Hot springs and beaches

There are hot springs on the pct. But beaches? No, not really! At least that’s what we thought. And it turned out to be wrong… But let’s start at the beginning:

Well rested, we start the next leg of our hike. We’re super happy to finally meet Vincent again!

We chat and laugh – and get distracted: Suddenly we realise that we’re not on the pct anymore! The view on our little sidetrip is great, though, so it was worth the extra mile…

Looking over the lake during our detour…

As this night is full moon, we want to try nighthiking. We don’t see the moon, though, as it’s also a little cloudy. So it’s quite dark and a little creepy – mainly because we both have an overactive fantasy😉 Eventually, we find a good spot to camp. Right next to us, a family is camping with their dog. Their little son is very cute! The moon finally showes up and it’s beautiful! In fact, there is so much light we find it hard to sleep…

The next day, we start to follow a river – first, it’s just a little mountain creek, but it gets bigger and bigger as we walk on. It makes for very idyllic lunch spots…

That night, we see our first pct-beach and decide to camp there. It’s under a bridge, but it looks perfect!😄

On the bridge over the beach…

Following the river – it has grown quite big and formed a canyon by now – we reach hot springs! This chance we can’t miss! We soak in the hot water and I also try the cold river (to clean, as the hot springs give me the impression that it’s not the cleanest water ever…) – it feels great. There are many locals there, too. We have the feeling there will be a big party tonight but as we’ve got there in the early afternoon, we decide to move on a little…

Finally leaving Deep Creek – we’re back in the desert…

Fording the river…

Every day, this hike is different. One day we hike in pine forest, another in a canyon or in the desert and today, it’s rolling hills and a lake! An awesome lake! We do 12 miles to get to a specific spot around lunchtime as we heard that it’s possible to order pizza there. And we are not disappointed! So we order and then demolish huge american sized pizzas each – and then fall into food coma…

Silverwood lake

Three hikers and their pizza…

Have you ever tried hiking in the hot Californian afternoon sun with your belly full of pizza? It’s tough going, I can tell you! We’re not as fast as in the morning now… Nevertheless, we manage to do 7 more miles! I think we finally got our hiking-legs😊

While waiting for the pizza, we got wonderful news: Steve wrote us he would like to meet us at the McDonald’s 7 miles away from our camp that night (yes, there’s a McDonald’s on the pct, and it’s famous amongst the hikers!). So the next morning, we hike on really fast to get there as soon as possible. Stopping at a viewpoint, we couldn’t have been surprised more when we suddenly hear somebody call “Cinnamon, Burrito!” behind us. It’s Steve! He hiked up to meet us!

We’re super happy, and we don’t even know the best yet! While we hike on, Steve says: “I’d like you to think about something. Vera and I would like to invite you to our house for a couple of days. So think about it and tell me later if you’d like that.” We look at each other and answer that no considering is needed – of course we’d love to come. We meet up with Vincent (he camped at another campspot last night) and he also joins. Now you know why the three of us skipped the McDonald’s!😉

My foto-proof that there really is a McDonald’s😉

We spend two absolutely wonderful days with Vera and Steve! They give us the incredible gift of a mini-vacation and also a lot of help. We relax in their lovely house, sitting on the terasse watching the hummingbirds feeding on the flowers in the garden and drinking and bathing in the fountain. We have many deep conversations and also laugh a lot. Steve makes pancakes for us and we taste Vera’s awesome muffins. We drive to different beaches along the coast where we walk, enjoy and also take a (very short) swim – it’s great and we enjoy it so much! Vera and Steve also drive us to shops so we can get a few very needed items…

I can describe what we did, but I find it difficult to express the very special connection we feel with Vera and Steve. Let me just say that we felt so much these days we spent together and we’re very grateful and happy for this time! Thank you so so much again, Steve and Vera, for everything!! We’ll never forget your incredible kindness and we really hope to see you again!

