PCT Day 23 – Toad Ahead Closed … Possibly Misheard

Started: 10:00 @ MM 5 on Endangered Species Alternate (Equivalent to PCT MM 380ish) – South Fork Campground (Elevation 4,548ft)

Finished: 18:30 @ MM 395.2 – Cooper Canyon Camp (Elevation 6,235ft)

Water: Drank 4L … a pretty standard day on the water front.

Food: Oatmeal, Fig Newtons, Jerky, Trail Mix, Granola Bar, Nakd Bar and something re-hydrated but not actually distinguishable!

Wildlife: 0 Snakes, 0 Bears and 0 Yellow-Legged Mountain Frogs (which was fortunate for them!)

Health: 0 Blisters … Calf muscles complaining bitterly about the big ups!

The Loathsome Toad !!
The relatively low altitude and warmer temperature meant that I slept well and woke late again … 7am! I had lots of chores to do before I could set off. The laborious task of filtering water needed to be taken care of (l had been too tired and simply couldn’t be bothered the night before). I also needed to wash my socks and underwear, as well as making a few running repairs. One of the hip pockets on my pack had worn through and my 2ltr “clean” Platy bottle had a tiny puncture. By 10am everything was taken care of and I made tracks.
Home and Laundry … All packed and ready to roll!
The trail ahead was complicated by the presence of an endangered species. Apparently the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, which once thrived in the creeks and streams in Southern California, is now almost extinct. To protect this little Kermit, the PCTA has closed a section of trail that goes right through its favourite habitat. There are two potential detours, one short and one long. My cowardly circumventing of Mount Baden-Powell had by default put me on the longer route. In my mind frogs lived on lilly-pads, in ponds and generally in flat places. I hadn’t really associated frogs with mountains. I guess the name of the troubled toad was a bit of a give away. Anyway, the “Toad Road” (as I had decided to call it) was far from flat and definitely not a soft option!
Hollywood on the Toad Road!
The first order of business was a super steep 1,500ft climb up past the Devil’s Chair. My calf muscles were wailing in agony but the reward was the most amazing views and a true Kodak moment. The weather had cheered up considerably and there were throngs of
day hikers. I suspected that it must have been a weekend. I had totally lost track of the days.
Kodak monent from the Devil’s Chair.
After the tourist attractions the trail lost all of the elevation it had gained as it descended down to Cruther’s Creek (4,672ft). I stopped for lunch and while I was sitting quietly and minding my own business, I discovered yet another deadly hazard on the trail. A giant pine cone came crashing down just beside me. If this thing had hit me on the head I would have been dead for sure. As it was, I nearly had a coronary!
Another Deadly Hazard !!

After Cruther’s Creek the trail soared almost 2,500ft in just over 3 miles, up to Buckhard Saddle. It was a brutal climb and my calf muscles were cramping up with monotonous regularity. My Hawaiian Sport Beans were just about the only thing keeping me going. I can honestly say that after more than an hour of up the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog has never been more endangered. It’s not often that I concur with the French, but at that point extinction seemed like a very good option for the loathsome toad!
As if Snakes, Pine Cones, Toads and Aled weren’t enough !!
When I finally reached the top the clouds had closed in again and I wasn’t even rewarded with a view. My concentration slipped for a moment and before I knew it Aled-fucking-Jones was on repeat again! I fled the saddle in horror and after a long knee jarring descent I finally came to rest at Cooper Canyon Camp. It was cold, misty and I was most disturbed by a big warning sign at the camp. Not only did I have to contend with snakes, giant pine cones, irritating toads and Welsh choirboys …. now there were bears too! I pitched my tent, cooked my dinner and immediately sought the warmth and safety of my feathery nest. I popped some Vitamin I, put my earplugs in and declared that ignorance would indeed be bliss.

4 thoughts on “PCT Day 23 – Toad Ahead Closed … Possibly Misheard

  1. Dear Zen,

    Really enjoying your writing. I follow quite a few PCT blogs and yours is one of my favorites this year. I hope you will write about your gear….. you really seem to have your act together on that front! Love the picture of your neat and tidy pack with the washed socks hanging off. And thanks for including the toad pic. 🙂

    Hope to hike the PCT in 2018 or 2019. Gotta do it soon; my window is closing at 62 years old.

    Happy trails and best regards!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Miztree. Thanks for your message. My gear list is there somewhere but I also plan to write a thorough review of everything that I used, what worked and what didn’t work once I have completed the trail. If you have any specific gear questions I will happily try to answer them for you. Best wishes Hollywood aka Zen


  2. great advise………….. do not surprise the bears…………. and bears,…. please do not surprise Lesley!!! and with that we will all get along famously!.

    I must say todays writing could make the start of a really good joke,
    A toad
    A pinecone
    and Hollywood…. all walked the pct trail!,… a bar would be preferred, but……….

    Liked by 1 person

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