Day 26, Rocks

Today: 20 miles
PCT mile: 293
Total: 300.5 miles

The sun came shining right through my window to wake me up with its cheery little face this morning πŸ™‚ When I gave in to the day that was already upon me and rolled over, Sarah came by “I found a rock for you,” and left a heart rock by my door πŸ™‚ Awwww that just made my soul smile in the morning sun!

20160518_072442I was thankful for the dry condition of my sleeping setup and tent this morning, considering we were dancing with thunderclouds yesterday evening I felt it was a treat to be able to pack everything up dry! I ate about 3 times the breakfast I did at the beginning of the trail, but I hike so much happier when I have a solid breakfast in me! But that’s my body. Sarah’s body doesn’t crave that big breakfast, but it wants to eat every 2 hours. And I am quickly coming to that stage too! We stopped about every 5 miles to rest and snack today. It was a good system for everything but our snack bags which have nearly been halfway depleted and it’s day 2 of 5 before the next resupply!Β  I feel the time is quickly approaching when it will not even be possible to completely satisfy the hunger on the trail and self control will be of utmost importance to ration the edibles we have! Hiker hunger. It’s on the move.20160518_105557

We hiked along a ridge above big bear lake for awhile and took our 1st snack break overlooking the lake and measly grassy ski resort.Β  The bombay spice chickpeas did a face plant on the dirt! TRAGIC!!! Of course I joined them in the dirt, picking up all the pieces big enough and popping them in my mouth. Wasting them was NOT an opinion!20160518_111717

We then turned north around the mountain, away from the lake to view the other side. Rock quarry! Stands out like a moon in the middle of the pine trees on the hill.
We end up playing leap frog on the trail with a whole new group of people, passing them when they stop for breaks, being passed by them when we stop, flip-flopping with them all the way down the trail. Blue Cheese and Sweaty Balls were a new couple we were flip-flopping with, German and Swedish. Z was almost sprinting down the trail but must have taken long breaks because we passed him up a couple times too. The leap-frogging was getting quite entertaining as we were tagging each other “it” as we passed. 20160518_132923

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A glimpse of the Sierras in the distance….we’re comin’ for ya!!!
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You never know what you’ll come across on trail!
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Doesn’t matter if the bow is as big as you, ya just HANDLE it like this chic!

We also came across Greer, Diesel, and Rock Sucker. Greer came down the trail at one point just behind me yelling “phone!” only to find out it was MY phone! Goodness gracious Greer I would have been so handicapped this trip without my phone! An unfortunate reality even in the woods 😦 Diesel and I met in a very bare section of trail. We’ll just say that nature was calling loud, and diesel came around the corner HOT! With all but a tumbleweed between my releasing bladder and this new hiker friend, we exchanged the akward “uh, ummm sry, its ok, uhh” with nothing to be done but let him fly by while i finish my business, only to get to the bottom of the hill for Sarah to introduce me to her new friend Diesel! I’m sure my face instantly got “sunburned” as all sorts of trail names were thrown out hahahaha

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Some ROCKIN love!
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Do rocks ever make you smile?

Rock Sucker doesn’t know that’s his name yet. He’s a unique guy that has his own sometimes unconventional ways of doing things and will avoid identifying questions but freely offer tips for life on the trail. We met him on our way to big bear, later saw his mom was asking about his whereabouts on facebook, so it was a pleasant surprise to find him today – he made it through to big bear! Somehow we made it to the topic of food, probably because it’s on our minds more than off now. We shared how people always tell us we are carrying too much food, but yet we eat it all! We just eat a lot lol He quickly responded with how beautiful our bodies were and what nice legs we had, then proceeded to share with us how sometimes when he’s short on food he will suck on a small rock and trick his body into thinking it’s candy! If I ever start sucking on rocks for food, send me a care package πŸ™‚