Watching the hummingbirds…

Five happy people at breakfast…

Different beaches we visit…

I make little bracelets on the trail for hikers I feel connected to – this evening, I finish Steve’s…

We’re sad to leave the next day, but we have to say goodbye eventually. Steve brings us back to the trailhead at the McDonald’s and after saying goodbye we hike on. It’s all uphill and the temperatures are not exactely low either. On top of this, we have to carry a lot of water: There is not much of it for a long time. Our packs are super heavy! The night before, I made the big mistake to weight my pack. The knowledge somehow makes it feel even heavier now…

We had to wait for an endless train to pass before crossing

Crossing another train track…

All of this combined with my melancoly feelings after saying goodbye to Vera and Steve make me a little grumpy. I get a hug then from my caballero and feel better. And our campspot that night also makes up for the tough climb: We have – once again – an excellent view! We can see the lights of different cities as well as the highways in the distance…

The next day brings us into pineforest again – it’s very agreable to walk in and it smells so good! We finally decend to hitch hike into Wrightwood where we’ll spend the night and resupply.

High up in the mountains again...

What an adventure this journey is!

On through the snow…

In Idyllwild, we take a zero-day, a day on which we hike zero miles. That sounds like very relaxing, but in fact it’s not: We have many tasks to complete and the day passes by quickly.

First of all, after yesterday’s hard day, we’re very hungry and so want to get a huge breakfast (again, I know, but I have the feeling this is going to repeat😉).

Andy and I find a hotelroom for the next night, while Vincent stays at the campground. A shower later, we wash our clothes to feel completely clean again and we pay the local outfitter’s a visit. Andy get’s liner-socks for me because we think they might help with my blisters (in fact, it turns out that they do, they’re amazing!). Also, we get a few other little things and do our resupply. We plan to hike to Big Bear which is six days away at our current speed (we calculate with 15 miles per day). Food for six days is super heavy!

And that’s not all of it – we have some cheese and sausages in the fridge...

“El coete verde” and “la pera limonera” – our backpacks, where everything has to fit in…

We contact family and friends and then get to the social part of our busy day: It’s Taco night at a local restaurant, which we can’t miss! Over 20 hikers gather there and we have a lot of fun!

The next day, we start late: Organizing our packs, pack the food etc. takes longer than we thought. It doesn’t matter, though, as we plan to only hike up the devil’s slide trail we came down two days ago and maybe a little further on the pct – if there isn’t too much snow. And in fact there isn’t: We climb the southern and therefore sunny side of Mt. San Jacinto, the highest peak around here. At saddle junction, we meet Jay and continue with him.

The three mountainers – Andy, Vincent and Jay

How old was this tree? We count over 150 rings!

Our campsite that night is great – very beautiful in a pineforest. I can’t fall asleep though, I worry about the path ahead. Everybody speaks full of fear about the miles in the snow and especially a place called Fuller ridge. Eventually I have to get up (although this takes some courage: it’s very cold outside). I’m blown away by the beauty of this place at night! The moon shines brightly and everything is cast in a silvery light…

As it turns out, my worries were needless. We hit snow the next morning, but it’s still frozen and easy to walk over. We also have microspikes now: We picked them up in Idyllwild. They bite into the frozen snow and give great grip (our trailrunners are actually also quite good, but the spikes are on another level). Because of the stories we heard about the path ahead, we decide to skip San Jacinto peak (it’s off the pct, but we’re close) and go on to reach the sketchy parts while the snow is still frozen. Vincent wants to climb the peak and so we part ways for a little.

Andy and the icycles!

Fuller ridge turns out to be much less scary and dangerous than we thought. Yes, it’s covered in snow, but that is still frozen and there are footprints that show the way, so it’s neither very difficult nor dangerous to cross with mikrospikes. (We feel comfortable on snow, we have experience with it as there’s often a lot at home. It might be a very different experience for a hiker who has not walked much over snow and/or who goes there when the snow is slushy from the afternoon sun…)

The whole thing makes me realise something I have of course theoretically known before but I’m unfortunately not very good at doing: It’s not worth it to worry too much about things that might be, as they might as well not come to pass. The difficult places and situations we experienced were mostly not expected. We just had to deal with them as they happened… Also, it’s better to go look for yourself instead of taking other people’s opinions for facts: everybody experiences differentely…

Now that the snow it crossed, we decend to the desertfloor again. It’s a long descent (15 miles!) and our knees and feet are glad that we camp halfway down and give them a rest. Once down we cross the plain to reach the mountains on the other side where we will – of course – climb again.

