Big smiles and even bigger miles.

Like many of us, I had some sort of plan on how fast I wanted to get to certain places. But I also knew that on the PCT plans never really work out as planned. Is it a bad thing? I don’t think so. I never planned to have two zeros in Julian, neither have a zero here in Idyllwild where I am writing this from.


The weather has played a big part in where we have tried to reach and by we I mean our “little” family. The recent storms has had us crammed into little rooms in Julian, Stagecoach and Idyllwild. It is those little rooms where bonding started and pushing big miles before another storm rolled by where friendships were made and the story of the Bandits started.

But let’s go back in time a bit. Back in Finland when my partner and I were planning to do the PCT. We talked about being a part of a family, wondering how will it happen and if it would? We came to the conclusion that if the vibe was right we would go with it.

I have always enjoyed meeting people around the world, hearing their stories and learning from their experiences. But with trail families I believe the experience goes a lot further. You build up a bond really fast with the people you hike. If someone is suffering you help them out, you share meals and snacks. Get overly excited about each others resupply boxes and share your cathole stories.

The Bandits ended up doing a 14-mile day out of Julian to the water cache at mile marker 91.2. This is where we learned about a new storm closing in, so we decided to push and get to Idyllwild before it would arrive. Three 22-mile days were done, all of us crushed by the desert heat, long water carries and by the time we got to camp each day everyone was exhausted.


But then came out the smiles, hugs and victory treats. Beers were shared, trail names were created and laughter made our sore abs hurt even more. Tramiles are probably not for everyone, but finding people who share the same vibes, make you laugh and push you through the hard parts of the trail is an experience I would not change for anything.

Heading to town

Back to the present moment: it is snowing here in Idyllwild, we are bundled up in a tiny room, re-supply has been a success and Mayor Max has wished us luck for the upcoming days. Others we have met are bouncing forward as the reports of St. Jacinto are not promising an easy passage. But we will push forward tomorrow from Paradise Valley Cafe, we want to make our own mind up about the conditions and if weather permits, conquer the first snowy peak of the PCT.

Meeting the mayor

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