Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Day 16: When it's freezing in Southern California

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Date: May 15, 2017
Miles: 18 miles (28.9km), from mile 243.5 to mile 261.5. 
Health: After the long night of sleep my feet are working again. I need to make sure to sleep enough.

It was a cold night but the storm that we were afraid of never showed up. When I woke up I looked at my temperature meter and it showed 30 degrees (-1c). What the. We're in Southern California. Maybe it was the elevation as we were above 8,000 feet (2,500m).

Waking up above the clouds.  

Waking up above the clouds.  

All my water bottles had an ice covering and as I peaked outside of the warmth of my sleeping bag, I didn't want to get out. I'm so glad I upgraded my bag from the 20 degree to the 10 degree (fahrenheit) bag.

I heard Blis starting to rustle in his tent next door so it was time to get up. He had made oatmeal in his tent and accidentally poured it inside his tent. Auts.

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We had gotten to the camp quite early and went to bed quick so I had gotten a good long sleep. I noticed this immediately in my legs and I was quick to take down my camp.

Even though it was freezing, I was quite sure that the air would warm up as soon as the sun would come up in an hour. You don't really want to leave the camp in the morning with too much clothing on as you spent the rest of the morning repacking your pack as you get hot. For this reasons I left camp in running shorts and a shirt. In an 32 degree (0c) weather. Not smart.

Snoopy and Fish warming up in the morning sun.  

Snoopy and Fish warming up in the morning sun.  

For about an hour I shivered while hiking as I waited for the sun to get up but eventually had to give up. This was going to be a cold day. The cold wind made any attempts to warm up in the sun futile.

Compared to the previous day, today was a breeze. The trail was easy and fun to hike and we quickly made progress. At one point we came across Fish and Snoopy who had passed us at night and camped further down the trail. We had no idea where Airplane Mode was as she was supposed to camp with us but we couldn't find her in the morning.

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As we got around the mountain our cellphone got reception and we called to Big Bear Lake to make reservations for the Hiker Hotel for the next day. We had heard it was quite full so we wanted make sure we got a room. Our plan today was to get close to the Highway 18 where we could hitchhike to town, and then do the last miles in the morning and take nero and zero in Big Bear Lake. Little rest was in order.

Dirty hiker legs.  

Dirty hiker legs.  

I had no idea where the rest of our bubble was, but I suspect that most of them are ahead of us. Maybe pushing to Big Bear tonight. While we could do that as well, we didn't want to get to town at evening and pay for the room for an extra night.

Trail obstacles.  

Trail obstacles.  

At one point we came to the private zoo that's right next to the PCT. It's a "zoo" where they keep animals from some Hollywood movies. It's actually quite a sad sight. The animals are locked up in small cages where they have no protection from the sun and no room to move. There were bears, tigers, a mountain lion, and others.

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Few years back some PCT hikers started a petition to get a better living arrangement for the animals but sadly it got no results. The sight was so sad, and I felt our presence stressed out the animals, so I wanted to move on as soon as possible. Why can't these animals be set to some wildlife sanctuary where they would have better lives?

We hiked on but I couldn't shake the bad feeling about the animals.

250 miles! 

250 miles! 

The trail was fast and while it was cold, it was also very easy to hike. We soon crossed a 250 mile marker (402km). We took quick photos and hiked on.

Of course there's a sofa on the trail with some trail magic.  

Of course there's a sofa on the trail with some trail magic.  

The rest of the day was quite uneventful. We lost the trail few times and got lost one time. The trail was badly marked but it wasn't a big problem.

My shelter for the night. Notice the flag ;) 

My shelter for the night. Notice the flag ;) 

The weather was really windy and as we were getting close to the Highway 18 pickup point, we started to look for a campsite for tonight. We soon found one that had some cover by the trees and set up our shelters. I looked at the clock and it was 6pm. With nothing to do and it being too cold to be outside, we went to our tents and started to sleep. It was going to be another cold night.

Blis happy with his shelter.  

Blis happy with his shelter.  

Tomorrow we would have a short 4.6 mile hike to the Highway 18 where we would try to catch one of the rides to the Hiker Hostel. I can't wait to eat a proper breakfast and some real food beside the trail food. I feel like I'm losing too much weight too fast and I need to start upping my calorie intake. This means eating like crazy in towns. Yeah!