We are at mile 566 already, and hiking for more than a month already. Keeping trekking of this blog is pretty difficult we noticed, since we just want to eat and sleep after a full day off hiking. But since I am now on a comfortable soft bed, I ll try to give a short summary of the last week(s)...
So... Bubble bath jacuzzi was the last thing I remember talking about. That was cajon pass. We had to wait two days for the heavy snowstorm to calm down. We never expected that to happen here in sunny California. So we did wait. And on the last afternoon, we happily hiked out again. Confident about our hiking skills, we found a path that seemed to be a short cut. After 1,5 hour of bush whacking, we ended up 5 min walk from the motel where we stayed, eating junk food at McDonald's. We got to do 1,2 miles that evening. So no more short cuts for us. ( a bit later we learned that we only had been 10 meters away from the trail, at the point where we decided to go back...)
The day after that we walked to Wrightwood. Our friends tutone and methinks had enough resupply for the coming days, so Felix and I walked a bit further to be able to get to wrightwood in one day, for our resupply. It was a long day ( about 24 miles) and during the last hours I was feeling worse with every step. At that point we were in the snow at relatively high elevation, so I thought about altitude sickness. But as we were decending via the acorn path, I wasn't feeling better.
And there they were again,...trailangels. As we were walking in town, a married couple called Corrine and Tom, stopped by with their car and asked us if they could give us a ride. We jumped in and explained that we were heading out for a hostel and pizza. Instead of driving us there, they offered us a place to stay. And we were very happy with that. Especially when we saw the wonderful cosy room with shower. After cleaning up they called us and served us pizza and wine. I still wasn't feeling too well, so Felix was again a pizza king, but the circumstances already made me feel way better. The next morning I felt so bad, that I didn't want to hike. It felt a bit uncomfortable to ask, but Tom and Corrine let us stay another night. They made lunch for us, took us out for dinner to a authentic Mexican restaurant and told us about their two sons, fresh born grandson, rescued dog called Summit, work, wildfires, climbing mount Whitney....It was fun and wonderful. So incredible friendly people.
The day after we summited snowy mount. Balden powel (9399 something feet). I was able to get 1 mile per hour (even after Felix took my water) and we hit the record of a 10mile day ;p, but it was worth it. The view was stunning. And we were happy to not been hiking in the snow storm. You could see the power of the storm leftovers everywhere. And with the illness; after we were in Acton, we heard about a virus that got around and slowed a big group of hikers down at wrightwood. Some even were picked up by a helicopter because they couldn't stop throwing up... :s I might possibly been effected a bit.
After this, winter ended and summer started while we were descending back into the heat of the desert. We were lucky with relatively mild temperatures till now though, but we are probably going to be grilled tomorrow. We are in Mojave right now ( seen "wild"? Sherryll strayed started her journey here). Tomorrow morning we will through our heavy monster packs (7 days of food, 7 liters of water) on our backs, and we will start our last heavy and hard goodbye hike through the Californian desert. We will be rewarded with one of the most beautiful places on earth: the Sierra Nevada. Only one more week, only 135 miles to go.
See you in Kennedy meadows!!
ps: I need to go to sleep, but I will put some pics of a weird guy we met on a campground while searching for water. He was hunting rattle snakes and showed us one. He was very friendly and helped us out, but also a bit freaky. But we saw a rattle snake now and even touched one ;).
mile 109 (Warners Spings) - mile 179 (Idyllwild) --> 1 mile = 1.6 km
All fresh and rested from Warner Springs, we started hiking again. Just on our way, Felix got very inspired by his own innovating idea of "backwards walking". Since then he is sort of known as "Backwise". The guy who made up the backwards movement and is more informed about ultralight hiking than all the other people on the trail. Backwise isn't working that well as a name though, so this will probably change if something better comes by. For now, he is signing the registers as being "Backwise" - walking back in time... ;p
Very soon on the trail we passed by Eagle Rock. The name already says enough. It's a huge rock, which really looks like an eagle. Pretty impressive.
After Eagle Rock, we slowly got into the heat again. Every step seemed to put the temperature up, and our water became very precious. After our siesta, we found out that we had to walk 8 more miles with each only one liter of water left (on these hot days, we calculate to drink about 1 liter of water every 3-4 miles, we average a speed of 2,5 - 3 miles a hour in not to rough mountain area) . We hadn't been cameling up water enough at Warners Springs that morning and at our Nero, the day before (a rest day where you only hike a few miles) and that made a huge difference. So from about 2 to 6 pm, we hiked as fast and non stop as we could, to get to our next water source.
