4/23 – Day 16 – Getting to Big Bear

I set my phone-alarm for the first time and got up at 5:50 am and was on the trail by 6:40. After nice hiking in the cool forest but with little water left I came across a small water cache.

The water cache had less than a liter of water left. As I refilled my water bottle, I heard a dog barking and then followed by some roaring. I thought it was a bear and a dog going at it but the roaring didn’t sound real bear-like. I proceeded with some caution, and it turned out to be a place where Hollywood animals live. The barking was a black wolf and the roaring, I mean, real extreme roaring like I never heard before was an African Lion. I think it was their breakfast time hence all their noise. I was told the lion starred in Gladiator. There was also some sleepy bears in cages. The first big animals I see and they are in a sort of zoo!  I hope to see some large animals in the wild later in the trip; I have not even seen a deer yet.

Doug from Berkeley passed me, and then I caught up with both Andrew and Doug sitting on a couch in the middle of nowhere. It was part of the hiker cache set by the Big Bear hostel. I filled up my water bottles, grabbed a coke and some Fig Newtons and continue to hike. Thank you Big Bear hostel!  It was fast downhill hiking, and I left the forest and came out into more chaparral, desert country crossed with trails, and I got a bit lost. The wrong trail I was on circled back to a PCT sign but then I was not sure I was going the right way on the trail, it was very confusing country. After a while I knew I was going the correct direction, and I reached highway 18 by 2:15. Doug was sitting there by the highway and it took about 10 minutes before a couple locals coming back from Vegas gave us the five mile ride to Big Bear City. They left us off at the Nature Inn run by Ed Stanik who retired from Ford. Quite a character, Doug and I were hungry and exhausted, but Ed had to go through a half hour explanation of what the Inn offered. Ed caters to a lot of PCT hikers, and he graciously gave me fuel for my stove, one of the reasons I wanted to come to town. My feet blisters are bad and just walking a quarter mile to the Mexican Restaurant was very painful. I think I will stay another night and take a zero day tomorrow, as the $25 price for the second night is so cheap and my feet are so thrashed. I have completed 265 miles or about 10% of the journey. Yeeha, its been great except for the feet pain. Time for the ice cream bars sitting in the freezer.

Click the link to see where I stayed in Big Bear: