Day 21-26: State Forest, CA State Route 2 and my achilles tendon

Day 21:

It was the first night sleeping alone in a big bed (Big bear I shared it with Frankenstein), I had a really good sleep. I saw Kathy in the morning again and told her that there is another hiker sleeping outside in the van. Just short after that she came inside and introduced herself.
Kate is the first german I met so far who also wants to speak English when nobody is around. Most german tend to speak German as soon they now you speak the same language but as like in Australia and New Zealand I want to keep speak English. There are will be always sometime somebody around it who’s not knowing to language and feels directly excluded. I sadly also assert that its mostly germans who stick together in their german group. It’s of course up to everyone who and how he travels but it’s just not my way.

Okay back to day 21 😉 I planned to leave right after a coffee and muffins from the local bakery but I as I packed my stuff I saw that my down jacket was used by someone else and I can’t leave without it.

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I decided to stay a bit longer and updated my blog with the blog post of Day 15-19. Kate also stayed since she hasn’t had the chance to do laundry and shower. She’s a pleasant person to talk with and we had a lot to talk about.

Around 9am I had to wake up the little princess from the picture since it was time to go. I sad goodbye to Kathy and Kate. I prefer definitely more to stay with those amazing people in a smaller group since you got more time to get to know them.

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It was nice spending that extra time at Kathy’s house but in case of the hike it was a mistake. I had to hike the Acorn Trail again to get to the PCT, which is 2miles and +1700ft in elevation, an average of 10% incline. It was hot, as I got to the trail again I was covered by pine trees.

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The next section to Agua Dulce is about 80miles long and goes truth the San Bernardino and Angeles State Forrest Park where pine trees and amazing panoramic views are no rarity. We also cross the California State Route 2 a couple times which kinda special but more on that later.

To finish the day, I wanted to climb up Mount Baden Powell which takes about 4miles and +2800ft but as I started I felt something is wrong with my left achilles tendon. I slowed down, stretched it a regularly but it didn’t get better. Two third up I decided to stop at a flat spot and planned to get up early as usual to catch the sunrise from the summit.

Day 22:

Thanks to my watch, I know alway know what time the sunrise/set is and got up an hour before it. On the way up, the trail was more and more covered of snow and I decided to find my own way up. I hiked along the ridge as I reached it and got to the summit just in time. At the top were a group of hikers who I wanted to join the day before to cowboy camp at the top.
As I descent I felt my tendon again and I guess ignored it as I went up to fast for the sunrise. I slowed down (1-2miles/h, usually I walk 3-4)  and after 4 miles I finally reached Little Jimmy’s Campground with fresh cold spring water. I decided to take a long break, uplift my leg and drip cold water above the heel.
After 5 hours and a nap I decided to start hiking again. Since I had 4 days of food with me I also had to split a couple meals/snacks to last for one more day. I also carry always some extra snacks/meal with me in case I’m longer on the trail. I could still feel my tendon a bit but it was better then before so I kept walking until I reached my goal of today.

Day 23:

A friend suggested me the trail name “Earlybird” but I have always one or two days I don’t feel like waking up early. So I started around 6 in the morning 😀
I still feel my tendon so I kept on walking slowly and took my usual morning break after a couple miles.

I started to meditate every morning and evening. Nothing special, just sitting at a nice spot for a 10-15min, control my breathing and just clear my mind. Feel my body, my pains and just relax.

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I heard a hiker talking about a restaurant just 2 miles off the trail on State Route 2 and since I am short on my supplies i decided to hitch there. I walked with Pete till the Highway and he said he waits with until he finished smoking his cigarette. He couldn’t even had the chance to light it on, I got already a ride with the first car passing is (golden thumb). He joined me to the restaurant and we sat down next to cyclist who came up from LA. He told us a lot about the story of State Route 2 and why its so loved by bikers and cyclist (around 60 motor and road bikes where parked)

California State Route 2 goes from the Santa Monica Beach to the east of Wrightwood. I was told that it was intended to be a route for the evacuation of the citizen of LA incase of an invasion  during WW2. Early times it was part of the Route 66 and is now mostly know for as the Angeles Crest Highway.
Due to a big fire in 2009, main parts of the road were destroyed since the road started to melt because of high temperature. A year after it was reopened, mud and rock slides forced the county to close it again since due the fire, there were no trees/plants who soak up the water during the rain. Because of that, the road engineers had to come up with a new construction to drill hills where the water can underflow the road.