This next water source turned out to be at trailangel Mike. Can you imagine how that feels?... Exhausted, thirsty, hot, hungry and than you find this place in the middle of nowhere with a fridge full with cold root beer, water, getorade and spicy home made super fat tortilla chips! So of course we hanged out for a while at this Mike's place. Some friends came in that we have been hiking with before and within no time, there were about ten very very happy people talking about food, poop, blisters,food, miles, water, heat, food...
Around 7.30PM it was getting dark, and since "Doc" (the fysiotherapist on the trail, who doesn't seem to get a free day of work here...poor guy ) just plucked a tick out of his leg, we decided to hike into the night to find a nice spot out of the bushy area. Malibu was walking along and since the moon was so bright, we didn't need a flashlight. This was a great experience. It looked like we were walking in a black and white picture with again these marvelous stars above us. After two hours we bumped into Ivo (methinks) and Kristy (Tutone), also some hikers we met before. They were cowboy camping at mile 131, and here we decided to drop our stuff and spoon next to them on top of our flat tent. Malibu continued alone. Another guy (I don't even know his real name) that was camping a few feet from us, was really happy to not need to sleep alone. This Mike-guy seemed to have had some strong home grown marijuana, and this stoner tried it out. He probably got the best weed he had ever had and lost his grip on reality while his was walking alone in the dark and thought that he was walking back to Mexico. This guy now is of course stuck with the name "Skyhigh". He is doing ok now though :)
Since that night, Methinks and Tutone seemed to have the same walking pace as we do, so we just happen to start walking together.
And then again, we walked through intense heat. At some point we started thinking, that we might be walking through a boobytrap area; spikes, no water, heat, poison plants and snakes...At shady spots, we sometimes would find knocked out hikers. But the thing that kept us going was the fact that we were hidding for: Paradise Cafe (can you see the stars around the name glowing up???.. ;). A dinner lodge were we knew we could get the best hamburgers in the whole area. The last miles were pretty hard and exhausting, but then there was this heavenly healing place with a holy menu. We directly jumped into the bathroom, washed our hands and faces and ordered milk shakes XXL and root beer float as the first cours. (my first experience with root beer float: root beer (or another soda is also possible), with some scupes of vanilla ice cream Mmmjum!!) and as dessert a big plate of the best double layered veggie hamburger with a bunch of french fries. Oh... So good! ( yes.. even very strong principles about health food seem to get flushed away with the start of: the hikerhunger MWAHAHAHA... )
At 8PM, Paradise Cafe closed her doors and we were allowed to sleep on the porche, so we did. 8 hikers in a row, happy, stuffed and warm. We slept like little babies.
The next day we hitched into Idyllwild, where we decided to stay in the garden of a very cosy Berliner style bakery. They offered us to wash our clothes and we gave our feet some rest. We needed to resupply again and so, we bought kiloooos of vegetables, fruits, and all healthy stuff. That night we ate a family size pizza and after that, we filled the huge pizza box with all the greens we had and ate it all. In the morning we had breakfast (and coffee!!) at the bakery and "redecided" to do the detour.
There have been some wildfires around the area in 2013 and since the flora and fauna are still very funerable, the official pct trail is blocked somewhere between paradise cafe and Idyllwild.
We walked 15 miles on this detour. Just when we the trail turned into an ugly paved road for the last 10 miles of the detour, a car of a former pct-thru hiker stopped and he asked us if we wanted a hitch back to Idyllwild. We thought about it : ugly boring long paved road or... pizza?? 15 minutes later, we where back in Idyllwild. This time we ordered TWO family size pizza. Ivo and Felix are now officially kings of pizza eating.
The next morning again: fresh bakery oatmeal with blueberries, cinnamon roles and cappuccinos. And then, no more food parties, but back into fast food free, wild mother nature. Believe it or not, we were looking forward to that. Felix will tell you more about what happened out there...
I'm now going to eat my delicious burrito!! ;))
mi 266 (Big bear Lake) to mi 342 (Cajon Pass)
DAY 20 - 266 to 285
Izzy, the 18year old graduate who is walking the pct just before she is going to college in August, was just around the corner of our Honey Bear Lodge in Big Bear Lake and happen to be there with her grandma, who happen to had a car with her. So after we tried to eat all the mountains of food that we had bought two days earlier, she gave us a ride to the start of the trail again.
We were happy to be active again. The king size beds, showers, food...where great, but it was just enough. Off we went. We started hiking again and it felt great. We left late, but we easily made 20miles before dark and slept cowboy style again under the stars. While I was sleeping like a princes, the others were a bit cold in there sleepingbags. Even Ivo, who has this amazing "Onesie" (he looks like Spider-Man in it: if I can I'll try to convince him that a picture is absolute necessary to picture the hiker subculture ;p ) was cold.
