2018-05-28: Some campsite on a steep hill → Ice-cold water and shade → Whitewater preserve backyard
[Wer sich wunder, warum irgendetwas mit der Uebersetzung schiefgegangen ist, der sollte auf die original Deutsche Version umstellen. Dieser Text ist nativ in Englisch verfasst.]
Estimated distance: 18 miles
The morning temperature was unusually warm. Again, I woke up a few minutes before 5:30 and probably don't have to set my alarm clock anymore. My belongings were packed together quite fast and breakfast consisted out of 2 cereal bars. No hot chocolate today. It was already too fracking hot. On the way to the nature toilet, I also found a hidden water cache which I left untouched. I really wonder for what this for!
There was still a descent of 600 meters to accomplish and I started straight ahead, again with my sandals. Maybe I should get rid of my trekking shoes. They got a-kind-of obsolete for me. I really wonder why I'm the only one here who's hiking in Sandals. They are awesome! I also sent a message to roadrunner to inquire if she's off-trail.
The highway got louder and louder. The remaining hiking path down to the valley was long and made only about 3 switchbacks. Again, it felt like I'm not really going down. Finally, I've reached the water fountain where Kyle already waited as well as two others who were definitively in the age of about 60. Amazing what these old people can still accomplish! Hiking the PCT.... I refilled all my water bottles and blisters. Now I'm stocked up to 5 liters which should be enough to get to the next reliable water supply. Kyle mentioned that Roadrunner responded and after checking my Emails it turned out that she dislocated a bone in her leg, but that she's now in Idyllwild. Nice! So it's just a matter of time until she's catching up.
The next part was about one mile walk on a road, followed by another mile on a standard hiking path and then another one mile on a quite sandy one. The sandy part really slowed me down even more than the heat. The temperatures increased more and more, the wind was only slightly blowing. Everytime the wind stopped blowing, I had the impression to be stuck in an oven!
Then I reached the highway bridge and went below it. What's there? Nice. A water cache! But what's inside these freezer boxes? Awesome!!! Ice-cold cans of fizzy drinks! How awesome is this? Well.... no beer, but it's still awesome :-D. I got a can of coke and also checked out the Hiker box. Sweet! Some Applepie which was full of sugar. What a feast!
Kyle also reached this safe haven and was also surprised about these ice-cold fizzy drinks. A few minutes later, also three other Hikers arrived here. It was just a few minutes after 10am and simply too early for a longer break. Hence, I decided to continue hiking. To compensate for the heat, I put two handful of ice cubes into my hat and put the hat on. Cool! After the first 10 minutes hiking, I got a little bit headache, but that was fine compared to the comfort of having a chilled head. I've also turned on the song "Walk with me in hell" from the band Lamb of God which pretty much described the circumstances under which I'm hiking. The chafe between my legs got horrible and this after not even 10 miles. About 1 mile after the highway bridge, I saw two chairs in the middle of nowhere, but slightly elevated so that everyone could see me from a far distance and decided to treat the chafe. I put my backpack on one of the chairs and got the nylons. Well.... what happened next is left to the reader... (a-kind-of nature striptease where I was putting on the Nylons). What a relief! Equipped with the magic of god nylon, I was able to continue hiking without pain. It got hotter and hotter. After one hour, nothing was left from the ice cubes in my hat. There was also a sign stating "aggressive dogs where sighted on the following part" which made me wonder why someone would put this here. Do they seriously expect that a hiker would turn around, giving up the PCT just because of aggressive dogs? Anyhow, it was a strange feeling to continue the PCT with this warning. It got hotter and hotter and I kept on watching the wind turbines to see if there's still plenty of wind available. Without wind, it would be really like walking in hell. There was always a small breeze and if there wasn't one, then I kept on walking to get a breeze by my movement. The wind turbines also created strange sounds. Some whistling and whispering animal sounds. This has to drive the people who live here nuts!
