Sunday, May 29, 8:00pm
It’s been a few days between my last journal entries, and a lot has gone on. I’ve trekked into Big Bear, where I stayed a night at the Big Bear Hostel (which is a fantastic spot!). Many thanks to Richard & his girlfriend, as well as Brianna, and Warner Springs Monty, who came up and threw a great BBQ dinner for us weary hikers. I donated to the donation jar, Monty, but enough can’t be said about the attention and love you throw down on us thru-hikers. Thank you!
The next two days were blissfully relaxing and beautiful, and I won’t bore with the details, but K., you’re my angel. 🙂
I got back on the trail at about 3:30 pm on the 27th, and made 5 or so miles before settling in for the night. The next day saw almost 25 total miles, and my PCT mileage high. Heck, I’ve never walked that far in my life, with or without a fully loaded, fooded-up pack! I hit that at about 4:00pm, and since I was at a convenient drop-in road to Big Bear (I had been hiking around it the last two days) I decided to reward myself and hitch into town for some pizza! Great call, I must say. After a fun hitch on the back of a two seater Jeep with me holding on to the back netting, still wearing my pack, I was dropped off at Maggios Pizza, which was an extremely busy local favorite. Good sign! While I waited for my pizza, I sat outside and entertained questions from a couple different families who were waiting for a table inside.
After getting my pizza & heading back to the trailhead, I found finding a ride back out of town much more difficult. But, along came Marvin, a very nice man of about 60, and he drove me all the way up to my spot. He said he’d always remember our ride, and have a great story to tell everyone for years. What a great guy!
The weather had begun to turn as I had started back from town, and by the time I had arrived at the trailhead I began to set up camp immediately. The wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping uncharacteristically fast. On top of that, ominous clouds perched on the crest of the valley, swirling & roiling. I found a spot with some nice soft sand to pitch my tarp. I figured it would not only be softer to sleep on, but if it rained, would absorb much of the moisture before it made it to me, sleeping soundly (I hoped) under my tarp. The wind howled through the night, and I heard reports from others of their tents getting uprooted & tossed, and multiple readjustments throughout the night. Thankfully, I had spent a few extra minutes really lashing down my shelter with proper staking and placing large rocks over the tops of the stakes, and double cinching the guylines. As crazy as the wind howled, my tarp was solid. Thanks to Gen Shimizu at Alpinlite Gear for a very well designed tarp!
I woke at 5:00am, ready to hit the trail…except it was below freezing outside, and howling wind.
The sleeping bag & coziness of the tarp spoke sense into me, and I stayed in, occasionally waking, until just past 9:00am. The sun had peeked out, and the temperature had risen to a balmy 37 degrees. I broke camp, got ready to go, and along came Ted, AKA, “Music Man.” (He carries along a small ukele, thus the name). Ted was actually in one of my videos, as I was just outside of Warner Springs, and he had walked up as I was finishing filming an update. He had mentioned then that he’d seen my prep videos & now had told his dad about my YouTube channel, since he was in a video. 🙂
The temperature kept steady, the dropped as I gained elevation, and as the clouds crested the top of the mountain, the mist turned into snow. It was COLD! Thankfully, I was equipped for the conditions and had tremendous faith in what gear I had. Thankful I spent so much time researching equipment before I set out on this journey. There’s really a lot to be said about being properly prepared for the many different situations that may arise.
I ran across several groups of folks taking day hikes, and most couldn’t believe I’d just walked from Mexico, and what they thought crazier, headed towards Canada. It was fun to answer questions, but I didn’t want to spend too much time chatting. Every minute I talked, my body lost heat, and camp was farther away. But I enjoyed each person, and was fortunate to have met you all!
Now I’m camped at mile 275, it is very cold, and I’m again under my tarp, fed and ready for sleep. The babbling sound of a stream that is about 15 feet from me is calming, and providing a beautiful way to fall asleep, and the soft sand of the riverbank is providing a soft bed.