Beautiful sunset at our campspot on the descent from the mountains

Last look up to Mt. San Jacinto

We get to a dry riverbed where everything is sandy, it’s like walking on a beach. On top of this, a strong wind is blowing, against us. We fight our way through this to a bridge of the interstate in the valley where we hope to find a little shelter. It’s tough going! All the while we are trudging on, a looooooooong train drives parallel to us. It seems to never end! We’re told later that goods are brought by train from the port of LA all over the country. The one we saw was empty going to LA to receive containers again. It needed three engines!

Ok, I admit that I exagerate a little here…😉 But the wind was really strong!

When we finally reach the bridge, we discover trailmagic! It’s awesome, there is water and there are drinks, doughnuts and best of all, oranges! We sit there feeling a little like homeless people devouring oranges😉 If I had known that I’d end up under a highway-bridge in California…

There are many windmills here – no wonder!

Blooming cacti – we’re in the desert after all!

My dad told me nobody would believe that we’re in the desert if I only posted pictures of flowers – so here is a proper desert picture!

We try to do 22 miles that day. Our attempt fails, though, as Andy, who gets hayfever from one of the plants in the valley and has to sneeze a lot, gets very bad nosebleeding. We eventually stop to rest and find a campsite on a little hill where we spend a very windy night. All night long I dream the tent is being blown away…

The next day brings us to the Mission Creek labyrinth (Andy calls it the labyrinth of desperation). Once, it must have been a very idyllic valley with a little river. But the huge amount of water California received this winter turned the river into a raging beast that destroyed much on it’s way. The pct is washed away in many places and we have to find our way amidst the stones and fallen trees. The app we are using to navigate (it showes the pct and additional information like watersources, campspots etc. and our position via gps) is practically useless here.

Countless times, we have to cross the creek. The first time, we remove our shoes, but this becomes soon too complicated and timeconsuming: We walk straight through the water. Wet shoes are not very nice, but the cold water has also a good effect: It finally cures me from my last annoying blister!

After the labyrinth of desperation we climb. We climb a lot – we gain more than 1500 meters in elevation. Still, we manage do over 16 miles in a day, a lot for us considering the uphill hiking. We camp at the very top in a beautiful spot that feels like a reward for our efforts. It felt good and I’m proud – for the first time since we started, I have the feeling that we actually have a chance to reach Canada!

Beautiful pines above our high and cold campground

The next day, we want to reach town. We’ve been out for six days in the wild and we long for a shower (a bed and some fresh food would also be nice😉). This was our longest stretch between civilisation so far and we finish it with a 18 miles-day: We’re motivated not only by the thoughts of town but also by the fact we’ll have walked 10% of the pct!

Tired but happy we reach Big Bear lake (thanks a lot John and Joan for the ride) and find a very cool hostel. We spontaneously decide to take a zero again (partly because we really want to rest, partly because we hope Vincent might catch up). This turns out to be a good decision, as this time our zero is very relaxing! We enjoy good company, showers and food (in other words, all a thru-hiker wants😊), have interesting conversations, play ping-pong and just hang out. It’s great!

With a bear in Big Bear

Discoveries

In Warner Springs Community Center there is space for tents, there are bucket showers, bucket laundry, a charging station for electronics and resupply options – in short everything a thru-hiker wants. We take advantage of all these services and I discover that only washing your cloth by hand will get a thru-hiker’s fingernails completely clean (normal washing with soap doesn’t get rid of all of the dirt, no matter how many times you try). While our clothes dry in the sun and our phones and the external battery charge, we get a super breakfast in the same restaurant we visited the night before. It’s huge, and we make it vanish fast – hikers get very hungry😉

Warner Springs Community Center is a little paradise for hikers…

After doing all our tasks, we are ready to hike on. It’s a late start, as it’s already past noon, but we don’t mind – we don’t have a specific spot in mind for camping, we want to improvise. The trail is beautiful again, it continues first over grassy meadows and then follows a little, lovely creek up into the mountains.

