Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 31: Burkhart Saddle to Sulphur Springs Camp

I woke at dawn and watched the sunrise, the first rays of sun illuminating the scattered clouds with a pink and orange glow. Back on the trail, we were grateful for our ridgetop camp. Several sections of trail on the last leg of the Endangered Species Act reroute (aka the Frog Detour) were covered by rockslides, or were prone to sliding. Easily managed by daylight, those sections would have been treacherous to night hike by headlamp.

We celebrated when we finally reached the end of the Frog Detour and the familiar tread of the original PCT. Several miles later, we reached the Cloudburst Summit highway crossing and met a group of ten other hikers, all of whom chose to walk the road, rather than hike the lengthy official reroute. But they rejoined the trail and we were all still hiking together when we reached 400 miles (413 for us due to the extra miles hiked on the new reroute)!

Late in the afternoon, we reached Three Points Trailhead and were treated to fresh sandwiches, cold drinks, and cookies at Grandpa's Traveling Oasis. Shortly afterward, we discovered a treasure chest next to the trail: someone had filled an old trunk with fresh fruit for hikers!

We arrived at the Sulphur Springs Campground just in time for dinner. Although the Angeles Forest is currently closed due to the ongoing cleanup of the 2009 Station Fire, PCT hikers are allowed to pass through.  PCT hikers are warned of the dangers (trees killed in the fire may fall at any time) and asked to camp in one of three designated areas, including Sulphur Springs.

We ate dinner with three other hikers, including a section hiking couple, Mule Stomper and Sky Pilot. Remember the much appreciated Third Gate water cache 13 miles into a dry 24 mile stretch of PCT between Scissors Crossing and Barrel Springs? Mule Stomper and Sky Pilot are two of the trail angels who help keep it stocked! We were excited to be able to thank them in person, and enjoyed talking with them.

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