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Fisler - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2010

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Joel "Blaze" Fisler
City: Currently live in Topanga, CA but my home is Zurich, Switzerland
Country: Switzerland
Begins: Mar 28, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Apr 5th, 2010
Start: Tule Canyon Creek
End: Highway 74
Daily Distance: 15
Trip Distance: 93.0
Hours Hiked: 6
Entry Lat: 33.447127
Entry Lng: -116.607084

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,128
Journal Visits: 22,199
Guestbook Views: 1,126
Guestbook Entrys: 14

Gear list Journal Plan

Pacific Crest Trail Map

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My windy and sandy sleeping spot (without the tarp)

Day 7: Rushing to Pines-To-Palms Highway 74 in the rain

So my tarp was super noisy in the strong wind coming from every direction. But I still could see the stars, so the weather was nice. Thats all that matters, I thought, because with that wind any rain would come in horizontally. Despite the noise it was still warm and comfy in my sleeping bag. I was instantly awake when in the middle of the night I had a kind of "shower in the face" sensation. Not like a shower, more like those water vapor hoses they have e. g. on a hot summer day in Six Flags when you stand in line sweating. That sensation! Except I was not sweating. Nevertheless I was up in 10 seconds, put more stones on my tarps corners and had at least 4 of the 6 corners tightened all the way to the ground. Only a small entrance was still open but I would touch the tarp with my sleeping bag depending on how the wind was blowing. Dont know if thats good , I think also with the tarp its the same as with a tent: Dont touch it or you get wet?

Anyway, the rain wasn't really heavy, it was more a sprinkle and by the time the first light came I was already packing my stuff and ready to go. Too windy to cook, just ate some granola bars that morning and went on to Tule Spring to fill up my water bladders. To my surprise, the more I hiked down towards Coyote Canyon the better the weather was. I could see the sun in the Anza Borrego desert in front of me and sometimes I was even hiking in the sun myself. Not that bad after all. But I could also see up towards where Highway 74 and where the San Jacinto Mountains were supposed to be: Black clouds, everything covered in fog or more probable: heavy rain.

Although it was very cold that day and very windy I didn't feel cold as long I as I was hiking. I mean, its not like hiking in the rain in the Swiss mountains where at a certain point you stop feeling your hands or feet. Its still the desert after all and temperature were certainly 10 degrees above freezing. So not that bad considering what I later read in other peoples trail journals who were hiking either in front of me or behind me that day. But stopping, taking a long break, cooking, that was not an option: no shelter nowhere, my shirt all wet from sweating, shoes starting to leak, I had to keep on going.

Around Hiker Oasis Water Cache the rain started. From there on it got worse (so did my mood). I considered hiking on one of the dirt roads toward Anza (but then again I wanted to finish this whole part until Highway 74) or taking a Zero Day somewhere (I didn't know if Hiker Oasis is a place where you can stay and I didn't know where it was. I expected maybe a small note near the Hiker Oasis Water Cache but there was nothing) but in the end I decided to just keep on going to Highway 74, eating Granola bars while hiking, at least that way I don't get cold. The rain became stronger, I was hiking in the middle of a rain cloud and couldn't really see anything until after 6 hours I finally reached the highway 74 at around 1pm.

With THAT shitty weather it should be no problem to get a ride to town, people will instantly feel sorry about a lone and stranded hiker... I thought... At least thats how I was accustomed to it from the Alps where on such a day the first car passing would probably stop. Then again, I remembered Mt. Laguna, where I thought getting a ride when you are standing with a kid out in now-where should be easy and it wasn't. I was wrong that time and I was wrong this time. All those posh Californian snobs coming from Palm Spring driving by me with their super-size SUV's they had to buy in order to compensate for their dick size or or because they like to smash school children's head or who knows why. I stood in the middle of the rain at least an hour and now I was getting cold, now my hands and soaked feet started to feel numb, now my wet T-Shirt started to turn cold. Luckily there was one car parked at the trailhead and as the person got in I approached him, told him that I was a PCT hiker and if he could give me a ride. He did but only until Paradise Cafe which was closed because it was Monday. But still I had a shelter, everything in my backpack was still dry and now I had a dry place (on the cafe's porch) to change clothes. Everything except my shoes of course.