A huge tree on the path… We are tiny compared to it!

I make two mistakes that day: Wearing my shorts while my long hiking pants dry, I’m not only too lazy to change when we start walking, I’m also too lazy to put sunscreen, thinking that we won’t hike for too long and that we will have shade. The result is an impressive sunburn on my calves – I pay for that mistake with pain during the next days and discover the real worth of sunscreen.

My second mistake happens unnoticed and involuntarily. Because my blisters give me pain, I set my feet differentely while walking without noticing. The tendons in my ankles don’t like that, my feet really hurt the next morning.

I’m a little grumpy when we start hiking that day. Andy, amazing gentleman that he is, offers to carry two of my waterbottles and my food so my pack doesn’t weight so much! Because of that and because I step really carefully the pain diminishes as the day goes on and my mood improves – thank you so much, Andy!

Mike’s place – a little weird, but we get awesome trailmagic there! Mmmmh, homemade lemon soda made with real lemons😄

A real moral-booster is that we get trailnames that afternoon! It’s a tradition on the trail that hikers get nicknames that are in some way or other meaningful – they are often connected with a funny story, a habit etc. I end up being “Cinnamon” (if you know me a little better and/or have been reading my posts so far, you’ll know why😉), Andy is “Burrito” (because he likes them, but more importantely, because it’s a spanish word and actually means “little donkey”, which fits, too😄).

We walk and camp with Steve, an amazing hiker from California. He is really tough and has a great humour, so walking and chatting with him is great!

That night, we sleep without the fly of our tent to see the stars – it’s super beautiful! We’ll certainly do this more often now we’ve discoverd it…

The following day is the hottest so far – already early in the morning, we are sweating and wishing for a little wind. It must be 30° C at least. I’m very glad for my umbrella, wich allowes me to walk in the shade at least. Also, as you have seen in our fotos, we’re wearing long trousers and sleeves to protect us from the sun. We look a little funny, but that’s hiker-fashion😉 Despite of all these precautions, I repeatedly get to a point where I think I’m overheating. We do little breaks then. Even Andy, who handles the heat much better than I looks worn out. We are very happy therefore for a few highlights that happen today:

We see our first rattlesnake! Vincent, who goes first, startles it, and it rattles, loudly. We’re amazed at this discovery but also a bit nervous, as it’s quite big (around 1,5 meters long) and we don’t know what the safe distance is (later we’re told that they can strike in a radius of half their body’s lenght if they’re coiled up). Andy and I still have to pass it – we wait a little, take a picture and then quickly go past. Uffff, nothing happens!

It’s hard to see – we didn’t dare to approache more…

Apart from the snake, we’ve seen a rabbit, thousands of lizards (they sunbath and seem to do push-ups, then, when somebody approaches, they dart away with incredible speed) and countless mosquitoes (luckily the not stinging ones) so far. And today is the day of the butterflies: dozens of them start flying when we pass nearby bushes. It’s very beautiful!

It took me ages to take a picture of a lizard, they are so fast!

Around two pm, when it’s really hot, we reach an oasis: there is a table and seats in the shade, there is water and a kind of bucket-shower. A shower! It feels amazing to be clean(ish) again and we’re very glad we discovered this particular spot.

Another oasis: water placed in the desert by trailangels

Despite of the heat, we manage to do 15 miles. I’m very proud of us😄 Maybe we could do it because we had a good motivation: The mission of the next day is to get to Paradiese Valley Cafe for breakfast, so we had to get close the day before. Many hikers we’ve met previously are there, too. It’s nice to chat with them and catch up on their stories. Also, we meet Steve’s wife, Vera. They’re a lovely couple. They’ll go to Idyllwild by car to stay there a day or two, while we plan to walk a little more before going to that town. We’ll miss you, Steve!