DAY 21 - 285 to 304
A bit sleep deprived, we started walking again. This time my blisters started to grow. I seem to get a new one every 100 miles (which is pretty decent considering black nails and infected wounds of others..). This day I couldn't get forward. Every step hurt and as I tried to not step on the sore parts of my feet, I started to get punished for my silly walk. Mr Backwise was still flying over the hills, without any problems,while my mood was getting worse, with every step I took. By the time that I felt the utmost selfpitty and felt that I had to sit down and cry with a bag of chocolate next to me, I heard honeystick calling me. I looked down, and saw that she was weaving at me, with next to her a sparkling fresh creek! I went down, took my narrow shoes from my swollen feet, got rid of my stinky warm hiker clothes and by the time the others arrived as well, I ran towards the water and jumped into the ice cold creek. Within a few minutes, everybody was splashing around like crazy and enjoying this magical thing called water.
After that I felt way better and we even got a 19 mile day out of it. We found a nice stop and didn't even think about getting the tent up. Cowboy camping it is..
DAY 22 - 304 to 328
This day was a looooong day. But a very nice one as well. Within 1,5h we arrived at the hot springs that we were actually aiming for one day earlier. Ivo shinsplins and the ladies blisters kept us from saving this as a warm early morning bath. And so we did. Two / three hours we bubbled around in this little paradise, where the tourism unfortunately leaves to much traces though.
As thru-hikers, we have been taught to leave no trace. Everything we take with us, should be taking care of with the least impact on nature. We even make decent catholes for poop and carry our used toilet paper with us till the next trashcontainer. (No it's not disgusting, double pack it and you are totally fine). Here, next to these lovely springs, where hot water comes from deep out of the earth and where the creek around it, is a important water source for lots of animals and (thru)hikers AND where big signs say: no camping, no campfires, leave no trace... Just 10 feet from these signs and water, you find toilet paper, human facis, sanitary pads, cans, plastic bags... next to a bunch of camping families and friends who obvesily had have a campfire party the night before. It's really irritating and a bit sad to see this. :(
We enjoyed it anyways. After this we walked further and passed by some very aggressively written graffiti in a bit less pretty region. In the middle we were very hot again and made a break to eat and check out our blisters. Just as I wanted to renew my moleskin, something crowl into my shirt. I directly thought about these bad Lyme ticks, so I jumped up trying to get the thing out of my shirt and of course it bite me. And it wasn't a tick, I don't know for sure what it did was. It's needle was still in me and left me a nice sore pain which stretched from my neck till almost my fingertips. While I was jumping around Felix and Tuntone started undressing me, I had to laugh, because it actually was a sort of funny situation. It turned out to be all fine, I just have a metal shoulder now and I hope that next time, I will act more accordingly; stay calm and you might not get bitten. Well, I ll do my best.
Because of this we got delayed a bit, still made it to silverwoodbridge before sunset. Here we thought to see a nice bridge where we could have dinner in the sunset, but it turned out to be a ugly paved road with green stinky water underneath it. We had dinner next to the road in a less windy spot. Our non-cooked diner, did taste like ***** and it was cold. Still we were having fun out there. Feeling like some happy homeless hippie hikers. After the break we walked on and met...TRAILMAGIC! Bananas, grapes, chocolate an water!
After that we all felt like superman and hiked on into the night. We past a huge lake and finnaly arrived at a parking with a restroom and picknick table. I was happy to be there, because I was almost falling a sleep while walking the last mile. Felix did took very good care of me though. Holding my hand and made sure that I could see al the ridges by shining extra light with his flashlight. What a gentleman..
The next morning Malibu found us again. With him, we walked towards milkshakes and tacos. The idea was to get as much food as possible (if you didn't noticed before, we need / want to eat a lot. 4000 calories a day is minimum). And so we did. We all ordered the 870calorie milkshake and fries at mc Donald's, then we moved on to Taco Bell to get a quessodilla and finally finished in the subway with a foot big sandwich and a 1,2 liter soda cup. (I couldn't resist laughing as Felix ordered a large soda and got this "bucket". My small cup was a large Europe size).
At subway, we read the weather report which said that storm would come into the mountain area of San Bernardino, just where we wanted to summit. Snowstorm with 9inch of snow within one day. This would mean very cold, dangerous windy situations at 9000 feet. So we went where all the hikers went. At a motel called "best western" next to highway 15. Very romantic, with tankstations and fastfoodchains as foodsupliers, but we have a jacuzzi and kingsize beds, so we will manage ;) .
We do not really like the situation, we want to continue our hike, but like they say: better save than sorry.