Ziggy and the Bear (trail angels) to Whitewater Preserve, CA
Today I renamed Ziggy and the Bear's place to Hotel California. Why? You know the line in the song "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." That is precisely what happened today. We woke around 7 am to a breakfast spread of fresh fruit, cereal selection, hot beverages, and orange juice. After breakfast we packed up our bags, which was pretty easy since we didn't pitch the tent last night, and was pretty much ready to leave by around 9 am. That's when it happened. We were pretty much checked out, but we couldn't leave. I don't know what happened, but before we knew it it was 11 am and everyone had us convinced that we shouldn't hike in the heat of the day and we should leave after 3 pm. So, for the next 4 hours we socialized with other hikers who kept showing up with bright red faces (definitely a good idea to wait). Then we all ordered Burger King that Bear picked up for us. Then we did some more socializing and finally left just after 3.
I will tell you one thing. Ziggy and the Bear was one of the highlights so far of the PCT. They live for hikers from 1 April to mid-May. The protocol when you stay at trail angels houses is to leave a $20 per person donation, which we gladly did as we left. Here is their picture:
Right when we left the sun hit us hard. We knew there was a water source 2 miles away, so we only took 2 liters of water thinking we usually drink 1 liter every 4 miles, but it's hot, so let's take 2. We barely made it to the next water, even with the 2 liters. It was so hot and the trail went up right from the start. At the water source we took 3 liters which was heavy, but we felt we needed it. Then the trail started going up even more. Check out the profile of the hill we had to climb:
Luckily it turned to4 pm as we were toward the steepest part, so the sun wasn't too brutal, but it was a hard climb. I guess I forgot to tell you that we resupplied at Ziggy and the Bear's. We are now carrying 6 days worth of food to get us to the next town (Big Bear Lake) so our packs are very heavy. Although the picture doesn't seem to do it justice, check out the climb here. We had to go up over that saddle.
Finally up and over and of course we had to now go back down.
We were then greeted by a sign welcoming us to a new area. San Gorgonio is the tallest mountain in Southern California. This can only mean climbing is in our near future.
I guess I didn't mention it, but, but we only had to cover 8 miles today to get to our campsite. Ordinarily this wouldn't be too much of an issue, but we started hiking after 3 so we were now racing daylight. Finally, just as the sun was setting, we saw the sign pointing us towards the Whitewater Preserve where PCT hikers are permitted to throw down their tent anywhere in the picnic area, which, by the way, has water and bathroom facilities...BONUS!
One half mile later we were searching in the dark for a place to pitch our tent while coming across other thru-hikers sleeping all over the place.
Because it was dark, I wasn't able to get pictures of the tent and this preserve. Tune in tomorrow for them.