We start walking around noon, but not befor ordering burritos to take away with us – we have to take advantage of townfood and Andy has to live up to his trailname, after all. Our hike starts beautifully, we climb up into the mountains.

After a while, the wind starts blowing stronger and stronger. I get more and more tiered and the tendons in my ankles start to hurt badly. I question my motivation to be here, but the answer is immediate: Yes, I want to be nowhere esle but here, even if I’m going trough a tough moment. It’s an adventure after all, and there can’t only be nice times… But I’ve discovered with certainty now that I don’t like hiking in strong winds!

Because of the whole situation, we’re forced to camp in a not ideal spot. There are many dead trees around, which doesn’t give us a lot of confidence with the wind that is blowing…

Very happy we survived the night, we decide to push to Idyllwild the next day. It’s 17 miles away, mainly uphill. The pct suddenly doesn’t have gentle grades anymore, it resembles more a path in the Swiss Alpes. We’re in good spirits, though, and my feet feel better; we think we can do it. Around midday, we hit the first snow! The path crosses a very steep slope in the shadow of the mountain. A fall would – let’s say – not be good. There are footprints in the snow, though. We focus and cross without problem, discoverying that Californian snow doesn’t scare us too much (at least so far).

Before we reach the snow – there has been a big fire lately and everything looks a little sad

We climbed over all of these ridges!

Higher and higher we climb, up to almost 9000 feet (3000 m). The last three miles to the road to Idyllwild are covered in snow. We’re already tiered, but the thoughts of showers, a warm bed and a hot dinner keep us going. When we reach the junction from which we planed to hitch into town, we discover the bad news: There is no street, only a three miles long path down to a parking area from where a road leads the town. It seems we misinterpreted the information we had about the access to the town…

But as we’ve already come that far, we decide to push on. Exhausted, we reach the carparking, which is empty at this time of the day. It doesn’t feel like we could walk the remaing five miles into Idyllwild and it is getting dark. But then, we’re lucky! We meet Pouch, a local who lives in an old bus. He agrees to bring us to town. Super relieved, we climb in and sit down on his sofa – it feels like the comfiest couch ever😊 Pouch drives us very slowly to town, not without stopping to smoke a little on the way… It’s a very funny ride!

Because of a little misunderstanding, he drives us to Idyllwild park – a very desolat camping. We don’t feel good there so decide to walk a mile more to the other camping that welcomes pct-hikers. The day was so long and eventful that at this point we can only laugh and take it easy. The last discovery of the day: The last mile is always the worst, especially when it turns out to be four miles😄

100 miles!

After day four, on which we walked the whole time over mountainridges in very strong wind, I’m relieved when we finally arrive at our campspot. We walked 17 miles to reach it and are very tiered, but it felt necessary to get there and not to stop earlier: it’s the first relatively sheltered campsite and all we want is to get out of the wind. A breeze is very agreeable in the hot desert, but strong wind all day long (and the night before, so we couldn’t sleep much) drew away all our energy.

In the middle of the night, I wake up on the ground: My sleeping-pad has a hole. As I can’t do anything right now, I simply inflate it again and go back to sleep, but I’m not very happy with the situation…

We wake up in the rain. Packing up while everything is wet or gets wet is not fun but we manage to do it as a team and keep the inner tent relatively dry. As we leave, we see a rainbow – the trail, though hard sometimes, can be very rewarding as well (and overall, the good moments outweigh the bad ones by far…)!

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In the afternoon, we get down to the desert floor again. It’s full of yellow flowers and it looks amazing! Reaching Scissor’s crossing, we easily get a car to stop for us: two friendly ladies drive us into the town of Julian.

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Trying to find accomodation, we go into the townhall to ask for a list of places who host hikers. The lady at the counter looks at us a moment and then says: “You can come to my place.” (She later tells us she only brings home hikers she has a good feeling about.) We can’t believe our luck! Then she adds “We’ve got many dogs, so if you don’t like that, my place is not for you.” Andy makes a joke, but I get a little nervous: while I’m not downright afraid of dogs, I have a healthy respect… I say nothing, though, hoping it will be alright.