Meanwhile I called my girlfriend and heard that it was snowing in Idyllwild just a few miles up the trail. My plan to maybe go to Idyllwild, spend the night there and continue on hiking tomorrow or after a Zero Day was canceled instantly. I didn't come all the way from cold and wintery Switzerland to the Southern Californian Desert to hike and camp in the snow. And I did not take any snow gear with me. So I decided, that's it for the moment, back to Los Angeles (Topanga, to be correct) where my girlfriend and son were and where apparently the sun was shining! There are trains to LA from Riverside, if I only could get a ride to Riverside...

And thats when this bad day had a sudden happy ending. An elderly Canadian tourist driving his rented Mustang into the desert (Joshua Tree) and heading back towards LA saw me standing in the rain, agreed that its absolutely in-human to let people stand in the cold and rain when its in the lower 40ies and off we went, down towards LA, heater turned on to maximum power! "Where are you heading", he asked. "Santa Monica", I said, "but somewhere down in the valley where I can catch a bus to Riverside to catch a train to LA would be fine.". "Is it warm and nice in Santa Monica?". "Oh yeah, definitely, I just called my girlfriend!". "All right, lets go there then!" and he typed my address into his GPS and about three hours later I was at home, my girlfriend all amazed "shouldn't you be still somewhere in the mountains hiking for the next days??". So thanks Dave for driving me all the way home! After taking a hot hot hot shower we all hanged out on our sunny porch, had a glass of wine and in the end he spent the night in our guest room. Why go to a Motel when we have a guest room? And after "rescuing" me in that cold and wet weather and giving me ride home thats the least I could do.

So since one week I am back home now. I read about Freedbirds adventures in the San Jacintos and Sir Mix-A-Lot's near Hypothermia experience that very same day and I am happy to have come back to LA. Its just too early for the San Jacintos, I wanna go there when there is no snow, when its warm and when its fun. If I would be a Through-Hiker it would be different but now that I decided not to do a Thru-Hike I'll just do each section at a time, when the conditions are good. I might do the Agua Dulce-Tehachapi section soon, who knows. Although, I was in the California Puppy Reserve near Mojave two days ago and it was raining and really cold. So maybe its also too early for that section. We'll see. I have my homebase in Topanga in the Santa Monica Mountains and will decide what I do depeding on the weather and the postings I read from other hikers on the PCT-L list or in their trail journals.

See you all at the Kickoff in two weeks, I'll be in Campsite 54 from Friday to Sunday. Say hi, if you read my trail journal (or if you didn't, doesn't matter :-), if you agree or disagree with something I wrote or if you have an answer to one of my questions I wrote in my trail journals. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of new hikers there.

GERMAN/DEUTSCH:

Am diesem Morgen wusste ich noch nicht, dass dies vorerst mein letzter PCT-Tag sein wird. Ich hatte Essen für mehrere Tage, hatte mich bei der Arbeit abgemeldet und hätte noch mindestens 5 Tage laufen können. Aber ich entschied mich anders. Doch der Reihe nach...

Die Nacht war ok, die Blache flatterte laut im starken Wind, hielt mich vom schlafen ab und irgendwann in der Nacht begann es auch noch zu Regnen. Es war mehr ein Nieselregen der mir aber horizontal wie ein fein sprühender Gartenschlauch das Gesicht benetzte. Ich war im Nu auf und spannte mein "Tarp" auf fast allen Seiten bis zum Boden runter und liess nur eine kleine Öffnung offen um reinzukriechen. So wars zwar noch immer laut dafür trocken und warm.