It’s long curves, steady incline and low amount of traffic makes it popular for bikers and cyclist. It is also used by car companies to test their new vehicles and as I walked along the road I saw 4 new BMW models.

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After the lunch we walked back to the street and I got us another hitch after 5 minutes. Back on the trail we ran into Rea (Moon Song) who left Wrightwood a day after me and walked a huge amount off miles to catch up with us 😀

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The following miles were kinda de-motivating since there were no tress and views anymore, time for some music to keep me going. I reached a campsite after a total of 17miles but I was not really in the mood staying with a bunch of there hikers so I kept on hiking. And it would turn out to be a good decision.
As I got higher again, i walked along several pine trees and boulders and as I turned around a corner, the whole desert which we have to cross later on trail opened up in front of me. It was again one of those moment where the beauty of the landscape give you wings and you feel full of energy again. I switched to my “Soundtrack” playlist to have some epic songs while waking with the amazing view next to me. I will post my playlist if you want to add some great music 🙂

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05:14 - Still of view

As it got later and the hides sometime behind the mountain, I looked for a nice spot to camp to watch the sunset and probably sunrise tomorrow. Before the last turn around the mountain, I saw a big flat spot and there was another hiker. Kate, who I thought was way ahead of me since I slowed down and went to the restaurant decided to stop there as well a while ago and just enjoyed the view. She also had the same thought that its a great spot for the sunset/rise.
We had dinner and talked while the sun sets, the clouds changed from white to orange and red and as the sky got darker the stars came out.

Day 24:

I got up around 5AM watched the day start while laying in my sleeping bag. Just short before the sunrise, huge clouds start to surround us and we only could set a bit of the contours of the sun. I packed my stuff and started hike down till the next water resource which was at a fire station. On the way down I passed a sign from a trail angel called Mary.

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It was for me as well as a symbol to get of trail and rest my achilles tendon. I called her and she directly said she is going to pick me up and drive me anywhere I want to. As I waited, the other hikers got to the station to eat breakfast, fill up there water and I said goodbye since I probably won’t see them for a while.
My friends were still on graduation ceremony of a friend in San Diego, so I let me drop at the shopping mall so I can have some food and chill out at a Cafe with Wifi. I was hoping to have an In-n-Out around me (best burger “fast food” chain in CA) but there was “only” a Five Guys which is also pretty good.
My friend told me that her sister is at home so after an hour she picked me up and drove me to their house.

Day 25:

Cooling my tendon, eating fresh food and work on my laptop. I have prepared a box with for example my laptop, sunscreen, spices to refill like S&P, Cinnamon, Chia seed etc which I am sending myself a month ahead. It give me also the chance to edit the videos from my go pro and write more on this blog.

And of course not to forget to Skype with my Family 🙂

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Day 26:

Its Day 26 while I am writing this post and my tendon feels a lot better now. I decided to get back on trail tomorrow. Pete is still in Aqua Dulce since his team (Liverpool) plays tomorrow in the Euro League Final. After the game I will start hike Southbound till the fire station where I left the trail. Its around 30miles for 2 days, so not to many miles to get my tendon used to walking again. After I will go back to my friends house for two more days and probably go back on the PCT on Saturday evening.
The next section will be one of the toughest regarding to the water situation since we have to cross the Mojave desert and there is a 40miles stretch without water. Until then, I enjoy the comfort of cold filtered water from the fridge 🙂

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