While waiting for our host to finish working, we pay the famous “Mom’s pie” a visit. PCT-hikers get a free pie here, and it tastes like heaven: I get a strawberry-rhubarb one with cinnamon-icecream! Life is sweet😄 We chat with Vincent and Eric (a hiker from America whom we met just a few hours before) and tell them about our plans – they ask and get invited, too! We do a quick resupply and then dance a tango in the townhall, in sneakers and hiking-cloth… It must have looked quite funny.😊

What happens then is absolutely incredible! We spend a great evening and night with Mark and Robin who host us in their super cool house that they built themselves and where they live with their four dogs (who are very cute and seem to like us, so I shouldn’t have worried). We can shower (aaah, soooo good to be clean again, I think I’ve never been so dirty before) and do laundry (in a singing washing machine). Then we hang out, chat and joke about all kinds of things, play pool and eat extra crunchy pizza (we have so much fun we forget it in the oven – it still tasts great, though). Mark and Robin, you are absolutely incredible, thank you so so much for the unforgettable time we spent together!

The next day we continue our hike and it feels very good, being fresh and clean as we are😉. The mountains we hike in are full of flowers – I’m very impressed with the beauty of our surroundings!The next day brings us to a big milestone: We pass the 100 miles sign! We’re super proud of having made it that far already and happy it continues to feel great to do it!😄It’s also the day we do the most miles on one day so far – 18.3 miles, that’s almost 30 km. We’re tiered after, but glad to know we can do it!

Another good thing happens that day: Around noon, we come across a big watertank and finally find the hole in my matress. It is super tiny, and we couldn’t find it with other methods…

Down from the mountains we continue over fields to the famous eagle rock and from there on to a little valley that looks like at home – until I spot a cactus also growing there…

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Tiered but happy, we reach our destination, Warner Springs. There, we have an awesome dinner in a restaurant and celebrate the 100 miles together with Vincent and Hiker from Germany with a bottle of wine…

Settling in…

After our first exciting day we start to adapt to our new lifestyle. As everything is relatively new (we did some backpacking trips at home for training, but that’s not the same as continuosly walking on), we still have to figure out many things. What should be packed where in our backpacks so it’s both protected as well as easy to reach if needed? How do we break camp efficiently? Should we eat breakfast right after getting up or first walk a little? We try different things and learn a little every day.

Every time we think that we finally got it right, it seems that something happens to show us that there is still a lot to learn, though. Sleeping system perfected? Yes, until there is a super-snorer in the tent next to ours and we realise that we won’t sleep much that night, as we have not brought earplugs with us. Finding an awesome tentspot with view? Great, until we are reminded that exposed sites can be really windy, which doesn’t help you sleep, either… It never gets boring out here😉Our windy tentspot with excellent view…

The trail leads to landscapes that change quite fast. We started in the “green desert” and go on to a flat and hot plain (day two), then follow the path up (a very long time up) into the mountains untill we reach a sweet smelling pine forest (which must be the reward for all the climbing😊 (day three)). From there we continue over windswept hills (day four). It never gets boring!😄Lakes in the desert? Maybe we are already hallucinating…So this is the real desert!Our first trailmagic!😄 Thanks very much!Lovely pineforest – it smells sooo good!Mmmh, we get an amazing salad and scrambled eggs here. Best salad ever😊Walking in the windy hills…Andy pointing to Canada!

The trail is relatively easy to walk, it’s very well maintained and never too steep. The drawback of this is of course that we have to do many more miles to climb or descend, as it’s almost never straight up or down, but gradually and winding around every little hill…

We started walking and camping with Vincent from Alsace who was with us at Scout and Frodo’s and whom we have been leapfrogging since the first day. He gets bad blisters on day two, but still keeps up with us. We all have aches and pains – but so far, Andy and I have been lucky: Andy has a sore knee and I two blisters on my little toes (on the evening of day three, they look like little balloons) and pains in my left foot, but it’s nothing too bad. We try to be proactive and stretch and massage quite a lot – so far it seems to help.

