Day 16 - near highway 38 to big bear lake
April 12 | Miles 250 - 266
I had unwittingly chosen a campsite literally hundreds of feet from the highway. Both wind and trucks flew by all night. Unsure of which sounds were which, I reflexively clutched my trekking poles each time a loud rumble came through.
Making the night even more challenging, I had almost run out of food. I layered up in 3 tops, 2 pairs of pants, and 2 pairs of socks, cinching my quilt up above my head to retain the heat from my breath.
Surprisingly I didn’t wake up until 6AM, when a weird white light alerted me that morning had arrived.
And with it, a fresh dusting of snow.
Everything was frozen. My sleeping bag, my water, my fingers. All I could do was hike to get warm.
I passed a depressing setup that consisted of a janky couch and a dumpster labeled MAGIC that ended up being full of trash.
Morale was low. I was damn hungry. My only sustenance was leftover tabbouleh from the night before, which I’d mixed the last of my dried figs into. But I couldn’t eat it until lunch.
Well, lunch came at 9AM, when I made it to a group campsite, where a dude named Philip was putting out his fire. I started eating my depressing cold food.
Seeing the sad state I was in, he was quick to provide some trail magic in the form of a roaring fire, hot coffee, and Twix. My mood instantly lifted. We talked life, philosophy, and hiking alone. Herbal remedies were administered. And after a solid hour of warming, we were greeted by a surprise–it was the group of dudes who had FINALLY caught up to me.
Philip was bummed (in part because they kept calling him Neil) but still willing to share his fire. The dudes were on the move, and I decided to tag along when they packed up 20 minutes later. I promised Philip/Neil a beer the next time I saw him in town.
The rest of the day passed at the blazing speed of 3 MPH through a relatively unremarkable dry forest.
As the token girl I offer the added benefit of being the “ride bride,” aka the golden key to securing a good hitch.
Some of the guys hooked us up with a family connection–a super nice husband and wife from Minnesota who own a vacation home in Big Bear. They were generous enough to give us a ride, a place to stay the night, and a few plates of pasta and garlic bread (plus some delicious Ballast Point which totally hit the spot).
All in all, a weird but successful day. Tomorrow, absolutely no hiking shall be done.