It’s been three weeks and 275 miles but here it is, the blog none of you have been waiting for, a short rambling synopsis of the first 10% of our short rambling hike.
Where to start? Even though the adventure started way before the Southern Terminus, the Mexican border (complete with gun toting Border Patrol) is the launch pad for this hiking adventure. Jan dropped us off at the official start point at 7am on April 20th, leaving us with butterflies in our belly and a buttload of weight on our backs.
Since then we’ve walked…a lot. The desert miles have scorched our feet and offered up flora and fauna new to my British Isle eyes, whilst a peak or two have caused our thighs to balloon, trembling with strength and power.
Saying this, we should discuss our one true love on the trail, mixto dinners. Although Ladypants has opted out (possibly due to politeness and a hint of pride), the remaining members have developed a penchant for throwing in some bagged goodies for poor man’s Pad Thai with sausage or ramen with hot and spicy soup, we eat WELL. Hunger is definitely the best gravy.
With our insides warmed by a cooked dinner, most nights have seen us cowboy camping under the stars. I bloody love those 10 seconds between sleep cycles, a bleary look up at the Plough and Orion will often reward you with a shooting star or a constellation our uneducated minds are yet to learn. Desert nights are incredible and, with the full moon fast approaching, are only going to get better.
As with most outdoorsy things I seem to do these days, the weather is being very kind to us. The desert, although hot and tangled up in the tentacles of drought, has been offering us cooling breezes and reliable water sources. Any precipitation is met with a slight glumness for its impact on that particular days hike, but with huge excitement and enthusiasm for its impact on our environment. This place needs water, stat.
This struck home heavy a few nights ago. Hiking out of the desert heat in Cabazon, we climbed 7,000ft out of the dryness to follow the ridges and vales of the San Bernadino national forest. Stuffing tortillas in to our mouths over lunch, we welcomed the relief offered by a cloud passing in front of the sun, laughed when a few spots of what felt like rain hit our burritos. We hiked on, enjoying the cooler climes.
The sky darkened some more, snow began to fall at a startling rate and the game was on. We weren’t the only hikers on the mountain and we’d all be pulling on the friendships we’d forged to ensure we all reached our targeted campground safely.
We knew Zog, Seth, Sideshow, 3D and team GerMatt were heading our way, it’s nice to know who’s about at times like this. We rattled through the 8 miles to discover the campground had an historical cabin which, even though we probably shouldn’t stay inside, offered shelter from the storm for 20 or so hikers. It would take a gnarly, bitter ranger to kick us out in to the cold.
A cool but cheery night in the (windowless and doorless) cabin was our reward for pushing through the storm and the hike towards Big Bear over the next couple of days would be enhanced by the precip glitter covering the landscape.
It is nice to be warned (if only gently) about the unpredictability of the wilderness and, although we’ve had our fair share of travel adventures in Guatemala and beyond, we’re nowhere near as cool as Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans (or any other film he’s in) just yet.
So with a couple of days to recuperate in Big Bear, waiting for DAVE, AMANDA and EMMA, we can reflect on the trail, the temporary lifestyle we’ve adopted and when Henley is going to drink my milkshake.
The kids associated with EDELAC and everyone we know and didn’t know from Quetzaltrekkers are always in our thoughts. This is an adventure for us, but by challenging ourselves like this, we also hope to raise some money for those not so privileged, whether that’s through donations or encouraging people to go to Xela and trek, we’re smiling and hopefully you will be too.
So peace out my friends, I hope to speak with you again x