PCT Thru Hike – Southern California

4/28/2004 PCT Hike Kick Off

This was CD’s PCT kick off and the first day of a nearly four month hike.


Today, CD chose to take a side route. Each hiker makes these choice and he decided to take a blue blaze route up San Jacinto Peak. The descent was 5000 ft over 16 miles. He grew tired of hiking in the dark before he could find a spot to camp, however. So slept in the middle of the trail before returning to the valley floor.


CD arrived at the Pink Hotel. Apparently it was a water-less off grid trailer filled with hikers of all types. He took a nap, played cards, and observed the questionable atmosphere and chose to hit the trail with his group by dinner time.

Pink Motel. #PCT
Leaving the Pink Motel before night fall. #PCT

He arrived in Big Bear City a day or so later. Strangers picked him up and shared their style of trail magic, including transportation, dinner, shower, and laundry.

Shortly after, the trail magic seemed to really take off.

The Saufley’s, Hiker Heaven, has since become so famous that it could no longer continue to function in the same capacity. In 2004, it was a highlight of CD’s hike. In 2020, it is transitioning to an AirBnB model.

The Saufley’s backyard and view. #PCT

Amenities included laundry and loaner clothes for while you are doing laundry, phones, informational boards, internet, shared supplies, and designated sleeping spots. Sleeping options included couches, beds, air mattresses, and open space. Everything was organized by using sign up sheets.

At the Saufley Post Office with the sign up sheet on the right. #PCT

CD and his group borrowed one of the loaner cars and made a trek to town for margaritas and food. He then scored a couch for sleeping among the 31 hikers that slept there that night. There was campfires, storytelling, laughing, and camaraderie.


From there, lunches had 16 people, wind farms filled the desert, running down hills was the newest sport, and water sources were trickling streams.

Water source finally but also with mosquitoes. #PCT

5/29/2004 PCT Hike

May 29th brought magic in the form of a family at campground that was also a water source. Cake, fruit, snacks, beer and wine were abundant and everyone was grateful.


May 30th looked different, however. It was a hot day and the hike was quite exposed. Several rest breaks under Joshua’s trees were generally insufficient and water was scarce. Shortly after CD and his group decided to use a minimal amount of water from a water cache, they stumbled upon a pop-up oasis of sorts. The “Robin Spring Pass Resort” was a hiker’s resort in development.

A friend of a thru-hiker was inspired to offer his own form of trail magic. He set up camp on a section of trail where it was needed. His “resort” had water, shade, sports drinks, sodas, sandwiches, a generator powered freezer full of popsicles, a DVD player with movies, a picnic table, and a library.

A big climb from there and CD had his first real view of the Sierras.

Desert and hills

Please follow our blog if you are interested in hearing more about CD’s thru hike and our other adventures!

Backpacking Menu: PCT Thru-Hike Edition
PCT Thru Hike – Southern California
Hiking Pack List: PCT Northern California.

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