Saturday November 19, 2016 – Sunday November 27, 2016


All our worries about making tight connections  from Guatemala City to San Jose, Costa Rica and onto Los Angeles were for nothing. We made our LA flight with 15 minutes to spare. 

An active volcano in Nicaragua.

We arrived in Los Angeles on a beautiful sunny afternoon. After a lengthy wait at the car rental company we were finally driving away in a HUGE car. It was our very own muscle car – a Dodge Challenger – not the economy car we had booked.

We were driving east out of LA to visit Joe and Dede with whom we stayed earlier in the year when we were on our way to San Diego to start hiking the PCT.  It seemed to get dark fairly early. The sunset cast a brilliant red glow illuminating the surrounding hills through which we hiked only seven months ago. 

Great to see such beautiful wide, open skies and fantastic roads.

The next day Joe and Dede showed us a slice of weird California in the desert: Salvation Mountain, Slab City and an artist colony of East Jesus. All places in the desert for  people who don’t fit into regular society and want to live off the grid. Slab City also gained some notoriety through  the movie ‘Into the Wild’. So interesting – definetely not  places we would have  discovered.

On the way we stopped to have a look at the Saltan Sea. A saline lake sitting above the San Andreas Fault.

The ‘sand’ is made up almost entirely of fish skeletons and barnacle shells.


There are so many places along the Pacific Crest Trail that we loved and wanted to revisit.  We loved Idyllwild, a beautiful, cozy mountain town. It seemed  so much quiter now and a little bit cooler then it was back in April. 

Julian is a town we missed completely as it was in the very early days of our hike. The town is famous for its apple pies. Hikers on the trail raved about Moms pies and we were not disappointed. Definitely  worth the drive and the long wait in line – easily the best apple (and pecan) pies anywhere.

Long line – the pies were worth the wait.

Ready for the oven.

As it is Thanksgiving holiday week in the US, we are ever so thankful for our freedom to travel and all the wonderful people we’ve met on our ‘gapyear’ travels. We are grateful that we’ve had to opportunity to experience  the PCT. We are missing the beauty of life on the trail. So on our way north from Julian, we returned to the PCT, hiking the section from Warner Springs to Eagle Rock. Although much drier then back in April, the trail is as breathtakingly beautiful as ever. The blue sky was crispy and clean and seemed to go on forever. It was so very tempting to keep going.


From Warner Springs we traveled  north to Joshua Tree National Park which we had visited briefly over 10 years ago. It was great to have an opportunity to spend a few days in the park this time. And being that it was Thanksgiving holiday time, the campgrounds in the park  were full. We had planned on hiking and  it was perfect  hiking conditions during the day. But the nights were freezing, it was so cold  that  the water in our bottles  froze overnight. We hiked and camped along the Boy Scout Trail which did not get many visitors.  It got dark well before 5pm and the silence once it got dark was simply beautiful.  

Mt San Gorgonio, the highest peak in Southern California.

The cactus sparkling  in the sunshine.


From Joshua Tree NP we drove west towards  the coast  stopping at another favourite PCT landmark town, Wrightwood, on the way. Such happy memories of hiking this section of  trail. We revisited Inspiration Point where the PCT crosses the Angeles Highway. The weather was changing so quickly while  we were there and by the time we made it back into Wrightwood it had started to snow.  It was beautiful and made us wish  we were staying in town longer. 

The snow gave way to rain as we drove west and dropped in elevation.

And by the time we reached Ventura, the clouds had almost cleared.

The next day we walked around  Ventura City stopping at Spencer and McKenzies to have one last  fish taco – rated as being in the top 10 best in the world. We were very happy campers 😚. 


From Ventura we hugged the coast all the way back to Los Angeles.  A bit sad that this week has come to an end. It seems to have gone by so very quickly.

Just before sunset we returned the rental car and walked back to our hotel nearby. We were the only pedestrians on the road.