nice day huh?”  So it is good to receive for a change, or give, I don’t know.  

Focus! Yes back to…what was I doing again?  Oh yea, dripping sweat, getting fried and losing my mind.  Like the scene from the movies, I reached the next water.  Running, lunging forward and falling to my knees.  Face plant H2O style.  Water never tasted so good.  I was actually excited for the next nine miles.  It was a huge descent down to my resupply.  I thought, “I am going to rip this up and be flying” all full of myself.  And full of **it I was.  I ran a bit but my quads started giving out, damn this is a long descent.  Finally, I popped out at the road and was basically limping.  I walked/hobbled over to the Acton KOA and was surprised by the hoard of thru hikers.  It was like a music festival, only dirtier…if that is possible.  Got my package from the store and sprawled out on the lawn to repack my pack.  So I want you to visualize when you are packing for a trip and you have your stuff all spread out on the bed at home.  Okay, now that is me, except on the grass, with my shoes off and feet up on the picnic bench.  I see a nice looking fella come over and kneel down by the sprinkler box.  He starts poking at it with a screwdriver he has procured from his pocket (looks like he has done this before).  I ask, “oh are you going to turn the sprinklers on? Do I need to move?”  He looks up at me and grunts.  Since he wasn’t adamant about it, and didn’t make more notion as I stayed put, I figured, NO, no Joey, you do not have to move, you will not get wet.  Well you shouldn’t assume…ASS.  Sure enough the water starts spraying and now I am doing the Chinese fire drill trying to move all my stuff to a safe zone.  All in all, pretty hilarious…just not for me.  It was nice to get wet, but my electronic stuff is rather adverse to water.  I pack up in huff and retreat back to the trail before cursing too much and making a scene.  As I am walking uphill from the KOA, the tiredness sets in.  I thought I was going to hike on for another three or so hours.  I decide if I am this tired, I must need the rest.  Bed early, wake early and make up for it.  I realize in writing this, this was by and far my most “exciting” or “dramatic” day on the trail.  Touché KOA

420 miles done! I get a gold star?

If only I could glide down there

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 10: "Aqua Dulce, Where?"

Wednesday May 28, 2015

Miles 447 - 494 Sleep 2000 - 200

Woke up to a sweet cold morning.  I moved swiftly getting through the town of Agua Dulce and got off the road before too many cars.  Then it was hot, hot and more hot.  Big water carry, seeing as I couldn’t rely on any caches.  15 miles on a sun baked south-southwest side of a low elevation ridge.  It was hot.  I thought all my sauna’ing would have helped me with this or maybe it is really just that hot.  I am trying to run a long but the whole time my eyes wonder to Bouquet Resevoir below.  If only I could sprout wings and glide down, I would just face plant into the cool blue.  Although, I guess if I magically became able to fly I would probably do something cooler…maybe not though, it was hot.  I got to the Green Valley fire station around 1330 and drank my fill of water.  I decided before the trip, if it got too hot during the day to hike (i.e. I am losing power, losing focus, losing my mind, or dangerous) that I would try to nap during the heat and hike later at night.  So, today would be the first giver-go.  I laid in the shade with my legs vertical up on the building.  I actually closed my eyes and dreamed a bit.  When I came to, thirty minutes had passed.  But I felt like I was asleep for a full night of sleep, dreams and all.  I guess that is what you get when you are that tired; you sleep faster.  But I didn’t want to go back out and hike eleven miles on asphalt in the mid afternoon sun for this detour.  I tried to sleep more but was really just in a haze.  I decided that it was a wash just dazing here versus hiking. 

