13th May 2019

San Gorgonio Wilderness

After a night under the phenomenal sky with the view on San Jacinto (see last photo of previous post), it was time to head on, into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Before getting there, I had to get through a short section of desert with low vegetation and winds blowing. The miles were hard, but trail magic underneath the highway made it all worth it.

From the highway crossing the trail continued through the desert and towards the Mesa Wind Farm. The wind farm is there for a reason, which is that the wind is just relentless. Making the miles on that part just as hard as those in early morning. Along the way to the wind farm’s office, I entered Section C of the PCT.

While entering the San Gorgonio Wilderness, San Jacinto and the wind farm lined up perfectly. That night the sun sets behind the San Gorgonio mountains, making camp even more amazing.

The next day we followed Mission Creek up. Earlier this year most of that trail was washed out by a flood, so in the heat of the day we had to hike through the river bedding while looking out for any remaining trail. It was miserable, easily the worst day on trail so far. Even though I was around water all day, I was thirsty throughout the day. I could drink half a liter of water and be thirsty directly after. Only at camp, after drinking a liter of electrolytes, I was hydrated properly.

My miserable day was followed by an amazing one. We were 26.2 miles (a full marathon) out from Big Bear Lake, and planned to do 19 followed by a short hike into town the next day. My feet and legs were feeling so amazing, that by the time I did 16 miles I decided to push for town that day. Making it my first marathon on trail. The weather and trail were very accommodating, making the hike very pleasant. By 16:00 I got into Big Bear Lake, having made a hotel booking on trail at the same hotel my dad and I stayed just three weeks prior. The man at the reception recognized me (or my name), and helped me cancel the Booking.com reservation in order to get the cheaper hiker-rate.

Because I hiked in a day before my friends, I had an extra zero in town. We already planned to take one day off, and would even decide on another. So I had three days off. Eating and drinking all that I’d want and relaxing in the hot tub of the hotel.

The day we hiked out of the town was very foggy and wet. The trail followed a burn area which was very spooky in the fog. Eventually, we passed Big Bear Lake on the other side of the lake.

At night we set up camp just before it started pouring. It would be a very wet and cold night, making us wonder why we didn’t stay for another night in Big Bear.

The following day the storm passed and we had a good day. Temperatures not too high and the trail was very kind to us. We would go from the woody mountains into the desert and slightly back up to the forest. This transition was interesting to see. Cacti appearing into the scenery at the same time as tree would become more scarce. We eventually set up camp along a creek.

Just out of camp I passed the 300 mile mark. It made me realize what I had already did. Hike that distance with everything I had a need for on my back. Before hiking out that morning, I had made arrangements to go home in a week to take care of visa issues. The next town, Wrightwood, would be my last until I return with a new US-visa. Just 70 miles to go.

Ten of those would get us to the Deep Creek Hot Springs, a natural hot tub along the PCT. I got there around lunch time, making it a great place to chill in the shade and water for a couple of hours while the sun was at its hottest. A local told us about a bar just a couple of minutes by car from the trail up ahead.

It turned out to be 5.5 miles to the trailhead, where Hops and I decided to get a taxi to this bar. The locals welcomed us as hero’s, ‘HIKERS!’ they shouted when we got out of the car, and the first beers were on them. After a couple more, we had to get back to hiking as our camp was 3.5 miles along the trail. The sun had started to set and end this best day on trail so far.

My next post will be about the last days into Wrightwood and my trip home. Hopefully, my adventure continues afterwards, depending on the issuance of my new US visa.

For more frequent updates, check out my Instagram.

Happy trails!

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