Day 23: San Gabriel Bighorn Sheep

Monday, May 29
Start: Road near Little Jimmy Camp
Stop: mile 407.23
23.37 miles

I hike two miles into Islip Saddle by 630am. As I approach, there is a sudden scurrying. My brain goes deer. But oh, look at that white rump. The San Gabriel Bighorn Sheep kinda scatter along the roads edge but then one by one they climb effortlessly up towards me. We stand and stare at each other for a long while. And then the mom goes crosscountry starting many scree slides. Up pops the next two generations and we check each other out before they follow the path of their mother. They leap onto the PCT just down trail from me and churn the trail to bits as they race away.

I’m on cloud 9 as I hike down the empty hwy 2. How fucking lucky I was to see the bighorn sheep and they seemed pretty surprised to see me too. Because it’s so early (before all the holiday traffic) I opt for the road rather than the PCT. After a short distance I go through the Angeles Crest Tunnels and it’s a trip to be the only one in there. I hike the road all the way to Buckhorn Camp where I take a luxurious hour long break. 

Angeles Crest Tunnels

There’s bratwurst trail magic at Camp Glenwood which hits the spot. Thank you! And then I head down the hot trail in hopes of a cool resting spot at an upcoming spring. My shade soon runs out and so I move on down the trail again after collecting some refreshing water. At the Three Points Trailhead, Lil’ Buddha catches up. I haven’t seen him since midday yesterday. Turns out he was camped at Little Jimmy and had an eventful night of loud kids, fighting dogs and late-arriving rude hikers.

Camp Glenwood trail magic – Thank you angels!

After a windy break in the shade of a pine tree, we push out onto the burnt trail. There’s a little poodle dog bush to dodge but it’s not bad. What was lovely oak covered trail is now exposed and hot. We drag ourselves into Sulpher Springs and even though it’s only 4 something, we decide to call it quits for the day. We’re tired and the next five miles are up and most certainly hot.

Yucca Bud

I eat dinner and kind of fumble around camp. Because the nearby seasonal creek does not have water, Lil’ Buddha hikes back to get water and to take his evening “shower.” My tent is in the sun and the nice log bench is in the sun too. Damn. Lil’ Buddha and I chat about our struggles with the trail and our purpose here. For him it’s just an opportunity to get back in shape so he can go and do other hiking. And maybe it’s becoming that for me too. My discontentment makes it really fucking hard to push through the hot, dry and burnt trail.

4 thoughts on “Day 23: San Gabriel Bighorn Sheep

  1. The yucca bud looks like Georgia O’Keefe. Wow, and all with a phone/camera. Thanks for the joyful photo. hugs, mom

  2. Wait, wait… when you were talking about ‘finding the Buddha’ at Little Jimmy… you weren’t talking about the historical Buddha, but your friend whose trail name is Buddha? If so, I rescind my advice to ‘kill the Buddha’ if you find him. 🙂

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