From From Wrightwood…to Wrightwood
Day 120: Zero in Wrightwood
We were finally sleeping well in our beds and mattresses. I got a free air mattress from the host after I told him my mattress had deflated.
We did an expensive resupply in the market and had free hot dogs at the gas station. Then we went for a free coffee at a café/wine cellar. We asked if they had any vegetarian food and they didn’t, so we had some wine for lunch. Then they came up with that they could make us some chili so we ate that listening to a live blues band.
Since the weather was going to be getting brutally cold Nine Beers’ sister drove all the way from LA to bring her an extra quilt and some warmer clothes. On the way back she had got stuck in some traffic accidents for hours.
Back at the trail angel’s place we sat in a hot tub, and after that had pizza and beers. It was not a bad zero at all.
Day 121: 18 miles. Wrightwood to tentsite at mile 2306.
We had set the alarm at 06.30 but because my watch didn’t automatically register the time change to winter time it woke us up at 05.30. We had a breakfast with our host Zach and then he drove us to the trailhead. He and Coby were going to trail-run the trail up with a friend.
We climbed the steep 1500 feet in 2 miles up slowly and after that it was mostly downhill. The trail was quite nice but we were tired and had the heaviest backs ever. Nine Beers had two sleeping bags and I had two sleeping pads since I wanted to test out the one I got for free before ditching my deflating one.
Because of the time change it got dark already at 5 p.m. Fortunately it was not cold but it would start raining and then snowing the following day so we had decided to bail out already the next day and wait out the storm.
Day 122: 6 miles. Tentsite at mile 2306 to Wrightwood.
When we got up it was already raining. A mouse had bitten a hole in my food bag that I had stored in the water cache closet. For some reason the critter had not touched the fresh bread or cheese but preferred to chew on my Knorr Side. Whatever floats your boat, mouse!
We walked 6 miles in rain and wind. It was foggy and you could barely see the landscape. By the road 66 we had to go under a sketchy tunnel and then we were by the famous McDonald’s, the only one that is right by the trail. I am not a heavy user of this place but we went there and sat there whole four hours waiting for a trail angel to pick us up ordering constantly new and new things to eat. Somebody stole Nine Beers rain jacket from a chair.
The trail angel took us to the town and we got off to meet up with Miss Bubblelegs, Hermano and Landslide who were in the brewery. We went even for other beers in another bar and bought some microwave food and beers to have at home. The house is supposed to be alcohol free so we felt like 17 year olds sneaking the beers when the host came to bring us some stuff while we were drinking beer from coffee cups. The tv channels didn’t work so we entertained ourselves with a miserable DVD film about eight huskies who are abandoned in Antarctica over the winter and have to survive on their own. We felt for the dogs when the air outside the window got colder and colder.
Day 123: Zero in Wrightwood.
It started to remind the Groundhog Day when every morning you wake up in Wrightwood. This morning it was our host lady who was taking her beagle out through the basement floor where we were sleeping. She offered us upstairs for some coffee and homemade muffins and some fresh fruit. Before the meal she was praying for Jesus to bless the food which was like from an American film as I have never actually witnessed somebody to do that, at least not since I was made to sing food blessing psalms during my primary school times.
The rain was totally crazy and the streets started flooding. There was both winter storm and flash flood warning so the only choice was to zero.
We went to a Mexican restaurant and ate huge burritos there. As we ordered the bill we saw that on Tuesdays there were 0,05 dollar Margaritas in the house. We asked if that was valid already at noon and as it was we ordered the cheapest drinks on the trail. The drink was not poor in alcohol but contained surely five tequila shots and I got almost sick getting out of the restaurant.
We went to buy some food in the good old Jensen’s and found Nine Beers a new rain jacket in the hardware store. The wind was strong and the streets had turned into rivers so we were soaked when we walked back.
Fortunately we could have a hot shower back at the house. Since my clothes were soaked I didn’t have more pants to wear and I was walking around only wearing a towel. Then the electricity went off and we got some candles from our host. We made also a fire in the fireplace which was a great contrast to the outside world. Since there were only some old DVDs we watched a Sandra Bullock film where a white republican family adopts a poor black guy and saves him from his miserable life. It was an awful film but took our minds out of the weather for a while.