So I packed up and got moving.  When I got back to the trail head, I was reading the sign and realized they had opened a section of trail.  Great.  I thought this detour was going to shave off a few miles but now I have to out and back for about three miles.  I ditched my pack and got it done without fussing too much.  It felt weird to not have my pack on.  Now back at the road, the fun part.  There was no shoulder and Cali drivers are apparently afraid of crossing the double yellow, even if no cars are coming the other way for miles.  So I got really close to a bunch of cars going 50 mph spitting there exhaust at me…it was awesome!  I finally got through the town and onto the more country road section.  There were hardly lanes and the road to gravel shoulder was so crowned it hurt my knee.  I was walking a third out in the lane and when the four cars I passed the rest of the way came, I scooched over to the absolute side of the road.  Two of them honked at me and made wild gestures for me to move over, off the road get in the bushes, I am coming through.  I can never understand how lazy you have to be to turn your car steering wheel half and inch and then back for two effin seconds.  But they have never run/walked on such a road and just don’t understand.  Still how could they be so ignorant.  Oh conversations with my multi personalities.  Oh hey, watch out, Ostrich crossing…WAIT what?!  I thought I was really losing it for a second, but I took a picture and the sign was real, I deduced.  Ostrich Crossing…don’t see that everyday.  Man this heat is really getting to me.  I was glad when the detour took me off the road and back to the woods, my escape from the scary creatures; back with the mountain lions, bears and dirty hikers.  Thank goodness my kind of crowd.  I hiked in a ways and set up for the night.  A cool breeze comforted me as I massaged my feet and legs while laying on my back.

It was a long day

Heading out into the aquaduct

A retro diary by Joey Campanelli (via JoeyCamps.Blogspot.com

Pacific Crest Trail Day 11: "Funky Town"

Thursday May 29, 2015

Miles 494 - 536.7 Sleep 2200 - 400

Today was all about strategy.  I was coming into the low elevation desert crossing before returning back up into the mountains.  The plan was to get to Hikertown mile 518, get my resupply box, nap for a bit then tackle the flat hot aquaduct portion at night.  Well things went to plan, sort of.  I got my hustle on and got the 24 miles to Hikertown done by about 1130.  It was already brutally hot and I was glad to reach the oasis of Hikertown. Kind of a funky place, I dig it.  It was like a fake western town as you might see at an amusement park for kids.  Different little buildings named “town store” “post office” “jail”  each was about the size of a bed room and about half of them were exactly that.  I posted up at one off by myself.  I opened my resupply box and repacked my pack.  Then I napped in the shade the best I could.  When my alarm went off at 1800, I felt rested and ready to tackle the aquaduct.  I looked at the thermometer tucked in under the roof in the shade, 92 degrees.  Well it should only be getting cooler. 

As I got up I felt a breeze I hadn’t felt in awhile.  Sure I had a hole in compression tights on my butt.  But as I reached and felt, hmm what is going on?  Oh, the tights had ripped along the whole seam.  Each butt cheek was still covered, but my crack was full on out there.  At first I thought, I kind of like this.  Nice built in aeration system.  Butt, in the 200 feet I had to walk to get to the garage where the big group of hikers was hanging out; I already got comments from two people about the view.  Damn, butt why were they checking out my ass anyway?  So I grabbed some pants from the hiker box, as there were no shorts.  I cut the wind breaker pants and made some skimpy shorts to wear.  I changed and located a sewing kit.  Oh yea, you know how you have sewn maybe once or twice in your life.  Well time to sew a stretched out seam shut…haha yeah right.  Well I tried, failed miserable and decided I would stick to my day job.  Well in the desert, it was going to become my night job.  So I took off around 2000 instead of 1830, with my 185 miles worth of food and three liters of water.  My pack felt heavy.  Good thing the entire thing was flat and I was able to shuffle stride a good amount of it.  By about 200 I was doing the head bob and decided I should get a nap in.  Still being 80 or so degrees out, I just laid on my stuff sack for padding and let my feet hang up on a rock.  You know like a hammock, only made of rock and hard dirt.  Didn’t matter I was so tired, I would have slept standing if possible.

Gotta make a move to a town that is right for me
Town to keep me movin’
Keep me groovin’
with some energy
— (Don't worry, I had to look the lyrics up) - Funkytown