After a delicious breakfast we met Roadwalker at the bakery just before we left. Roadwalker is a Prof. of socioligy who is hiking and doing research on the hiking community...what a job... We got a hitch to the trailhead and walked up the rather steep "Devils slide" to get back to the PCT. Because of a stormwarning we decided at a trailjunction not to summit San Jancinto, which is supposed to have amazing views. We walked on along Fuller Ridge (about 3000 meter elevation), where the wind became stronger an heavy dark clouds were coming closer. We prepared ourselfs for rain and walked on in a steady, rather fast pace to get to a lower elevation. On our way we met Velcro (he uses velcro to attach equipment to his backpack), who tried to set up is his tent close to the trail, but then decided to walk with us to find a better campside. It was getting dark, but still there was no rain. We finally reached a campingspot that appeared to be more protected from the wind by big rocks, so we decided to set up our tents to have a fast dinner and fall asleep.
Day 15 Campground (190, 5) - Ziggy and the bear (210, 8)
After a rather cold night (about 0ºC), we walked mainly downhill, back into more desert like terrain. On our way down we had views over the valley, which had fields of windmills to produce electricity and really, really, really long trains driving through it.
Down in the valley, close by our planed destination of the day, hiking was slowed down by strong winds and loose sand. We finally arrived at Ziggy and the bear, a trail-angels place close by the trail. Ziggy and the bear are an older couple who let thru hikers sleep in their backyard. Former thru-hikers and friends help them with the organization. It is so great to have trailangels: Showers, water, food, hikerboxes, (boxes where hikers can put their leftovers from their resupplypackages). After chatting with the other hikers we ate pizza from ceasars. We met Honeystick (Izzy), who also was at the Kickoff and who is a friend of Tutone and Methinks. Even with a huge wooden fence around the backyard it was very windy. We used tables to protect us from the wind when we cowboy camped in the backyard.It was windy but luckily not cold when we fell asleep...
Day 16 Izzy and the bear (210, 8) - Camping close to Mission Creek (230)
Velcro had already started earlier. We left at about 7.20 a.m., and walked along hundereds of windmills and entered San Bernardino National Forrest. Honeystick was in the lead (she is small, only 18 years old, has some kneeproblems but is hiking fast!!!)
After a steep climb, we caught up with Velcro. There Susanne had one of her famous sneeze attacks, which were described to sound similar to a machine gun (hitchhitchhitchhitchhitchhitchhitch). That was the birth of her trailname: Sneezl. As we walked on we crossed our first creek, where we filtered water and cooled our feet. At the second small creek, Velcro an I were having a bath (after pre-washing) but we barely got wet. We passed the creek a few times and cowboycamped close to Mission creek at the end of the day. Honeystick walked faster and was ahead. Velcro (56, living in Israel, woodworker), showed us photos of a beautiful house that he has built. We made plans to get up early the next morning.
Day 17 Mission Creek (230) - campingspot (253)
We left at 5 a.m. Methinks was tired because he did not sleep well. Again we had to hike mainly uphill. Again the wheatherreport was giving a storm and snow warning. Again. In the desert. I expected the desert to be dry and warm... After a long day of hiking, we were still on an higher elevation. Already tired we decided to walk on to find a protected campside. We passed an animal park with exotic animals, which are supposed be used as animal-actors in hollywood. We saw a bear in a small cage. It was sad and disturbung to see him walk up and down his small cage. We moved on and just before we reached the campingspot we were looking for we found ..... tatatat....TRAILMAGIC! A container filled with water, chocolate, bananas, jelly bellies...it is great. Not because we were starving, it was rather the surprise (ok, ok...also the chocolate) that improved our morale. After taking just a little bit, we hurried to set up our tents in expectation of the storm. We all were tired. everybody was preparing their dinner. Because of the drought in California alcohol stoves are not allowed. Susanne and I chose to not cook but just rehydrate our food (we have read about it, and a lot of hikers do it). Cold soacked macaroni cheese are kind of evil when it is already cold outside... We have to buy different food to rehydrate or get a gas stove. Idohan smashed potatoes are actually good, even cold;)
Day 18 Campingspot (253) - Highway to Big Bear City/Lake (266)
This was a cold night! Snow was on our tent, the condensation inside the tent was frozen and the waterbottles were frozen. Tutones tent was difficult to set up and nearly sacked under the weight of the snow and the wind. It was still cold outside. With all our clothes on we hiked fast to become warm and to get to the highway to hitchhike to big bear city. At the highway a lot of cars drove by and for the first time it seemed like we are having a hard time getting a hitch. But then a car stopped and a hiker, who rented a car was doing the trailangel-job and took us to the post office in big bear city. "Doc"(not the fysiotherapist), also offered to bring us to big bear lake, where we planed to stay. We waited to get picked up again at a doughnut shop where we got the calories back that we had burned before. The owner of the shop was hiker-friendly and seemed to know everybody in town. We found a cozy cabin at the Honey bear lodge. After shopping at Vons we cooked a chili and had all the Vegetables we have missed, sitting by the fireplace and reciting monty python.
Day 19 Big Bare Lake (Zero)
Relaxing, Resupply and lost and found of mobile that got lost during a hitch in town (lucky Susanne;).
View up in Sant Jacinto wilderness
So happy to have seen snowplants! The only grow this time of year and do not live from photosynthesis