Hellweek to Acton

Wrightwood to Acton

“It is hellday” replies “Karate Kid” and we decide to move on. It is Sunday, 7 pm and we still walk down the closed Highway 2.
Two days ago, we left Wrightwood, after eating lots of fresh food and watching good movies, we also had one or two upper body workouts. So we were prepared for the worst.

LA is the third County we cross on our hike

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Two days ago, we road walked into town, so we decided to hike up Acorn Trail, which was very steep and exhausting, because of the huge amounts of snow, but it was also lots of fun to climb, step, and slide.
We found out, that this year is all about the continuous footpath, not about the complete “real” trail. Fine for us, and many others, as nobody uses the snow-covered trail, but the forest road next to it.

BP is waiting

We cowboy camp on the parking lot at vincent gap and decide, that Sunday is gonna be “hellday” we make the rules, so it will be the climb up to Baden-Powell in the morning and then follow the Trail all the way to Buckhorn Junction, without using the Highway 2, except for the closed Extinction Area.


The climb up BP was the same as Acorn Trail. Steep, snowy, and exhausting, but still fun. And so so Beautiful. Sun was shining, a little wind was blowing and we could see a mile wide. We had a quick breakkie at the peak but decided to head back down, along the ridgeline, as the wind became cold quickly.

The last ridge before the peak

The next hours were filled with traversing, route finding, and climbing, but it was so fun, after the days of training that we had in advance. There were some sketchy parts, but that was nothing compared to San Jac.

Dead but beautiful. Arctic feelings on B-P’s peak

We arrived back at Highway 2 at around 4:30 pm and went on to the next section of the PCT, which, according to the really old track, hasn’t been used for a week or so. Everyone seems to use the highway. To be honest, I’d consider that as well now. This part was very steep and dangerous, but if you followed the people who broke the trail, it was doable and not as creepy.

Highway 2 seems to be closed for another while

It took us another 3 hours to finish the last PCT parts before having to road walk Highway Two. 19 miles, mostly in snow, climbing 4 mountain tops, incl. BP and pitching our tents next to snow near Buckhorn, that was truly a hellday which became a meme for us now.

Snow plow magic

The next day was also filled with a bit of Highway walking. All of a sudden a snow plower stopped behind us and opened his door, shouting “I got snacks for you guys!”. Why are people so kind to us? We are basically without work or homes, but still no Hobos. What makes the difference?

My theory is, that it is in America’s Genes. Generations of people came here, all of them brave enough to look for something new on the other side of the big oceans. As they see us, on our long way into the unknown, some long-forgotten adventurer gene inside them might wake up and make it want to assist us.
Anyways. These kind gestures can make a whole day sunnier and warmer. Because half of the day was the opposite: cold, windy, and cloudy.

As the clouds went through, we could watch how snow started falling out of nothing

In the evening, we were so high up, that the clouds made their way around our camp. We decided to cowboy camp, to not endanger our tents. This night was, what we called “hellnight” afterward :D. We were simply sleeping in a storm. It was loud as hell, the wind was pulling on us. The Sleeping bags were covered in frost, but at least we slept warm.

Alone in the clouds

The following day to Acton was a day, where we felt isolated. We were between the hiker bubbles so much, that we didn’t see any people for the whole day.
The cloudy and windy weather, in addition to the miles of dead mountain forest, made us feel even more alone.
In the evening, we met some SOBOers, who told us, that they passed around 60 (!) hikers the day before. We immediately felt happy to not have to share our vast and empty campsites with that many hikers.

Resupply in Acton

A haunted Town?

The morning we reached Acton, was filled with meeting hikers, finally sending our snow gear north to Kennedy Meadows and resupplying. We bought huge sandwiches and chomped on them in a park. And all of a sudden, it was 4 PM. We started figuring, that the town is haunted, because it didn’t want us to leave. As soon as we wanted to get away, we met another old friend. Didn’t matter if it was a Sobo friend who we didn’t see since Idyllwild, or a friend who was supposed to be far ahead of us, but eventually got sick.

6 hours, that felt like nothing, and still, we hiked out and camped near the freeway. So all in all, we made a whopping 15 miles, even though we stayed in town.

Another German thing? Packing out beer to boost the morale

The weather that night turned into heavy rain, and we had to wear our rain clothes for the first time.
It was also the day, were my left toenail told me that it didn’t feel well in my shoes. I ignored it until Agua Dulce, but was smart enough to go “full balcony”.
Again, we spent too much time in town and still did 15 miles that day.

How beautiful can a cloudy sky be? This year is so full of variety!

Instead of having to camp in the cold and wet, a hiking friend picked us up from the trail and brought us to his home, where we had an accidental zero-day including beer, brisket, and lotsa breakfast!
How simple and easy life can be.

Again, thanks for reading this. Your comments give me the feeling that my effort to write this is the right thing to do. Our friend Dave, a.k.a. 2 oz heavy has a youtube channel where he journals his hike for his daughters but his videos are so well made, that you guys should give it a try! 

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Comments 2

  • Laurence : May 12th

    It’s true there are adventurer genes in the USA culture, but more to the point, you receive help from people who greatly respect and appreciate what you are doing. That snow plow driver knows the climate conditions and the terrain better than you, and that what you are doing is an accomplishment. As such, he is so happy to provide a small reward to you and feel connected to what you are doing.

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : May 12th

      Yes, you might be right. I also had lots of helpful people in Europe, but the Americans are always a touch more into it. I really appreciate that!


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