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Lost with M&Ms On the Pacific Crest Trail

Posted Apr 11 2009 11:53pm

What I like about running on the Pacific Crest Trail is that I rarely see anyone (mountain bikes prohibited), the trail is usually in good condition and, as of today, I can get lost to keep things interesting!

Today I ran the PCT from Hwy 18 (Big Bear) from the Cushenbury Grade Summit, elevation 6,892’ to Onyx Summit, elevation 8,500’. This was a good training run that provided a little taste of elevation, single track trail, climbs, and descents. I tested myself by eating only solid foods with no gels. I opted for the more nutritious choice and grabbed a bag of peanut M&Ms and a couple of pop tarts. Oh, yea, I threw in a Mountain Dew for good measure. From the beginning to end I will say things settled well, No bloating, no indigestion, no stomach cramps. Just energy.

After making the turn around Onyx Summit, I realized I’d been climbing for quite a while. Turns out, after passing through Balky Horse Canyon and across Arrastre Creek I climbed for a solid 5 miles. I’m not sure exactly the elevation gain of this segment, I guess around 1,600’, but I am sure that as I approached 8’500 section of the trail I was sucking some good, thin air. When I turned around I felt my legs turn over nicely and I let them go a little down this 5 mile descent.

Then came delirium. The PCT passes near Baldwin Lake, an area known for horse ranches and properties and where one can find a plethora of horse trails. Problem is these horse trials masquerade as the PCT. Its simply not enough to scream obscenities when I realize I’m off my trail. I have to actually ask a mounted horseman to know that I’m lost. After asking a few equestrians where the PCT was, I put my head down and continued on, right for Victorville! I finally stepped out of the maze and on to the trail after a mile of going nowhere.

All is well that ends well, however. This 28 mile run had some great scenery, good and varied terrain and even a little intrigue. A good day on the PCT.
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