Thursday, May 22, 2014
Scott and I woke up in the hotel in Big Bear around 7, then met Leslie and Keith for breakfast. We went to the famous place all the hikers recommend. It don't disappoint. I had eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and two pancakes. It was the first meal of the trip that I actually couldn't finish. After breakfast we said bye to the Canadians and headed for the bus stop to the grocery store. I ended up getting way too much food and spent about 60 bucks for what I thought was for 4 days worth. As soon as I had it all in my food bag I knew it was way too much. I need to get better at judging how much food I need. Oh well, I guess it's better to have too much than not enough. After the store we needed to hitch the 8 miles back to the trail. After only a few minutes, a lady picked us up who was there vacationing. Hitching is probably what I was most worried about before starting this hike, but the people so far have been so nice and make it easy. Once we hit the trail around 2pm we stomped out the first 10 miles pretty quick. After that we were looking for a spot to camp an came acros an awesome one that overlooked Big Bear Lake. Since we were at elevation it was really cold. Already 36 degrees at 8pm. I'm not sure how cold it actually got, but well below freezing. Even though I was cold all night I slept like a baby.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We woke up around 6 after the coldest night so far on the trail. Kara went ahead because she was packed up so fast and couldn't stay warm just standing there waiting. Once we were ready to go we covered the first few miles pretty quick just to get warmed up. After a couple miles we ran into Alex who was freaked out afte hearing what he thought was a mountain lion making noises at him when he was setting up camp at dusk last night. Scary stuff. 5 miles into our day we came upon the famous lions, tigers, and bears in cages along the trail. Apparently they are movie animals who are kept there when they are not working. Pretty sad actually. Later we caught up to Kara and enjoyed some trail magic atop Onyx Peak. There were sodas and a register to sign.
The goal for today was to make it to the road and hitch into Big Bear for the night. We couldn't get a hitch since there were six of us there but Leslie called a local trail angel who agreed to pick all of us up and take us straight to Sizzler! The good was just what we needed after a few tough days in a row. It did not disappoint just as the Canadians had promised. Alex and Kara decided to head back to the trail that same day while the rest of u went in search of a motel. I ended splitting a room with Scott, and Keith and Leslie got one right above us. After showers and sink laundry we all drank beers, ordered a pizza, and watched 300. A great end to a great day.
We were all a little groggy after setting off around 4am. The mood was good but you could tell there was a little nervousness in the air because Scott had lost all his food to the raccoons and I was dumb enough to not bring enough food for the miles we had left to Big Bear. We were going to have to ration what we had with the help of Keith and Leslie. The first few hours of the day went by pretty uneventfull. We wound through some washes and climbed some ridges, had second breakfast (which was a half of a raw top ramen for me), before we started our main climb of the day. This climb would be taking us from 2000ft to 8500ft, all on as little calories as I could handle. Crap.
I don't remember much of the climb other than feeling hot and uninterested in the amazing scenery. I was really mad at myself for not appreciating it, but it was very difficult with the amount of energy I had. At about 18 miles in we stopped at a shady creek and took a little siesta. All I could afford to eat was a few pieces of candy and scrape the reminence of Nutella from my jar. The nap really helped and set me up to feel fairly well for the remaining climbing for the day. At this point Keith gave me a large bag of Cashews which was probably the perfect timing because I was about to crash hard. Before I knew it we were up in the tall pines and juniper trees, the air was cool, and my mood lifted. We stopped for an early dinner around 5 before finishing our miles for the day. This consisted if us all sharing some hummus and tortillas and a mountain house brand lasagna. It was sooo good and fulfilling! We decide to hike until dark to see if we could make it to the next campground almost seven miles away. Shortly after we started again we ran into a few day hikers who have us all their extra food after hearing of our dilemma. We were saved! No more stressing about the 20 miles we still had to cover in the morning into Big Bear. Next, we ran into the only other person we had seen all day. Kara was a thru hiker from Washington and really lifted all of our moods. She was energetic and had lots of great stories which fueled us the remaining miles for the day. We made it to the campsite and setup just before dark. It was one of the coldest nights on the trail so far, but I have never slept better.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Keith and Leslie woke me up by waking by my campsite at 4:10am. They had camped about 200 yards above me thinking it was the spot we agreed to meet. By the time I put all my things away and got going, it was 4:45am. We had a 12.5 mile descent to the desert floor to start off the day. After a beautiful sunrise I caught up to Keith and Leslie near the bottom. We filled our bottles at the spigot near the bottom and met two other hikers from Tucson. We hiked the next 5 mile to Ziggy and the Bears in some windy and sandy washes. That place is amazing! I had a shower, foot bath, and Burger King! After Ziggys, we decided to head out for 6 more miles. We camped in a car campground with a million raccoons! This was my first time cowboy camping and it wasn't good. I was up all night watching them come within feet of my face trying to get into my backpack. They ended up stealing Scott's bag and eating all his food and tried taking Leslie's whole backpack. We ended up just packing our things away at 3am and staring to hike. Sleeping was not an option...
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Woke up at a leisurely time of 6am and started getting my things together. I was excited about today because my pack is now much lighter after the shakedown yesterday. Today was going to be 16 miles or 33. I decided on the shorter version due to all the climbing and descending involved. I ate breakfast with Scott then headed up towards the trail alone. He had to stay in town to get more antibiotics he ran out of. As I was walking towards the trail head to get back on the PCT, and old man offered me a ride. I didn't think it was going to be a long road walk but it ended up being longer and all uphill. I'm really glad he offered. I ran into Alex from Virginia at the trailhead so we ended up hiking the whole day together. We got to chatting for the first few hours but as time passed we settled into our own minds. The day was filled with high altitude mountains and clear stream to refill out water. It was one of the most scenic days so far. I love this type of terrain. The only downside was all the smoke in the air from the nearby fires going on. Hopefully that will clear up soon. Tomorrow I go to the desert floor and Ziggy and the Bear trail angels. Really excited for that! I doubt Scott will make it here tonight but I'm thinking Keith and Leslie will be here soon. if not it will be my first time camping alone in 9 days!
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Today was my first day off since starting the trail a week ago. I have a few blisters that needed attention as well as some pain in my knee that could use some rest. This town is probably the perfect place to take a day off if you are hiking the PCT. They have everything needed I resupply as well as plenty of good restaraunts.
The day started with me trying to sleep in, but once the sun is up it's impossible for me lately. I layed there until about 6:30 forcing myself I get up and start moving. Today's number one task was to get rid of some unecessary weight from my pack. That meant sending things home and throwing away excess items. I ended up shipping home three pounds of stuff! This included: iPod, pad and pen, camera, chargers and cables, and my stove setup. Yep, from now on I'll be eating my meals cold. I'm not a picky eater so it's really not a big deal for me.
Once I had that all figured out I had a giant breakfast with Scott then we met Keith and Leslie for a couple beers. Later I went to the sports shop in town and watched a whole stage of the Tour of California with the shop owner. After a shower and laundry, it's time for dinner in a few hours (and probably a few more beers). Tomorrow will be a shortish day with lots of climbing. Looking forward to heading back out on the trail with a lighter pack and a days rest!