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Day 25, Trail Angel Sandy

Today: 7 miles
PCT mile: 273 (resumed at PCT mile 266)
Total: 280.5 miles

You would think laundry would be a priority when we come into town so dirty and stinky lol But somehow we missed that at the hostel, instead downing cup after cup of hot cocoa trying to write a few blogs. I was also chatting with our hostel mates Kelly & Henry who are headed out today for garth boulder gardens, a communal living eco community apparently not too far from Big Bear. They shared more of their experience from the music festival they had just come from in joshua tree, which Kelly said was really more of a mystic transformational festival with a more spiritual focus. Besides the music there were yoga classes and “all sorts of the other things, but it was kid friendly so no nudity was allowed.” I found it interesting she felt the need to clarify this, and she continued “I asked the director why and he said it was because of the kids, so I asked if he’d asked the kids how they felt about it and of course he hadn’t.” haha I love talking with people and finding out what really matters and makes a difference in their lives! I imagine if the PCTA declared no nudity allowed on the trail (because kids were allowed out there) there would be some perturbed hikers as well πŸ™‚

When we got kicked out of the hostel, Sarah & I started walking towards the library (to keep blogging of course), stopped into Copper Q for a sandwich along the way, and trail angel Sandy volunteered to practically be our personal chauffeur the rest of the day! She came to retrieve us right from the cafe, took us to the library, and I was so glad she was driving us at that point because the library was closed! So like the angel she is, she just took us to her house and let us blog on her computers. Who escorts a hobo around town then lets them just come to their house, sit on their nice couch all smelly and stinky, and lets them use all your computers??!!! These trail angles just don’t make sense. She made us do laundry while we were there too, good mama πŸ˜‰sarah.jpg

4pm comes around, and we eventually head back to the trail. In reference to the big dry lake bed extending from the current water level of big bear lake, Sandy told us about these fish (stickle fish maybe?) that bury themselves in the mud, can survive for a while there, then when the dried out lake bed gets a puddle on it, the fish come up into the puddle?! Muddy hibernators??! Sandy is so fun, sweet and bored. She was sharing with us how tempted she is to take a new managers position at the restaurant her husband is building because it sounds fun. I don’t think she knows what to do with all her free time after retiring haha She shared her conundrum with us “I would have to sacrifice a lot of my flexibility, so I keep trying to give it God but I take it right back again!”

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1st hiker we meet back on trail is Bubbles. He started the same weekend as us! So we’re not behind our whole pack? Woohoo!

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Should we test it for them? haha It was a nice evening stroll back up into the mountains above big bear lake πŸ™‚

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At one point we debated if we should keep climbing up, there were some pretty dark clouds rolling in. But we decided the storm was blowing away from us and kept going! And boy oh boy were those dark clouds a treat when the sun started setting!!sunset.jpg

After just 7 miles today, it was actually really nice to be at the end of the day before your feet started screaming for escape from your weight and shoes. I was cuddling a bag of softening fiesta rice and big franks under my jacket like a baby in this sunset until Sarah declared it was time for the baby’s birth. She’s a midwife. Β Attempts to keep a baby in when a midwife wants it out proved futile! She will always win. The babies will always come out folks πŸ™‚

No rain yet, we voted the massive sounds were fireworks and big cannons instead πŸ˜‰

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Day 24, Big Bear!

Today: 8.5 miles
Off PCT
Total: 273.5 miles

Oh the transformative wonders of sleep! We slept 10 hours on top of sugarloaf and had a much more enjoyable day coming down the other side of it, meandering through forest roads and random trails up to big bear πŸ™‚ We found a few random objects along the trail but the hunger prevented us from lingering and taking full advantage of these luxury items lol

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We pushed all the way to town with one thought: FOOD! Went STRAIGHT to the post-office where we had a box of it waiting for us, and immediately started going through it, all self-control overcome with the raging appetite. I’m stuffing my face with crackers Β and grabbing handfuls of extra food from the hiker box to add to my resupply when a lady braves the hiker stench, comes over and asks if we need a ride somewhere. What is up with our rides finding us?! There are angels all around us! Of course we take her up on the offer, shove the food back in the box and hop in Sandy’s car.

sandy.jpgWe had our eye on a hostel with free dinner/breakfast/showers/laundry with the camping fee so she headed that direction. Then a taco bell appear around the corner, ALL the cravings came flooding back which apparently we weren’t very good at hiding because the next minute she was taking us through the dirvethru! haha Apparently Sandy has a habit of picking up male hikers and taking them to her house so she had to take us by her husband’s work site to prove she picks up girls too! lol Β She is a recently retired real estate manager in big bear looking for things to do so excitedly gave us her number so we could call her tomorrow for a ride back to the trailhead. Such generosity!

hostel welcome.jpgFirst order of business at the ITH Big Bear Mountain Adventure Lodge was feasting on our taco bell of course. 20160516_162541The owners were interesting, but offered us pizza!

