Big Bear to Silverwood Lake
Leaving Big Bear
Cajon Pass was about 80 miles down the trail from Big Bear. We were excited for the challenge of a longer stretch!
We left Big Bear around 10am. The owner of Wolf Creek Lodge, Frank, drove us to the trail head with his beautiful dalmatian Pepper riding shotgun. Soon into our hike, we saw our friends the section hikers. They had spent the night in Big Bear too, and one of the people from their party went home.
We climbed for a bit. The weather was pleasant, albeit a bit hot. We made it about 9 miles before setting up camp near a small stream. We struggled getting back in the rhythm of hiking after taking a zero day. Even though we didn’t make it far, I was happy to be camped alongside water. At least I thought that at the time…
Is that ice?
Nick set the alarm for 4am. I woke up in the middle of the night COLD. I was in a t-shirt and sleep pants. I quickly pulled on my fleece and puffy jacket, but I was still cold. I kicked myself for leaving my beanie in my backpack, which was outside of the tent. I searched around for my socks with my headlamp and finally found them. One sock was partially under Nick’s head. When I put my socks on, I was finally warm enough to fall back asleep. The alarm went off at 4am. Neither of us wanted to get up because we were so cold. He wanted to sleep until 6 and I wanted to sleep until 5, so we settled on 530am. Miraculously I was able to fall back asleep and was awoken to Nick tapping me around 545am. It was still quite cold, so instead of getting up we sort of cuddled while still huddled in our sleeping bags. We eventually got up, and I saw that my water bottle outside of the tent was slush. It must have dropped below freezing overnight!
Nick then admitted that he was also freezing. He thought that he might have made a mistake by buying the cheap sleeping pad from Big 5, and didn’t want to admit that. Once he saw the frozen water bottle and realized that it was actually cold and that it wasn’t an issue with his pad, he told me that he barely slept due to being too cold.
The weather warmed up throughout the morning and was quite pleasant. I then encountered the strangest thing I saw on the entire trail.
I left a comment in FarOut: “To the owner of the white Toyota Tacoma at mm 282.8 – you left your car on the trail”.
Pretty soon after we had our first encounter with one of the Tough Old Broads, Water Sprite. She asked if we had seen the truck, and she told us that she called it in the forest service. I suppose I could’ve done that instead of leaving a silly comment in the app. We met the rest of the Tough Old Broads. They were a mother, daughter and aunt group. They ended up slack packing because the mom broke her wrist, and they were doing what they could to keep on hiking. I learned that the daughter, Dulce, also was blogging for the Trek (here’s a link to her blog page).
Deep Gratitude for Deep Creek Hot Springs
We set up our camp on a ridge that night. At 330am, we woke up to intense winds. I was afraid the tent was going to break, so we got up. I hadn’t slept well the previous night. I had started worrying about my sleeping pad popping just like Nick’s had. While we were packing up, we saw Starlink in the sky. We had no idea what it was and no cell phone reception, so we joked that is was going to hit earth and the world would end.
We had an ambitious goal for the day. We needed to hike 18 miles to make it to Deep Creek Hot Springs. Much of the hike was relatively dull. We returned back to the desert from the trees, and we saw some pretty flora along the way.
We took our break at a wonderful stream. Shortly after our break, we passed the 300 mile marker! The miles were starting to come quicker to us. It took a long time and felt like a huge achievement to reach the 100 mile marker. 200 felt great as well and came little quicker. 300 snuck up on us.
We arrived to the hot springs around 6pm. There were around 25 people there and three tents, despite the “no camping” signs. We picked a campsite and then jumped right in. It was so nice for my aching feet. The water was surprisingly hot!
There were a mix of locals and hikers at the springs. We chatted up a girl in dreads who spent her time living on a sailboat. This other dude gave us a tour of the hot springs and showed us these four cascading pools and where we could jump in off a ledge. We met this man who was straight out an 80s action movie. He told us a story of a Japanese guy who almost set fire to the entire hillside while cooking dinner, and how he organized everyone at the hot springs to put the fire out. He used the words “hot chicks” in his story.
We left the hot springs early the next morning. We were thirsty because I didn’t want to drink the water at the hot springs. There is supposedly a brain eating amoeba that lives in the water that can kill you. It’s super rare, and I was likely being overly cautious, but I refused to drink water.
The first water source we got to was really difficult to reach. Nick climbed down a steep slope and collected and filtered water for us. Thank you, Nick <3
We then passed a dam and then needed to cross Deep Creek. The water was calm but went up to my belly button. I undid the clips on my pack and carried it above my head.
The next day we made it to Silverwood Lake. It was picturesque.
We took our lunch break at Cleghorn Picnic Area right on the beach. When we got there we didn’t see any cars, but gradually people starting rolling in. It was surprisingly busy for a weekday. We took advantage of the bathroom, water spigot, and lovely shaded picnic area. I also went for a short swim in the lake.
We eventually had to say goodbye to this gem and get on our way to camp. We encountered a friend along the way. Nick wanted to pass it. He said that it had a small head and wouldn’t be dangerous. I wanted to wait for it to move before we passed. Nick threw a few rocks nearby it to attempt to get it to move.
We hiked into the evening and set up camp about 10 miles outside of Cajon Pass. We were excited to go to famous McDonald’s the next day!
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