The year of Ice and Fire – Again?!

From Big Bear to Wrightwood

The Ford pickup pulls over and stops. 30 seconds! New record! The fastest hitch we could catch so far. BigBear is a very hitch-friendly town. We could do all our groceries by hitching.

Bye bye, Big Bear

Clyde, the owner of a local shop drops us off at the trailhead and we are back in the game. The packs are lighter because we shipped our snow gear to Wrightwood. Such a relief. This year is different, for sure. What is a water carry? The longest so far was 10 miles. As soon as you are thirsty, you find a stream or melting snow. Therefore, we carried our snow gear since Idyllwild and the microspikes since Campo.
Every Class has its different challenges.

Follow our journey on Instagram!

We start hiking and feel that our bodies got stronger, that the zero helped to build up our muscles. We cruise down the trail. It’s all downhill to Wrightwood, after Milemarker 285 we cross the last snow and it starts to be hot again. I almost forgot how that feels.

The end of the snow. But for how long?

On the morning of day two, we realize, that we would arrive too early at the Cedar Glen Maltshop the next day if we would just do 17 Miles. “Well, maybe we should do our first 20 then”, says “Ok”. Deal!

Our first Malt

The Malt Shop is a calculated stop, we, therefore packed less food, so we must stop there. Plus: We Germies never had a malt before. What should it be anyways?
Motivated to make it, we race along, by 10:00 AM we have 9 Miles down. Feels good. Every 2 hours we have a little break and snack something. At lunchtime, we have the first of three big river crossings. Do I have to tell you that water baby Annika a.k.a Nasty Cheese was very happy about that?
At 3 PM we are nearly there, so no need to be too fast. All of a sudden, I hear a noise, like someone trapped a hornet under a paper cup. I jump back and start searching, and there she is. A young rattler under a bush, 5 feet away from us, standing up and warning us. The sweet thing warned us that early that we could easily walk around her. Since then it was our one and only rattler. Strange. Others see them 3 times daily.

Well, a big tree 😀

We arrive at the deep creek trailhead at about 5 PM and realize, that we will have to hike another 1,5 miles out from the trail. Then we will have to call the owners of the malt shop and they will send somebody down to pick us up. What a Service! And what a burger! The bacon was the crispiest I ever had. Usually, you don’t recognize it on a double-double cheeseburger. But what in heaven is this Ambrosialike fluid called malt?! Of course, we took a rootbeer malt and it left every float and cream soda behind. Till then we hope to experience this taste again.
Happy to have done the extra miles, we hobble back to the trailhead and camp. Everybody else sleeps under the big bridge, so we have a quiet night.

Not the big creek, but the small one to Cajon Pass

Hot stuff at the hot springs

On Tuesday, we pass the deep creek and mile marker 300. It finally feels like those numbers are coming by quicker. On MM 310, we enjoy the hot springs and take a break of 2,5 hours. It feels like a water park. People sitting in Pools, (some even brought champagne? :D) jump into the river from boulders, others just sunbathe. Additionally, you could watch squirrels, planning their attacks on the hiker’s backpacks, but none of them got through, they get chased away after every encounter. We then follow the deep creek on its long descent into the desert. It feels like weeks ago, that we felt the true heat of the sun, but it has just been a few days.

On our way to Cajon Pass…

Thursday is the most important day of the week. We are somehow between the big bubble all the time, which is also a reason why we almost never get our hands on trail magic. That is the reason why we crave sodas so, so much, which is the reason, why we are freaking excited to finally reach the famous trail-Mc Donald’s at Cajon Pass. It is 09:30 AM as we rush in. Perfect! Breakfast first, then carry out burgers. You Americans don’t know how lucky you are, for having the best breakfast burger of all time: the Sausage and egg McGriddle with Ketchup. The normal German does not understand American Breakkie, that’s the reason, why it wouldn’t stand a chance in Germany. But oh my god, what a burger! I and two McGriddles celebrate our 5-year-old love that bloomed first in snowy NYC in 2017.

The first fire…

A wildfire this early?!

As we got out of “Mackas” OK said, “Well that looks strange”. A big yellow/brown cloud was rising in the sky behind the mountains. A wildfire. The first one of the season. In April. This year truly is special. While walking down the trail we quickly realized, that it was close to the trail. We then sat down on a hill and watched the firefighters flying in huge amounts of water. We slowly approached the scene and at the foot of the mountain behind which we expected the fire to be, the fire was back to a white-ish smoke, like a very wet campfire that had just been put out. Because of that, we decided to climb the mountain. At its peak, we finally got reception on our phones and found out that the trail had just been closed.

Cali, you look better without a fire =)

To respect the situation, those pilots were in, we decided to activate our plan B and walk down the forest road next to the trail and road walk into Wrightwood.
For that, we would have to sleep another night in the desert. We would also need to get our hands on more water. So we simply hitched back to the water cache near the trail. The PCT and the highway are going parallel in this area. So we hitched in and out and as we pitch our tents for the night and eat our cheeseburgers, a car shows up with a very angry lady, who tells us to go home, she has had enough trouble with the fires and the pct-hikers, she doesn’t need fake people additionally. No reason to convince her, she is too upset.
As we walk past her car with our packed packs, I explain to her what happened, and all of a sudden, she realizes, that we are PCT hikers and no city-people, who look for a night at a bonfire. “in that case, you can stay”, she says. “I can see now that you are real because your shoes are dirty and your teeth are white”. The best sentence we have ever heard. We sleep to the sound of two coyotes.

What’s better than a trail? A roadwalk! =D

On Thursday morning, we road walk 7 miles into Wrightwood, happy to be still on a continuous footpath towards Canada. That’s what is most important to us. It doesn’t matter if it’s the PCT, or a forest road, as long as it brings us North. We zeroed here the rest of Thursday and the whole of Friday. We couldn’t wait to get our bodies showered and our clothes washed.

For all the movie enthusiasts: this week’s AirBNb-Cinema showed: Total Recall and the Fifth Element.

Thank you all for reading and commenting on this. The comments and texts, I receive on Instagram make me continue the writing. Guys, I need your help. If you feel so, please send me your recommendations for secret 80s movies classics! ? 

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Comments 6

  • Chris "Challenge Accepted" Nataros : May 6th

    Thank you for a beautifully written piece to let me re-live my hike through your eyes a bit before I shuffle off to work!

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : May 12th

      Thank you so much for your words! That always means much to me! Big pleasure to be bringing you back to trail.

  • Nephi Polder : May 6th

    I love reading about people experiencing my backyard mountains that I take for granted. I have to look up that malt shop. That’s a new one for me. Great pictures!

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : May 12th

      I hope I will a malt like that again one day. And I hope you will have a good burger there! 😀

  • Laurence : May 12th

    I was expecting an update about the McDonalds breakfast on Instagram before you walked back to the trail, but it did not come. Then I heard about this weird fire there, and said to myself “well, that explains that”.

    • Björn "Refill" Dziambor : May 12th

      Haha! Yeah, that was forgotten all of a sudden, as we were figuring out what to do! 😀


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