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They had quite an assortment of random things in the hostel, including a self-instructing piano lol

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We took a stroll through the cute little big bear village, and I finally found a knife Carlos would deem appropriate for my adventures! (Carlos is a great friend who tried his hardest to get me to carry guns and all sorts of knives on the trail) hehe πŸ˜‰

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Most importantly, we celebrated 200 miles with ice cream!!!!!

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We made sure to get back to the hostel in time for rice and stir fry. Shared dinner with Kelly and Henry, a fascinating couple who are simply living in the now. They are so present, with such intense eye contact in conversation. They meditate often and are open to wherever and whenever the flow takes them from one place to another. They most recently came from Joshua Tree music festival and are thinking of making their way towards garth boulder gardens, a communal eco village nearby. They reminded me so strongly of a friend who has embraced the freeness of their spirit in a similar fashion! I admire their ability to be so present and honest with themselves and their environments in any given moment. They truly encapsulated this reminder I came across in big bear village:20160516_191402

Day 23, BRUTAL

Today: 16 (7 PCT miles, 9 other dirt miles)

Left PCT at milepost 242.2

Total: 265

At 2am there was a beast to FEED! Sarah & I are not morning people on trail. We typically sleep till the sun blasts us out of our sleeping bags with its rays of fire, but today we are on a little secret mission. There has been great debate in the hiker world as to the closure of this next section of trail. Rumor has it the trail is ready to be opened after the Lake Fire but some sort of politics are keeping it from being officially open. Some were sending reports of walking through the whole closure with no problem, others reported encountering rangers and paying hefty fines for being there. Most hikers were shuttling around this trail section from Cabazon to Big Bear, but Sarah & I are not about to skip miles. Some hikers are doing a super long and sketchy roadwalk around the whole section, also not appealing. We want dirt. So Sarah schemed a way to walk through a minimal amount of the closure, 7 miles, then hop off on the earliest side-trail and make up our own sort of alternate route of random trails and forest roads up to Big Bear. I’m all for the adventure, so here we are at 2am. I am hungry the minute my alarm goes off. We pack up quietly, stuff a few snacks in accessible pockets and tip-toe past our neighbor.

The headlamp-lit trail appears to be in good condition. There are no closure signs along the trail, it appears as if it was meant to be open. Sarah’s headlamp goes out so I give her mine and stumble along behind her in the dark. I would consider myself more of a klutz than a ballerina and it was frankly quite amazing my feet were the only things hitting the ground! We stopped for a few quick snack breaks, desperately trying to fuel the body, but kept moving through the hunger trying to make it out of the closure by daybreak.

20160515_053045Somehow through all the stumbling in the dark we transported ourselves from the desert of white water preserve to a forest!Β Definite burn area, but the trail was in good condition.

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Sunrise found me STARVING but still enjoying the still beauty of an empty forest coming to life πŸ™‚20160515_055407

By 6am we had made the 7 miles through the closure without sighting a single soul or closure sign! We hopped off on the side-trail, my conscience relieved that we were unquestionably legal now πŸ™‚ Absolutely starved and exhausted from a less-than-solid 5 hrs of sleep the night before, we plop down on the bank along the side of the trail and finally eat breakfast! Or 2nd breakfast? Sarah cozies up in her sleeping bag to doze in the crisp dawn, I’m terrible at napping but soon find myself waking up to the sun on my face πŸ™‚ What a lovely surprise!