Beim ersten Tageslicht war ich schon am packen und machte mich auf den Weg. Schnell weg hier. Erfreulicherweise wurde es sonniger, je weiter runter ich kam. Ich konnte sogar blauen Himmel und Sonnenschein in der Ferne sehen und war anfänglich guten Mutes. Doch mein Weg ging in die entgegengesetzte Richtung, rauf in die Berge, rauf in die schwarzen Wolken, das war kein Nebel, das waren fette Regenwolken die ihre über dem Meer aufgesogene Feuchtigkeit noch entleerten bevor es runter in die Wüste ging. Und genau dort, auf diesem Grat - der Pacific Crest - ging eben der Trail durch. Was für ein Pech, eine ähnliche Situation hatten wir schon ein paar Tage zuvor in Mount Laguna gehabt.

Irgendwann hatte ich einfach das "Gring abe u seklä" Motto drauf, kaute ab und zu ein paar Farmer-Stengel oder Power-Bars während dem laufen und hielt eigentlich nicht mehr an bis zur Strasse um mit meinem durchschwitzten T-Shirt unter der Regenjacke nicht kalt zu haben. Gegen 13 Uhr war ich dann nach 6 Stunden endlich an der Strasse angelangt und hatte auch wieder Handy-Empfang. Von Seraina erfuhr ich, dass es weiter oben schneite, das heisst, spätestens ab dem nächsten Tag wäre ich im Schnee und Eis gewandert. Nicht lustig... Der PCT geht nach der Anza Borrego Wüste rauf in die San Jacinto Berge und dessen höchste Spitze ist 3300m hoch. Zu hoch momentan, lieber komme ich zurück wenn der Schnee weg ist und es nicht mehr so kalt ist. Jetzt mal ein paar Tage ausspannen, trocknen, Energie tanken, Füsse pflegen. Doch wie nach Hause kommen?

Kein Schwein hielt an, eine Stunde wartete ich und ärgerte mich über all die doofen Amis die von Palm Springs her mit ihren fetten SUVs zurück nach LA fuhren. Ich fands unglaublich arrogant, dass man einen armen Wanderer mitten im nirgendwo im Regen und der Kälte stehen liess. Bus gabs ja sowieso nicht und auch sonst war ich ein bisschen verloren auf diesem Pass knapp 2000m über Meer. Bis endlich ein älterer Kanadischer Tourist mit einem schnittigen Mustang-Mietauto und mich mitnahm. Wo er den hinfahre, wollte ich wissen. Wo ich den hin müsse, wollte er wissen. Ich wollte einfach runter ins Tal um einen Bus zum nächsten Bahnhof und dann einen Zug nach LA zu erwischen und dort den Bus nach Santa Monica zu nehmen. Wir sprechen hier von einer knappen Tagesreise im ÖV und ich war nicht sicher ob ich überhaupt noch an diesem Tag zuhause ankommen. Wo ich denn wohne? Bei Santa Monica, sagte ich ihm. Das fand er cool, Santa Monica warum nicht, er tippte meine Adresse ins GPS und ich glaubte es kaum, drei Stunden später war ich zuhause in Topanga. Trail Magic nennt sich auf Englisch :-) Dafür offerierte ich ihm bei uns in unserem Gästezimmer zu bleiben für die nach und so hatten wir einen lustigen Abend und ich schlief in einem warmem Bett ein mit den Gedanken an meine letzte Nacht und an die Tatsache, dass ich noch vor wenigen Stunden durchnässt und frierend irgendwo in den Bergen rumgestanden bin und nicht wusste wie weg kommen.

Nun bin ich seit einer Woche in Topanga zurück am arbeiten und ausruhen und werde voraussichtlich in einer Woche wieder weiterwandern. Ende April findet das jährliche PCT-Kickoff-Meeting statt und ich werde dort zwei Tage teilnehmen und anschliessend weiterleiten bzw. die übersprungene Etappe von Mt. Laguna nach Warner Springs nachholen.

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Joel 'Blaze' Fislers PCT Blog

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org

 

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