Day 124: 6 miles. Cajon Pass to mile 2318
It was a dark and stormy night. In the morning it was a winter landscape outside but fortunately it was not snowing anymore. I had a message from Calculator that she was in town so after packing our stuff we sled down the icy street to Grizzly Cafe and met up with her. I had a crazy second breakfast consisting of a hashbrown, scrambled egg and a belgian waffle. It was great to update our hikes since we hadn’t met in a couple of months.
Calculator had taken Uber from Palmdale and was now debating whether she would zero in Wrightwood or not.
We hitched back to the McDonald’s junction after buying more bread and beers for the section. It was suddenly very warm on the trail and we were hiking in our dress/shorts. There was a stream that was not there two days before and the trail was partly a bit muddy and soft. We could see snow above the mountains behind Wrightwood.
We were going to skip the higher altitudes because they were snowy at least at the moment and therefore we would only hike around 40 miles to a lake where Nine Beers’ sister would give us a ride pass Big Bear Lake three days later. That is why we had a lot of time and we decided to camp early that day. We set up camp before sunset and had our dinners and beers on a sandy ground between some bushes, planning what to do in LA and after coming home. It felt like the hike was almost over, since we’d only have to hike a short 200 miles to the Mexican border.
The temperature got quickly cold and we retrieved to our tents already around 6 p.m.
Day 125: 18 miles. From mile 2318 to a tentsite at mile 2336.
When we woke up our tents had ice on the inside. Even the sleeping bags had ice on top of them and as I changed my clothes snow was dropping in my neck. I had to clear the surface of the tent with my sitpad like it was a car window. It was -4 C in the morning so it must have been even colder at night.
Only an hour after we started walking it was already sunny and warm and by noon it was so hot you could hike without a jacket. We found a spigot by a campsite and then had lunch by a picnic area by a lake drying our damp stuff in the sun.
We saw some snow on the mountains in the distance and thought it was comforting to know we won’t have to hike over them.
The hike was relatively easy and followed some highway a bit. There were some streams flowing that had been dry one week ago. We had to even cross a river just when it was getting dark – well at least our feet were washed.
We had dinner under a starry sky seeing many planes flying to and from LA. It got really cold again and we were in our tents before 7 p.m. I was trying to listen to an audiobook but fell asleep in 20 minutes.
Day 126: 19 miles. Mile 2336 to Splinters Cabin
We woke up with ice on the tent and in the tent. It was very cold the first hours of the hike and we even had to wade a stream that was streaming quite strong and deep and was very cold. After a few hours we arrived to the famous hot springs and of course wanted to bath there. The FarOut warned of naked hippies and amebas in the water.
There were a lot off people and indeed naked butts and weenies everywhere. Not being shocked by that I got topless and joined some people in a spring. Nine Beers followed with a top on. We chatted there for half an hour jumping from the hot to the cold water and talking about our hike. A buttnaked guy took our garbage so we didn’t have to carry it.
The rest of the trail was partly steep with some parts of the trail being washed out. We got in the darkness to the Splinters Cabin that only had a floor of a cabin left. Nine Beers decided to pitch her self-standing tent on the floor but there were mice running around. We drank our whiskies by a table but I had to escape soon to my tent as it was super cold and I was very tired.
Day 127: 4 miles. Splinters Cabin to Idyllwild
The morning started as usual: ice covering the inside of my tent and putting on all my clothes, the last being the rain jacket so the ice wouldn’t wet drop on my neck when I packed up my stuff.
06.00 we were walking and had to cross a small stream. It was roadwalking to the Lake Arrowhead village and we had a freezing cold breakfast by the roadside like the homeless people we were. Nine Beers was desperately trying to find a place to poop in but everything being private property there was no way to legally do it.
We arrived to the Glen Malt Shop just when Nine Beers’ sister drove there with her car. She had with her my new shoes and some home baked cookies and she drove us pass the snowy mountains to Idyllwild.
Idyllwild is a really idyllic town with many dogs and the tradition of having a golden retriever called Max to be the mayor. Now when Max had passed away there were some similar mayor candidates out in the center. All over the place there were dogs knowing they owned the town.
We went to some cafes and thrift stores and had a second breakfast. We did the resupply and then drove to our trail angel that had a cosy house with a hot tub. They made a great meal for us and we could have a shower and do laundry in loaner pyjamas. We got drunk by only one strong beer that Nine Beers’ sister had left us sitting in the tub. It was amazing to be warm, clean and in a real bed again.
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