After more than one hour hiking, I saw a sign "Water and shade" which pointed off the trail. This must be the particular water source on the map! I followed this sign and about 2 minutes later I found someone (Cameron) sleeping below a large wooden umbrella-shaped ceiling. There was also a freezer box and when I opened it, my eyes saw glittering very chilled bottles with water, partly with frozen water in it. Nice! I sat down and immediately started to drink one of these bottles. Then a second one. It was 12:30 and I wanted to wait at least until at 2pm to continue hiking. So I've decided to stay here for a little bit longer and started writing today's diary entry. They even had WIFI at this place in the middle of nowhere! After the 2nd half liter bottle I took another one. I must be really dehydrated. Kyle then also suddenly showed up. He made a hitch-hike (boooooooooh!) deroute to get a milkshake. Tztztz... Anyhow, it seemed that nothing from the chilliness of the milkshake was left over in his body. He seriously walked here during the hottest time of the day. I've stayed longer at this place than expected and left it at about 3:30pm. Kyle figured out that he lost one of his sandals which pretty much makes the other one useless. We directly suggested a trailname for him: "One Sandel". Later on, this changed to "Onedel". So Kyle should from now on be called "Onedel"!!!
My plan was to hike a little bit longer. To trick out the heat again, I took a bottle of water which was almost entirely filled with ice. After drinking out the water, I've smashed the plastic bottle several times against a wooden pole, sliced it open and poured the smashed pieces of ice into my hat. That's like putting your head into a fridge. It hurt quite a lot for the first 5 minutes and then moved over to a nice chilliness. Another problem showed up: My chafe started hurting again. I really have to get a proper treatment for this. Cameron showed me some stuff which can be put on the chafe and that's what I really have to get from Big Bear city in 2 or 3 days.
There were still 300 HM ascent to do. The wind turbines were on my right side of the hill, making strange noises sounding like frogs, and the valley which I had to walk along then opened to my left. The end of the ascent was also visible. My hat was dropping water on my face and felt so nice and chilly. I was speeding up significantly. There was no time to waste. At the pass, a new scenery was opening up. After a few minutes, I saw a totally new scenery. Rough sandy mountains, deep canyons, amazingly beautiful. These mountains were clearly formed by rain water over millions of year. The way took much longer than expected. There were plenty of up- and downhill paths to follow which was paid back by an amazing view over a very broad river bed filled with white stones. This was enclosed by sandy and very steep mountains. I can't believe what an amazing life I have. Walking around, being homeless and unemployed, and enjoying this magnificent scenery! Having a highlight every 2nd to 3rd day. This is combined with great people around me. Hikers, well, partly also some very strange Hikers. I hope that this will continue also for the next months, but I'm pretty sure that it will.
The way down to the riverbed (its size is probably about a half mile) was steep and hence quickly done. What a mercy for my chafe which got to a state of pain again. A sign finally pointed out away from the PCT to the Whitewater reserve which was just a half mile away. The way meandered through this beautiful river bed. Two bridges helped at the beginning to keep the feet dry. Then the rest of the way was unmarked and I had to guess what the right path was. Following the path which looked like some stones were moved to the side, I finally reached the reserve. Here, I also celebrated that I didn't touch any electricity supplies and was getting so far with all my batteries loaded using only my solar panels on the back of my backpack. This means that I can really rely on them for the 9-day trips where I'm off-civilization which gets important for the very end of the hiking trip.
The resort was again like an oasis. A very modern ranger station with picknick tables, toilets and some kind of campsites. Plenty of other Hikers made it here. I was just saying briefly hello and then made me directly on getting the evening tasks done: Preparing my nest (tent, mattress and sleeping bag). There was also a wading pool. Hm.... Wading pool = a lot of water = .... = .... having a bath? Nice! Before it got entirely dark, I went to the wading pool and first waded a little bit in it. After one minute, my feet started hurting a lot. Sitting at the boundary, I had to make a decision:Now or never. So I followed Adam's dress code, laid back in the pool, put some water over me and got up again. Then, sprinkling some other water over me, I ended the bathing season for today.
Dinnertime! The others already had dinner, so I cooked on my own. Today's special menu consists out of mashed potatoes with pieces of bacon. Mjam. After eating this, my stomach felt like stuffed with foam which is typically used for filling gaps in buildings. The rest of the evening was spent with fixing my trousers which had this extremely huge crack between the legs and hanging around with others. The feeling of the filled stomach didn't last very long. Two hours later, I'm hungry again. Maybe I should mix this up with something else the day after tomorrow. Well, let's see.
Onedel (Kyle!) also made it here after dark. He was staying longer at the place with the frozen water and made another break at the pass after the wind turbines. Well.... good to see him alive and not eaten by aggressive dogs ;-).