I woke up in my soft, warm bed in the hostel and thought about spending one more night. Instead I pushed myself to pack up and get some breakfast. We loaded 7 hikers and their packs into a station wagon and headed up to the trailhead.
The walk past Big Bear was beautiful, still a bit frosty when I started and was thawing out as I lost elevation and the sun warmed the hillside. Big Bear Lake looked so inviting from the hillside and I can definitely see the appeal of this little destination town.
There were a few day hikers but I didn’t see hardly any thru hikers. I met a man walking his dog who actually was a thru hiker (Ricky Bobby) that lives in Big Bear but was skipping around due to the crazy weather. He was doing some trail angeling while he waited out the snow in the Sierras.
I had lunch on a pile of boulders with a decent view. Lunch consisted of peanut butter, granola and prunes on a tortilla. Two of these is about 1000 calories! It was still windy and a bit chilly so I moved on quickly.
A bit down the trail, I heard someone call out “Hi hikers!” in a loud, friendly voice. Startled out of my downward-facing trance, I saw three horses and their riders on the trail about 50 yards ahead. I stepped aside to let them pass and admired their surefootedness while breathing in the familiar smell. With the terrain being so crazy in certain areas, I can’t imagine taking a horse on a thru hike of this trail. These guys were quite obviously just out for a day ride, but it got me thinking out what it would be like to ride across the country. Pretty amazing.
I eventually crossed the road where most people hitch to town, crossed it, and entered into a recent burn area. The campsite I was aiming for was coming up, making me nervous that it may have been destroyed. I kept pushing and as abruptly as the burn area had appeared, I was suddenly back in the forest and there was the trail camp. I had a picnic table, a water spigot, a privy and a variety of flat spaces all to myself. My feet and ankles were extra sore today, more so than any other day. The rest of my body was fine- it seems like each day something different is being difficult.
I filtered some water and sprawled out, taking over the area. Soon another hiker came trudging down the path- someone I hadn’t yet met. “Dad Jokes”/Taylor and I began chatting and he claimed a flat spot as well. We began setting up and were making dinner as a large group of 6 more hikers showed up. We all packed together at the picnic table and made dinner, shared snacks including oranges someone packed out from town, and shared stories from our first couple of weeks on trail.
I retired to my tent to write and bundle up. This group seemed like fun people, as did Dad Jokes. I hope to see them again down the trail. Today was a good day other than the ankles. I can’t wait for my body to finally figure it out! Maybe tomorrow.
Trail magic: 0
Hiked with: no one
Camped with: Dad Jokes, Monkey, Flow, Fortune Cookie, Future Problems, Logi, Kim