Melinda Gale

Real Life In Raleigh

Hike: Vasquez Rocks

Like every other 20-something person of the internet, I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed after it was endorsed by Oprah. A true story? Into it. A true story about a great adventure? Into it. A true story about a great adventure a baller ass independent woman takes alone? INTO IT. Hello. That's basically my LIFE. Then, like every other 20-something person of the internet, I wanted to drop everything and hike the PCT.

While I don't have the time or money to commit to the PCT, I do have time for a few day hikes. Lucky for me, the PCT crossed through Southern California and about an hour outside of Hollywood. With my new found free time, I decided to check out one of these sections of trail. 

Vasquez Rocks is still in LA County but about 30 miles away from where I live. I waited out the early morning traffic and headed out around 9AM. It only took me about 45 minutes to get there. Being the psycho planner that I am (hey mom, are you reading this? I am actually a psycho planner in my old age) I not only had the trail pulled up on my phone browser but also on my AllTrails app. SoCal Hiker suggested going into the information center at the park , so I went in to grab a hard copy of the map when I arrived. I also used their bathrooms because I don't trust porta potties on trails. 

Just a few yards into the trail, I spotted the first PCT trail marker. I wanted to weep, y'all. I WAS BASICALLY CHERYL STRAYED. SOMEONE GIVE ME A BOOK DEAL. I AM ALL UP IN THIS. The Geology Trail and the PCT are one and the same in this section so I followed it around until I reached the other side of the rocks. When I arrived at the Pepper Tree picnic areal, I stopped for photos and to eat. I usually don't bring food with me on hikes and I sure as hell don't stop this soon into a hike to eat BUT I hadn't eaten all day and it was my 2nd workout so, yeah. This is when things got tricky. I could not for the life of me figure out which trail was the correct one to stay on the PCT. It's a large open area with about 5 or 6 trails that veer off of it. After 2 failed attempts, a lot of cussing to myself and my Snapchat story, I finally figured out where I needed to be. About a half mile further, I got confused AGAIN and almost ended up walking down a super sketchy hill that I probably would have broken my leg on. Have no fear, I figured it out thanks to the handy 7/7/07 burn area sign at the trailhead. At one point, I remembered that my brother mailed me a compass for my Grand Canyon hike but then I quickly realized I had no idea what direction i was supposed to be going or how to read a compass so....

Do I look like I go on a ton of adventures?

Do I look like I go on a ton of adventures?

I had every intention of making it to the Hwy 14 tunnel and turning around but it was hot, I was almost out of water, and to be honest I was kind of sketched out because I had no phone service so I turned around. The incline wasn't the worst on the hike back but it was totally noticeable. I was stoked to have my trekking pole with me. Maybe I am making this up but the trekking pole totally helped take some of the pressure off my knees and hips when tackling the incline. 

When I was finally back to the 7/7/07 burn area sign, I saw a guy in the distance on the trail. This was literally the first person I had seen on the trail at all. I kept watching him thinking "well, if I get lost for the 90th time, I can just follow him." Then I started thinking "dude this guy could be leading me somewhere to MURDER ME!!!!!!!". Never said I wasn't dramatic. Pretty soon the guy disappeared so I was 100% positive I was about to be murdered here in broad daylight. Then I realized I was finally back at the Rocks and safe from any potential harm I made up in my head. A few people were climbing them and while I totally wanted to scale these massive rocks, I didn't want to die so I decided to just head back to the car. 

On the way back, I took the lazy way and followed the car path. In all, i think it's a little shorter than the Geology/PCT trail. I soon realized I was out of water so it's pretty good that I was a lazy fat fat. 

All in all, beautiful hike for any skill level and a cool place to visit if you want to see where the Flintstones was filmed.