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Slightly refreshed, we trek on down our new route. Side-trails, forest roads and some cross-country, we are the only hikers doing this and we’re loving it! At 10am Sarah stops abruptly, throws her pack down by a tree and announces that she has to eat NOW! I don’t share her urgency in this moment, but having been hungry since 2am I have no complaints about another snack break! The only problem is our meager rations that have to get us all the way to Big Bear *SIGH*

We snack, keep trekking, enjoying being the only sign of human life out there, and sarah points out a bear track! This foot was bigger than my foot, we have a big friend out here πŸ™‚ The tracks follow the dirt road for awhile, disappear off into the trees, come back, leave…I was having great fun tracking the bear as we strode along singing all the songs we could think of about bears!20160515_091352

Then at one point where the tracks came back to the road, there were baby tracks too! There was a little more urgency in Sarah’s step after that, we didn’t stop to marvel as many things πŸ™‚20160515_09423620160515_103244

By 1pm we make it out to the highway and Heart Bar Campground-water! Yay! The campground host was quite friendly and generous, telling us to stay as long as we wanted, so we hung out in an empty campsite and took more naps in the sun πŸ™‚ I can’t remember the last time I took TWO naps in one day. And the day’s only half over! haha

We wake up starving again, cook a second lunch then tackle the mountain climb on the other side of the highway. It feels like this whole day has been a desperate attempt to catch up on rest and calories and it’s just not working. We have gained a bunch of elevation already, and climbing this hill now is just exhausting. We chat and dream about all the food we want to eat, the bottomless fries at Red Robin, the milkshakes, Taco Bell, pizza…by 4:30pm we arrived at Wildhorse Camp. Would be quite a lovely place to camp actually and boy are we exhausted! But feeling the hunger and seeing the miles still between us and our boxes of food in Big Bear, I really want to get closer. I think Sarah would have preferred to just camp there, but I thought we would feel so much better if we just finished the climb a couple more miles to the top of the ridge and sleep closer to town aka food. We compromised, had 1st dinner at Wildhorse, then took off up more of the mountain.

I did not realize what the trail was going to do. After climbing up the hill following a little creek, we turned off a dirt road onto a trail that went STRAIGHT UP the side of Sugarloaf Mountain. There was nothing sweet about this massively vertical slope. We struggled up about 10 steps at a time, missing the nicely graded PCT every step of the way. I wanted to be at the top so bad, but my legs would start screaming for a break after 10 seconds of scaling this sugarloaf. Sarah was struggling too, I started feeling bad for dragging her up this at the end of such an already brutal day. Her muscles have a legit neurological reason to be refusing to work, and here I am pushing those limits to the max. I just want to be at the top! I just want to be horizontal. I just want to eat food.

My mind finally wins, I stop listening to my legs and just drag one in front of the other until I am ON the ridge! I throw my pack down on the flat ridgetop that will be a fantastic bed for the night, and collapse next to it. Knowing no amount of brain power can make her legs move anymore than they decide they want to, I go back to the edge and cheer Sarah on as she conquers this blasted Sugarloaf like a CHAMP!20160515_181520There is a nice view from the top! A few pictures are enough for tonight, though. We have more pressing desires than gazing at beauty this night. Needs to be horizontal, needs to eat food πŸ™‚20160515_1811162nd dinner is in order, the 6th meal of the day. I think hiker hunger hit today! haha From the moment a starving beast was awoken @ 2am this morning, I knew today would be a struggle.Β AtΒ 6pm, the beast is Β absolutely beat.Β It was a losing battle trying to catch up on sleep and food, but our secret mission was a success! That night hiking was suicidal though….not gonna plan no more of that anytime soon. So brutal. All day. Fooooooooooooood

Day 22, Flappers

Today: 17 + 0.5 side trail

PCT Mile: 235.5

Total: 249

Survived the night without any more racoon damage! Just a few curious ones scratching around the tent. I know they got good sniffers so all I can guess is myΒ  hikerfunk deterred them from easily nibbling through the thin netting separating us all night lol Though this part of the PCT is still open, we felt like the only ones out there which was kinda cool! We tip-toed past 2 sleeping Germans, ran into Tom Taylor who is doing sections as training for a thru-hike when he retires, and found Dr. Bill again! This is the trail angel who rolled up in Idyllwild and offered us his cabin to stay in πŸ™‚ He is a PT (often helping hikers that come through), did sections of the trail last summer and is trying to make up the sections he missed by trail running them now! So fun to find familiar faces out here on trail πŸ™‚

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Ocassionally looking back at San Jacinto, our first summit of the hike, we pressed on 17 miles today of hot and dry hiking. 20160514_105951We were both dragging more than usual this afternoon…dehydrated? low blood sugar? just plain HOT??? Well, the miles and the heat finally did these babies in and their souls flapped open today!20160613_12501720160613_125028

