Well, a lot has happened since I last posted.
Though we’ve hiked many miles, the total is deceptive. There has been two sections of “burn zone bans” and another endangered species closure. So we’ve had to skip over these sections this year.
At Big Bear the hostel was full and so we stayed at the Honey Bear lodge. The hotel was pretty nice and reasonably priced as this was the offseason for the town’s general tourist traffic.
We got a ride to the trail from a retired colonel who had worked for the special forces. Coming out from Big Bear was one of the best hiking days I’ve ever had. The view of the lake and mountains was incredible. Plus it was my birthday. Priscilla, who I met in Switzerland this winter, posted a picture on Facebook of us together from my recent visit to her at her home in Michigan. This brought me great happiness.
Spoon and I hiked a lot of miles that day. I’ve since lost track of our mileage. We do about 18 to 23 miles per day. We set up camp and were worried about a storm coming in.
We woke up at 4:30 the next morning to hike before the rain came in. We thought we were entirely in the wilderness without any place for real shelter. Searching out guidebook we found a small park with a pavilion we hiked to aggressively. We made it there dry and then called Spoons sister (Rachel) to pick us up. The road was impassable for cars and so we walked to town. Half way there (to Lake Arrowhead) we got a hitch from a nice girl who worked at Trader Joes. Before the hitch we got rained on in the cold with umbrellas only half protecting us. Once to town we got to McDonalds for coffee and waited for Rachel. She came soon after and brought us to her place in Santa Anna for the day. She wasn’t thrilled about driving in the fog and rain, but she had to pick up her brother!
Staying at Rachel’s gave us opportunity to get to REI and find gear replacements. After the frequent cold I bought another long sleeve shirt. At Rachel’s I made lemonade from the lemons in her lemon tree in the backyard. The next day she drove us to Cajon Pass to resume our hike.
After sitting out one day at the hotel waiting for the storm to pass, we continued in the trail. There was a big climb and a lot of dodging of the notorious rash producing Poodle Dog Bush. We took a Jeep road for a 4 mile detour and it was steep and in the sun! The forecast said no rain but it came anyways. We quickly put up a tarp and sat under it eating lunch.
After a night camping on the trail we made it Wrightwood where we found lots of free stuff. First there were water bottles for us on the road into town. We also got free PCT pins, Hot dogs at the gas station, donuts at the bakery, and more. We also met up with our biking friends Glen and Bobbie who let us showers at their hotel. They are biking from Mexico to California.
We opted not to stay in town and so got a hitch to the trail and hiked up Baden Powell to call for the night. The next morning we passed the summit in stiff wind. At little jimmy campground we met Thomas, a multiple time thruhiker who gave us a lot of advice.
After hitching around the rare frog closure, we met new hikers and made it to a campground on a horse trail where we camped and had our first bonfire.
We were pretty burned out from hiking at this point but had two more days to get to town. The only sensible place to camp in the next day if hiking was Messenger Flats campground 23 miles away. We made it but getting rained on the last 6 miles. Then too it was foggy and misting cold rain. The whole scene looked like a post-apocalyptic movie since the campground was abandoned with trees down everywhere and ruined roads.
Setting up camp was almost impossible with our frozen hands. After giving up on my tarp I spent the night under the roof next to one of the privies. I’m thankful for that because hypothermia is my biggest fear when hiking.
The next morning we hiked wet out to Acton and the KOA. At the point Spoon decided to quit his thruhiker although later he decide to hike at least two weeks more first. The KOA was a good place for junk food, showers, and laundry. A hitch brought us to Palmdale where we shared a hotel with Anna who had also decided to quit her hike. Spoons brother picked us up the next day and took us around town and then to Hiker Heaven where we are zeroing and planning the next section.
It has been tough. Lots of hours of hiking in the dirt with few interesting places along the way. A lot of details I’ve had to skip over for brevity. I’m still having some fun but will be glad for this hike to end in a few hundred more miles.