A Lifetime Ago: A Recap of the Desert Part I
It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last update, but honestly it has been the first time since I have had time on a zero day to reflect on the past weeks.
Time is a warped thing out here as I mentioned before. Being out on trail now for over two months, feels like half a year instead. In those two months, too many beautiful things and difficult moments happened. Let me recap the rest of the desert for you first, since I could write a whole book on how astonishing the Sierra Nevada is.
Mt. San Jacinto was tough. Coming from a country that is as flat as a pancake, I am not used to high elevation. And boy did it get to me. Breathing was more difficult and my muscles felt like that of an old lady. The pain was rewarded with a lot of beauty of these rugged mountains though. And seeing my first snow in years made me feel like an ecstatic kid. Coming out if the mountains was definitely hard. We walked right into the windy Palm springs area. It was as if someone had put on a fan on steroids and did not turn it off for the whole day. We slept at the Mesa wind farm where we met some of the loveliest trail angels. Allowing us to raid their pantry and toilets and stay warm inside.
Now THIS was an epic reward after coming out of the San Jacinto mountains. You don’t get a lot of abundance of fresh water on trail in the desert. So when you do encounter a river or creek, it is the most magical thing ever. As a water lover, I was THRILLED beyond words to get to soak my feet in this cold fresh river with the beautiful mountain backdrop. After this stretch, we followed a creek through a canyon that was fairytale-like. Lush green trees in the midst of the creases of the canyon. And endless tiny creeks around every corner you turned.
Big Bear Lake
Just before Big Bear, Burrito and I got caught in an epic snowstorm in the night and woke up to a winter wonderland. Hiking out into the pristine morning, stepping into the fresh snow as the first hikers, was a sight I will never forget. I got off trail soaking wet. Some of my lovely trail family members who were ahead came to rescue me in the car of a trail angel. Kenny, this lovely trail angel in Big Bear, opens up his home for hikers, cooks them breakfast, and drives them around everywhere. Honestly one of the best trail angels I have met to date!
Big Bear Lake was stunning with the black mountains, white snow patches and blue skies.
Deep Creek Hot Springs
This was one of my favorite places on trail. Deep Creek Hot Springs are natural hot springs found in a canyon with a river next to it, and my trail family and I spent the whole afternoon there to rest and soak. Felt luxurious to have an outside spa!
In Wrightwood, we stayed at the Bud Pharm, the house of a trail angel where we could pitch our tents and cook food on the fire. The owner has a heart of gold! The rest of our time in Wrightwood was spent in the way any good zero should: eating, eating, and more eating.
This was the second big mountain since San Jacinto and we camped as close to the summit as we could. We wanted to sunrise summit so our alarms were set for 4:00. We went up 1500 feet from our campsite basically vertical, plowing through the snow. We got there at first light, and the views were absolutely stunning.
We were walking faster and mile markers were starting to become more frequent. This mile marker felt special though since it feels like the first substantial one to celebrate. We obviously had to play the 500 miles song and dance to it like crazy people.
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