After a few minutes of flapping around, I knew I was not going to make progress with my awesome high stepping maneuvers to walk with these flappers lol Duct tape to the rescue! I am not altogether disappointed in this turn of events…..i have to cover my shoes in wonderful colors, bummer.Β  πŸ˜‰ It was affirming to experience that not even my shoes could handle the heat anymore lol Maybe I’m not just being a pansy?20160514_163427Finding a rare haven of water trickling through the desert of course we STOPPED and snacked, and this colorful friend dropped by to pay us a visit!

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Today is Sabbath and Sarah & I shared object lessons with each other. Her observation was how fast the desert gets dry after a little creek crossing. Case in point, we had green trees and moist ground and grass, then BOOM 5 feet later it’s like it never happened. Life connected with the stream of water, the water of life, is so vastly different and more attractive than the life even right by it, but not connected.20160514_135759

My observations were the bright cactus flowers, which really are a surprise to come upon in such a barren land. You can burst God colors wherever and whenever, don’t have to wait for NOT’IN! These little cactus guys are in the driest, hottest, deserted places of the planet, no one may ever see them their whole life, but they don’t let assumptions of needing water or attention phase them and just BURST forth their colors to the world anyways! Take care of yourself first, the cactus stores water in its leaves, then God can flow THROUGH you and burst out in unsuspecting colors in the most unsuspecting places!20160514_150351

We are camped right before the trail closure. There’s one other guy camped up here who has been cross-country exploring ways to get around this part of the trail. I’m not sure he gets that its the whole area that was closed from the Lake Fire, not just the trail…haha but we can’t say much because come 2 am we will also be rebels heading through part of the closure on our incognito plan to get to Big Bear. He was an interesting guy though! He sleeps on this huge tarp with his food bag tied to his arm cuz he says he hears bears walking on the tarp to get to him, and they’ve grabbed his food before but when he moves his arm they get scared and run away hahaha I love the characters out here! I’m beginning to think the drag today may be a lack of calories as well, we had 2 dinners each tonight and still could have tucked more away….Ain’t gonna get more food till Big Bear though, so gonna tuck myself in my sac now cuz the incognito plan starts EARLY tomorrow!! πŸ™‚

Day 21, Raccoons

Today: 8 + 0.5

PCT Mile: 218.5

Total: 231.5

The best part about sleeping at home: BREAKFAST BURRITOS!!!!!!!!!

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Oh me oh my so I LOVE me some breakfast burritos!! And I love my mom, Home Skillet-she’s the coolest on the block! Even took a detour back to trail and got taco bell for later, and a couple burritos for a friend Pickles, who was just about to the spot where we hopped off trail πŸ™‚20160513_143551Packs loaded with taco bell and fresh fruit, we head back out into the desert. It’s only May, but it is HOT out there. All exposed, no shade for miles, or water for that matter. The PCT is open for about 10 miles past this point, then the Lake Fire closure has the rest of it closed up to Onyx peak. Most hikers are taking a shuttle from this point up to Big Bear, but Stork and I are about WALKING this journey! If there’s a way to walk, we will do it. So we are walking, with our own ideas about how to get around the closure further up.

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For those of you that are familiar with the drive along the 10E headed out towards Palm Springs, this is a familiar site to you. Driving by I always thought it was so hot and dry out there nothing could live so that’s why the put windmillls up. Now here I am in the middle of them trying to live lol20160513_154220

I found my first rattlesnake of the trail today! It rattled its presence and scurried up the hill before I got to him, nice guy. Then we found this other guy, not sure what to call him…

20160513_182929We finally crested the hill looked at the vastness still ahead of us….”some of those mountains way out on the horizon must the Sierras,” we dream πŸ™‚20160513_170844It is 100s of miles to the Sierras still, we dream and fantasize about climbing mountains without sweating more than we drink, trees to mingle with, lakes to swim in…but in front of us lies a valley that is dry, yes, but also a bit green! Plateaus of life spread out in front of us, not the Sierras, but quite a lovely valley after nothing but the windmills and the 10 freeway.

