Monday, May 19, 2014

The Rattlesnake Conspiracy

From the first day on a lot of people told me about their rattlesnake sightings out here. Numerous stories about their colors, sizes and behavior have been told along the trail. Yet I never saw one. In fact, I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail without ever seeing a rattlesnake. Now, when I hiked mile after mile through the desert I started to grow impatient because I still didn't see any rattlers. After a while I decided that all this was a big hiker conspiracy. Rattlesnakes don't exist. They're not real. Until I saw one. For real. And they just kept on coming.

Some random hiker: "Guys, have you seen this huge rattler on the trail a quarter of a mile back?"
Me: "No, I haven't. And neither have you. I just passed that section five minutes ago. Rattlesnakes don't exist. You're part of the conspiracy. You just made that up to make fun of me."

The day I left Big Bear Lake I was hiking some switchbacks down to a picnic area. All of a sudden I heard something hissing next to me. I stopped and tried to spot it; it was hiding underneath some bushes. Unfortuantely I only saw its tail disappearing under a rock. Another hiker came by and started poking the rock with his trekking pole, so it started rattling. Okay, they seem to be real, although I only saw its tail. Somehow I didn't feel like reaching under the rock with my hands to pull it out.

A few days later, after I left Deep Creek Hot Springs (just a few miles north of milepoint 300) I ran into Lazyboy, Matt and Joe. They stopped because a rattlesnake was blocking the trail. All curled up, ready to strike and rattling like a lunatic. We threw some small rocks at it, but it refused to move. "I find it truly unfortunate that you don't understand the concept of GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!", I thought. After taking a couple of pictures of my first real encounter with this deadly serpent I started poking it with Joe's trekking pole and it finally got off the trail so we could hike on.

Anyway, it was about a hundred miles between Big Bear and Wrightwood (I arrived here yesterday after a 22-mile hike). Luckily this stretch of the PCT is comparatively flat, so it's easy to hike 20+ miles per day; especially when you're strolling down the trail while listening to Hotel California.

The best part of the day is when you can find some shade at noon to enjoy your Siesta. Near mile 300 there was a bridge at Deep Creek. The water was even deep enough to go for a swim. Long story short: we stayed there for about five to six hours. That place was just too good to pass up. Till that day I had no idea that ladybugs can bite. Yes, that's right; in California these cute little beetles actually bite you.

In the afternoon we hiked another ten miles to Deep Creek Hot Springs: a beach with white sand in the middle of the desert. An oasis full of hikers, hippies and nudists. A good place to have a beach party. Especially when there's a bunch of people around you trippin' on weed and shrooms.

On the day before I got to Wrightwood we crossed an interstate freeway at Cajon Pass. The good news is: there was a McDonald's and grocery store just slightly off the trail, so I had a proper meal for lunch and packed a bunch of cheeseburgers for next day's breakfast (hence my trail name). The bad news: after that we had to face 5,500 ft of uphill, and there was no water for 22.5 miles. Trust me: carrying all your gear, food, and six liters of water out of there is not what you want to do when the outside temperature is beyond the melting point of Uranium.

Alright folks, that's it for now. I need to get some chores done.

Happy Trails,



  1. Moin Moin und Hallo,

    Ich habe soeben deinen Brief erhalten und gelesen, danke dafür.
    Wie immer hast du eine sehr objektive und fachgerechte Ausdrucksweise gewählt.
    Sowohl der Teil in dem du hervorhebst was für eine Weichei ich im Bezug auf Kälte bin, als auch die detailliere Beschreibung deiner „Selbstseh-Salz-Eier“ (WTF,Word kennt das Wort) haben mich sehr inspiriert. Wie du in deiner Postkarte schon erwähntest freue ich mich bei deiner Rückkehr natürlich besonders auf diese :).

    Wir in Deutschland haben jetzt natürliche einen flächendeckenden Mindestlohn von „ 3 halt dies Fresse und arbeite schneller, sonst hacke ich dir den minderwertiges Glied ab! Pro Stunde.
    Auch die Arbeitszeit ist nach unten reduziert worden, sie liegt jetzt bei 8,5 Tagen pro Woche.

    Aber mal im Ernst, ich freue mich sehr das du eine gute Zeit hast und viele einzigartige Eindrücke sammeln kannst. Zu der Klapperschlangen-Verschwörung möchte ich zwei Dinge beitragen: erstens mehr Bilder bitte :) und zweitens: ja, weil Weltraum-Nijas von hinterm Mond gleich links.

    Ich hoffe du hattest schon die Gelegenheit in das neue Sabaton Album rein zu hören und ich wünsche dir weiterhin viel Spaß.



  2. Sves comment kann & will ich nicht toppen ... aber: tolle bilder, gern mehr davon und zum mitwandern gut geschrieben, liebe grüße, bine