It was business as usual upon arriving to Big Bear. We miraculously made it to the post office within the one hour they were open at the start of this holiday weekend. We were early in fact.
Trail is inspiring for more than it's picturesque scenery -- it's the people we meet along the way. I get excited to meet others that share my same crazy passions. And I love to hear their ambitions and dreams, dreams that don't stop at the end of the PCT.
As we sat outside waiting for the doors to unlock at the post office we met Kevin (pronounced Key - Vin ), an older gentlemen from Washington who has been hiking just behind us. Kevin told us stories about his son "Pathfinder" who hiked the PCT last year. Apparently one journey across the country wasn't enough for him. Pathfinder is now training to complete the Triple Crown (Pacific Crest Trail, Continential Divide Trail, and Appalachian Trail) in one calendar year! A feat that only a handful of people have done.
Over the weekend our "trash" has gotten larger. We've had 4 guests and 1 new family member, Julian a young German man. He is hiking at a fast pace to make it to Agua Dulce in time to catch a flight back to Boston for his MIT college graduation. He's a fellow trail runner and lover of cats with a kind spirit and contagious laugh. We like Julian a lot.
We got to Big Bear as a group of 9 and splurged on an AirBnB. Felt good to have some domestic comforts, the company of close friends and to sleep in a REAL bed.
After we cleaned up our AirBnB, the 9 of us hit the trail. We hiked single file, a unique group of strangers suddenly connected by the trail.
We taught our guests about real thru hiking with a 20 mile march around Big Bear Lake to our next campsite. We ate dinner together, and cowboy camped under the stars.
Finally hiked completely out of Big Bear. The scenery was surprising in the best possible way. More granite rocks amidst smooth sandy trails enclosed by magical mountain peaks.
By the late afternoon we were just back to the 4 of us. Utah Aaron, Prickles, Cosmo and I. We had a beautiful evening hike watching the sun dance on the mountain sides as we chose our camp spot by the water. We treated ourselves to another campfire complete with roasted marshmallows.
We ate dinner together laughing til the sun went down.
We spent today's hike anticipating the warm waters of Deep Creek Hot Springs. From afar the scene was gorgeous, the creek flowed over white rocks creating soothing pools and sandy beaches along the way. Unfortunately, once we got to the hot spring area it was obvious that the land was not being respected. Trash was scattered in desert brush and people made no effort to bury their toilet paper and feces. This has a devastating effect on the natural environment, the water, and everyone's enjoyment of tha land. Can we all just bury our shit and leave no trace?
There I was -- happily hiking down the trail -- headphones In my ears, jamming out to some tunes when a frightened looking couple stopped me in my tracks. They were about 10 feet away holding up their hands in panicked warning. I took out my headphones, looked down, and there it was. Salmon colored and camouflaged but shaking its rattle and staring right at me.
I came to a halt, Cosmo behind me, with Prickles and Utah Aaron shortly after. We piled up in front of the hissing snake and spent the next 30 minutes trying to come up with a snake diversion game plan. Meanwhile, the couple across the trail took it upon themselves to hike up and over, crossing loose sand and rock, accidentally causing mini boulders to fall in our direction. Adding another layer of danger for us, and further aggravating the snake.
Unwilling to stay paralyzed by the situation, Aaron took it upon himself to begin the trek down the steep terrain, behind a rock, and around the snake. We screamed, "NO! Don't do it Aaron." We were scared for him, but also for the journey we would have to take if he were to be successful...which he was.
Aaron quickly became the snake charming hero. Using one hand with a hiking pole to keep the snake at bay (which continued to rattle, coil, and intimidate) and the other hand to help us get across. One by one. Thank goodness for Aaron. 45 minutes later we were free!
My feet feel light and fast on familiar trails. I know what's coming ahead, and I'm distracted by the sounds of my stomach when I think of Subway. Salivating at the thought of a veggie patty, soft bread, avocado and ALL the vegetables. It's amazing how much time I spend thinking, dreaming and pining for food.
We made it to Cajon Pass. Indulged in all the things (McDonalds, Subway, and beer).
Somehow we managed to roll our stuffed bodies out of civilization and hiked a few evening miles. We hung out with new friends Flask, Captain Planet, Stake and Robert (aka Nosebleed). The weather was Southern California perfect and once again we found ourselves cowboy camping in a canyon.
Feels like I'm walking through my backyard.
We made it to Wrightwood.
We are starting to get in the flow of our town routines. Priorities are as follows:
4. More food
5. More beer
As hikers our needs are very simple, but very intense.
Cosmo and I shared a veggie burger, fries, and beer while Prickles and Utah Aaron walked up and down the main drag testing out new shoes.
A couple days earlier I emailed some trail angels (who's info I got from the PCTA) to see about a place to stay in Wrightwood. In proper trail magic fashion, Rich (one such angel) called me right on time. Right as we were finishing up our food we were offered a place to stay, food, beer, a shower and a washing machine. Of course, we said YES! To Rich.
I went inside to pay for my food, and spontaneously added a small pizza to go... which I immediately ate within one block as we walked away.
At Rich's place we continued to indulge with chips, avocado, and watermelon. We stayed up swapping stories and listening Dylan on vinyl. Trail magic indeed.
We finished our town chores and took our time packing up. Wrightwood is an incredibly hiker friendly town. We were given free coffee, special patches at the coffee shop and Cosmo enjoyed a free hotdog at the market.
We spent the day meandering through the streets of Wrightwood.
Cosmo got a new bag and is excited to test it out on our evening summit hike of Baden Powell.
Cosmo's fancy new pack