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We zig-zag down to these plateaus in a game of chutes and ladders! The switchbacks down the mountain were marked with wooden “ladders”, but there were many places “chutes” of erosion took a more direct path through the switchbacks, the trigger of this childhood favorite we would always play at my grandparents house bringing positive memories and laughter as we trot down the hill πŸ™‚ 20160513_172202Once down in the valley, I felt like I was meandering through a pleasant countryside in some other state-this CAN’T be southern california!

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I mean there’s even a RIVER down there! This was all of a sudden very gorgeous.

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Whitewater Preserve welcomes hikers?? Well sure, the half a mile might be worth it then!

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It turned out to be quite a pleasant half mile walking through the river bed, across all the white sand, and even crossing several little rivers. The stones lining the path through the sand were just so cute, knowing each one of them had been placed by hand, probably re-done every year after flash floods came through the valley. 20160513_184106

By the time we made it to the preserve I felt SO welcome! Every hand placed stone almost seemed to be a greeting, every little river branch a refreshing invitation, then we arrive at a big green lawn! A wading pool, trout fishing pond, little nature paths, and a great view back at that first big mountain we summitted on trail, San Jacinto.20160513_190732

There were all sorts of friends at this preserve too! Bunnies hopping in and out of the bushes,20160513_191836

Mountain goats scampering along the cliffs, and some other visitors that came out later.20160513_190226

After exploring a little, we get our food out, but a quick glance at San J popped us up with our cameras and we rushed over to the fence to capture the colors being painted across the sky!20160513_194943

Clouds do an absolutely incredible job of gathering and flinging color across the sky πŸ™‚20160513_194608

While we were marveling at the paint job in the sky, a sneaky little visitor discovered Sarah’s apple she had packed out. Now, if we were just camping, we wouldn’t be so attached to apples, there’s always millions of apples around the house it seems. But on trail, fresh fruit is GOLD! It’s bulky and heavy, a pretty rare treat to have. So when we looked back and saw this little guy digging through Sarah’s food for her apple “oh no you don’t!” and we run back to the food. This rude little guy was so brave he didn’t leave until we could almost touch him! We shooed him up a tree and he tried to stare us down for awhile. We saved the apple, so now we were excited about our new friend, trying to capture him in the fading light. First raccoon of the trail! He’s chattering with us, we’re getting shots of him, seemed to be quite a cooperative relationship we were developing.20160513_194735

Not able to keep food off our minds for too long, we soon return to the nice picnic table (another luxury of the preserve!) to enjoy our town treats. That T-bell we got on our way back to trail was RINGING loud and clear! I hardly ever eat taco bell at home, but for some reason as soon as I’m NOT home, the cravings grow into a near-obsession, I was so excited for this party in my mouth. The party was just getting started when we noticed another friend, also looking for a picnic. “Oh another raccoon! How cute!” We take some pictures, but keep eating. Like a second-born child, he didn’t deserve as much attention as the first πŸ˜‰ haha Maybe he noticed, cuz he soon DEMANDED the attention as he began charging us, running for the picnic table we were feasting at. “Surely he will stop when he sees we’re not going to move” we thought, standing our ground to these rascals. Turns out we’re not as intimidating as we thought. As he ducks under the far side of our picnic table we scoop up our burritos and RUN! I left the Ursack, the bag with the rest of our food in it thinking “this thing is supposed to bear proof, there’s nothing this little guy could do to it.” But that little rascal immediately smelled the food inside and drug that Ursack ALL over the preserve, biting, tearing, fighting for the contents. He knew there was food in it, but he didn’t know how important that food was to Sarah and I. The battle had just begun. We chased him all over that nice green lawn, threw rocks, yelled, and finally scared him up to a tree, but he was feisty guy. He was partway up the trunk just holding onto the sack, looking at us, the food, us, food, us, food. Being the fierce, intimidating humans that Sarah and I are, we finally get him up the tree, Sarah taunting him around to the other side while I dash in and rescue the sack. Victory!

