Well it has been a week and we still haven’t been eaten by any bears. That should assuage many of your fears. Nor have we been bitten by any rattlesnakes, although we did see one earlier in the week. He was pretty grumpy though so we gave him ample space to rattle away to his heart’s content. Otherwise we have seen many lizards and many bunnies. I’m committed to catching a bunny to keep as a trail pet.
An ideal day out in the desert is waking up around 4 or so, packing up camp, and walking north. The nights are extremely chilly, but as soon as the sun peaks it’s little yellow head over the horizon it becomes unbearably hot. Even writing becomes a sweat inducing activity. We walk all morning until it becomes too hot or we find a nice shady oasis. Then we sleep and try to allow our bodies to rest and heal before we begin to abuse them again. After the siesta we hike until sunset or a little bit after and set up camp. I left out eating in this daily routine because we eat every second that isn’t occupied by something else.
I call my hiking diet the “Fat Kid Diet”. I eat four Poptarts for breakfast. I eat Skittles, Starbursts, and Snickers for second breakfast. Then I have snack time which is a trail mix palooza. Lunch is next which is primarily Wheat Thins with meat or cheese if I have it. After lunch I just eat an assortment of my morning goodies again. For dinner I have the very varied menu options of tuna mac, tuna potatoes, tuna spaghetti, or if I don’t want to cook, Poptarts. The irony in how I eat is that I have never felt healthier in my life. The Pacific Crest Trail is a great weight loss program for those looking to eat as much of whatever they want to eat.
There are people called ‘trail angels’ on the Pacific Crest Trail. They usually provide a house, food, water, a good time, and the open hands of hospitality. They are unconditionally generous people who like to help out hikers. Yesterday as we were hiking through some desert hills we came upon a sign that read “Trail Angel Mike, Food, Water, Shade”. We followed to the trail to the house and began to lounge. A hiker-looking guy came out and told us his name was Kushy Kushman. Apparently he was dubbed that after writing some tips on gardening. He had been staying at the house trail-angeling for the entire season he said. Kushy treated us to some kool-aid, beer, and brats which raised the day’s morale significantly.
Since then we have hiked a couple more days and are hitching in to Idyllwild today to idle-a-while. We’re taking a semi rest day before heading back into the San Jacinto mountains. The hike is definitely difficult with some constant pain whether it’s in the knees, feet, back, or the mind. Although it’s cliche, the quote that I keep remembering day after day is “When life squeezes lemons in your eyes you may as well laugh about it.”