Naked men and a flying snake
May 30, 2011 § 3 Comments
Big Bear to Wrightwood – 94 miles 7 days – Total: 369 miles 27 days + 2 zero days
(The title is crucial in writing, it’s got to be catchy. The first sentence is also very important, it has to make the reader want to read more, so here we go ;-))
“I can see half-naked guys!” “Yeah, Paradise!” No, it’s not a mirage. And no, it’s not trail magic 😉 We’re arriving at the Deep Creek hot springs. As we get closer, we notice there are even a few totally naked men as the hot springs are clothing optional. Soaking in the hot water was a pleasure for the muscles… and the eyes!
Water features have been a nice addition to the landscape in this section. We followed Deep Creek until the hot springs and beyond, before hiking along the shore of Silverwood Lake.
The weather has been extreme and changeable. One day the heat is so intense that your eyebrows give up trying to prevent the sweat on your forehead from dripping in your eyes, or as Isabelle put it in Pratchettian terms: “If I was a troll, right now I wouldn’t even know my own name!”, and the next day you get snowed on!
I was walking deep in thought, not paying much attention to my surroundings, when something moved on the side of the trail, right where I was about to put my hiking pole, and caught my eye. My brain barely registered the information “SNAKE”, ancestral instinct kicked in and the next thing I was yelling, running ahead while at the same time trying to throw the snake with my pole in the opposite direction, which moderately pleased Isabelle who was coming right behind and who complained I didn’t warn her. Well, she should have known that “Aaaah ah aargh!” is the universal code for: “Watch out for the (flying) snake!” The snake was probably more scared than I was as it was desperately trying to escape, escape I somewhat prevented as I was lifting half its body off the ground!
Lots of people are hiking the PCT so it’s impossible not to compare your own progress versus other hikers. You worry that you’re not doing as many miles as others, setting off as early in the morning or walking as fast. And then there are the hikers you get to know better and would like to hang around with. We’re still learning not to stress about our progress but we’re much more zen than at the start. We’ve given up trying to leave camp early in the morning. Isabelle is definitely not a morning person and I’ve always liked to take my time at breakfast.
We get on top of a hill and for once it’s not just another hill behind, the view opens up and we see rolling hills turning into mountains, blue and hazy from the smog coming from LA. Traffic on Interstate 15 is glinting in the distance. It’s Cajon Pass, the main communication route between LA and the rest of the US. To the PCT hiker it means a rest area with a McDonald’s and a Best Western motel! Even after 18 miles that day and 5 days of trail food McDonald’s didn’t taste that good. We had a few beers and hung around with other hikers. When it came to compare the weight of our backpacks we made quite an impression. Yep, guys, we’re not your average women. We might walk slow, these bags are heavy, but we do the miles and we’re right behind you!