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The little guy did some damage to this “bear-proof” bag, but the kevlar kept our food safe, at least this time. Dinner had to be finished on the move, holding all our food in one arm, eating taco bell out of the other as these rascals followed us wherever we went. These were not shy guys. They put up a good fight and kept us on our feet-literally! A car-camping couple, Amy & Bryan heard all the raucous and let us keep our food in their car for the night-angels! Amy has hiked the PCT in sections over 16 summers I believe? She’s a school teacher, kindly warned us the raccoons would even come in our tents if we didn’t close them. Maybe we won’t cowboy tonight?20160514_072725

Our friends at the preserve were….varied! From the cutest fluffly rabbits to the most fiesty raccoons. It was a great night πŸ™‚ Whitewater Preserve is a bit of a hidden gem, an oasis in the middle of southern california desert. Not only green and moist, they make their signs out of rocks! They rock.20160514_082919

A few of my favorite quotes inscribed around the preserve.20160513_18540720160513_192042

Friends, there is no need to hurry life.

Day 20, Hot Sand

Today: 9

PCT Mile: 210.5

Total: 223

It was a rare morning we awoke on our own in time for the sunrise! 20160512_054445The desert sky is a real treat when the light flashes color across it, and the heat that comes with it is a reaaaaaal motivator to get moving! We dry camped last night and still had some miles to go this morning before there was a legend of a faucet at the bottom of San Jacinto. It is so hot. So dry. It’s amazing the life and color that still exists in these extreme conditions! Hot pink plants??!

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And a new kind of lizard we haven’t seen yet on trail…20160512_075717

I was so incredibly grateful and almost dumbfounded when we came down the last switchback of San J and spotted the faucet! What in the word is a faucet doing out here in the middle of nowhere! They must have gotten tired of rescuing people out here from heat stroke, and knowing how stubborn hikers are, put in a faucet so we could help ourselves in our relentless trek across the barren lands. It was so out of place, full of bees, but absolutely LIFE-giving!20160512_093114

From this faucet it’s only about 3 miles to the 10 freeway, and a trail angel about a mile beyond that. We could see the freeway from the faucet-so close!! So deceiving. It was so hot, exposed, sandy, slow-going…

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It looked so close, it was so flat, but it was all sand. Ever make a trek through that nice deep sand at the beach down to a pier that doesn’t look too far away and always end up walking by the water cuz its too much work on the loose dry sand? There was no water, no hard-packed sand. It was hot, dry, sinking every step, no shade, the freeway looked just as far away every time I looked. 20160512_10352520160512_110051

I have never been so excited to see the 10 freeway in my LIFE! The only shade all day!!!! The trail goes right under the freeway, we chilled under there like hobos for awhile πŸ™‚20160512_111830

Our first trail angel experience was just over a mile away-Ziggy & The Bear! I was excited to experience the magic! Motivated by this and the prospect of going home for a night finally spurred us back into the merciless sun. Getting closer to Ziggy & The Bear, signs began to appear…20160512_114330Such simple words, but so ENCOURAGING when you know what’s coming!

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I like this trail angel business already πŸ™‚

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We made it!!!!!!20160512_115336

We’re not the first ones to have made it. Over 1000 hikers have already come through this year!!20160512_120551

These trail angels are experienced, what they have is almost a machine of magic. Every hiker is properly documented by Ziggy, and you musn’t hold the sign crooked either πŸ˜‰20160512_121009

Ziggy & the Bear have seen so many hikers, they have a system, they have rules, they provide the necessities, and they encourage safe hiking habits.20160512_120953

They have completely dedicated their backyard to hikers! They have even nailed down carpet on the ground. Hikers can sleep on the ground here, hang out in the shade by the house, get water, wash their hands and face, and even catch a shuttle from to Big Bear, around the current trail closure from the Lake Fire.20160512_121026

It was so incredibly hot. Almost 100 in the SHADE. We were so grateful just for a shelter form the ball of fire!20160512_123426

It was so great to chat with our first trail angels and experience the magic! Then the mother came and treated us to chipotle!!!! Home Skillet brought the rest of the magic to us today πŸ™‚20160512_133445

Chipotle, happy tummies, showers, smoothies to celebrate our centennial mile markers, and home πŸ™‚20160512_163224

After 200 miles of living in the desert, the comforts of a house were not all together unwanted. We are headed back to trail tomorrow, but oh so grateful for mothers, chipotle, smoothies, and all the opportunities for adventures πŸ™‚