From desert bloom back to snow
I10 to Big Bear
We can feel the desert. After days of sleeping in the cold and almost a whole month of shivering nights, feel the hot wind blowing in our faces under the bridge of the Interstate 10. We are waiting for a Trail Angel called “Nitsy”. We are sweaty, covered in dust, and tired from the descent. Far away behind us is the majestic peak of San Jac. So unreal, that we stood up there yesterday.Follow our journey on Instagram!
A house full of hikers
Nitsy picks us up and all of a sudden, we realize, that she is no normal Trail Angel. She is obsessed with hikers. Her house is open to everyone, it almost feels like a hippie commune. 30 people are sitting around her house, there is a camping toilet, otherwise, her bathroom would be blocked every second.
We just leave our packs and she drives us to In’n Out, then she heads back to the I10 to pick up other hikers. She does that all day long, every day.
As we walk into the In ‘n Out, a whole different world awaits us. Clean people, people with intact clothes, Air Con (hate it, I almost froze to death).
We inhale two double-doubles and leave. We don’t feel well in this temple of noise and consumption.
But we can’t do this trip without them, so off to the next temple: Walmart!
The store is massive, but luckily we did our first shopping in San Diego and the stuff is to be found in the same aisles, otherwise, we would be too overwhelmed to shop here.
After our resupply, we head back to Nitsie’s to have a few beers and talk to the other hikers. A group of funny AT-hikers is there. They met on the AT and now the six are doing the PCT together.
“Who wants shots?!” shouts Nitsy.
It is going to be a short night.
Back into the desert
The next day we head out back into the desert. It is said that there is snow before and after Big Bear, so we keep on carrying our snow gear. It is windy and hot. Flowers everywhere, it is incredible.
The wind farm has some thirst quenchers to offer and a biologist shows us the desert tortoises, she protects.
We have seen so many desert animals now, but till here, no rattlesnakes for us.
In the evening we reach the Whitewater preserve. We did our first 17-mile day yesterday, slept only 6 hours and Annikas’ feet have blisters. We additionally carry 5 kg of food and 3 L of water. We could just do 10 miles today. That’s why we cross the river, which is our first real water crossing the trail, and plan to cowboy camp under a canopy at the preserve. A road runner presents us his freshly caught lizard before he runs away with his prey.
The next day seems to be better. Somehow the water crossing heals Annikas’ feet, she is full of life all of a sudden. The whole day we cross mission creek about 30 times and she loves it so much, that we accidentally do another 17 miles.
The next day we realize that we somehow came back to a height of 7000 feet. We climb the last mountain before we hit the north Face of the San Gorgonio wilderness, and there it is again: the snow.
The fact that we did San Jacinto makes it so easy now to walk here. It feels a bit like a normal hike, as we traverse, jump, slide, stomp, kick and glissade down the trail.
This mountain range somehow turned a switch. We are not exhausted after 15 miles anymore. We just walk all day. Have nice lunch breaks in between with coffee and snacks and decide late in the afternoon, if we wanna do 2-3 miles more or not. Mostly we wanna do them.
So it is no wonder, that we hiked at least 17 miles daily since then. We know that we are close to our first 20-miler. But we don’t want to force it. Big miles come on their own, as soon as you start to feel stronger and stronger. So we do what we finally learned to do since San Jac: we just walk and sit, walk and sit.
Until we reach Highway 18 and catch a hitch to a nice Airbnb in Bigbear City.
The joys of civilisation
It has everything we need: a laundry, a kitchen, a shower, and a TV! At home, we never watch TV, but how nice is it now to sit there all night, watch Zoolander and the naked gun, with a beer and lots of rootbeer floats?!? We could stay here forever. But we will want to move on soon..
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