Andy, Caro and Vincent

So we continue on – like two little hobbits. We feel a little like Sam and Frodo at the very beginning of their journey, as Andy has clanging pots hanging outside of his pack and we both have sticks in our hands… I’m very relieved, though, that there are no black riders chasing us…😉Two happy little hobbits

Day 1 – We start our adventure!

At five o’clock the alarm rings. A little desorientated and cold, we pack our gear in a hurry and get a quick coffee and a piece of cinnamon-bread (so my day is already made😉). We are then driven to the border, which is a lot of fun, as our driver, an Australian girl whose trailname is “Mockmock” is as excited as we are (or maybe even more so).

The border itself is underwhelming – an ugly steel fence with wires at the top. We can’t approach it directely, but the monument that marks the Southern Terminus of the pct is as close to the border as possible. We take fotos and sign the register. Looking north, I try to imagine Canada in the distance, but fail miserably – all I can see are desert mountains that seem to go on forever. Walking to an imaginary Canada seems both unreal and impossible. I push the thought aside and we shoulder our packs. Off we go, direction north!

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The sun shines and the sky is blue, but it is not too hot: there is a very agreable breeze that makes walking enjoyable. For the moment, my fears of not being able to handle the heat of the desert are calmed. Our surroundings are amazingly green and there are many, many flowers. This surprises us, but then we recall hearing that this winter has been one of the wettest in California since the beginning of the records. There is water everywhere – we almost can’t believe we’re in the desert. The four liters of water we carry each are a little overkill…

IMG_20190330_080918.jpgMile 1! Only 2659 miles to go😉

IMG_20190330_084358.jpgCan you believe that we’re in the desert?

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IMG_20190330_092323.jpgFlowers everywhere…

We walk and chat with many different hikers. Everybody is excited and enjoyes the experience so far. It’s so nice to meet so many friendly people from all over the world!

IMG_20190330_101908.jpgSix hikers taking a break…

When we reach Hauser’s creek at mile 15 where we originally planed to stop, it’s still early. We decide to hike on. The climb in the hot afternoon sun that followes makes us feel that we truly are in the desert…

We stop after almost 18 miles (29 km), as I get very tiered. Andy still has a lot of energy, but I’m afraid that we might do too much too soon and get injured. So we find a private little wild campspot on a ridge, where we build up our tent, cook some dinner and quickly fall asleep under the stars.

It has been an absolutely amazing start of our adventure! We both really connected with the whole experience and feel very alive and enjoy every little part. At this point I’d like to thank all of our friends and family who sent us off on our path with many good wishes – you made us smile and start with energy! So now let’s see what tomorrow will bring…

Getting there…

After a long, long flight we finally arrive in LA. At the border control, Andy gets the stamp in his passport in less than a minute (after answering how many mosquito bites he expects), while the officer checking my papers seems more sceptical about my plans. Only after calling back and questioning Andy, he allowes me in… I’m very very relieved😅

We find our hostel next to the Amtrak train station and after a quick taco truck dinner fall asleep. The next day, we want to take the train to San Diego. As we have a little time, we explore the Mexican area just next to the station and take a drink in one of the bars. The atmosphere is great, and so we sit there longer than we should and almost miss our train. A little last minute training – running with a heavy backpack – saves us (but leaves me determined to walk to Canada and not to run).

In San Diego we find the home of Scout and Frodo, the trail angels who will host us for two nights and bring us to the border. They are absolutely amazing! They open their house for up to 40 people per night during two month, feed them and help organising last minute things for their hikes, all for free without accepting donations! The atmospere is great, everybody is excited and we laugh a lot. We meet many hikers and there are people who have thru-hiked already and are full of stories and helpful advice. During the two really great days we spend at Scout & Frodo’s we manage to organise last items of gear, American sim-cards and our food. Thank you so much to Scout and Frodo as well as to all the other people who helped us! Your kindness and your help is nothing short of legendary!

Tomorrow, we’re going to rise very early to reach the boarder not too late. We’re super excited😄

At Scout and Frodo’s…