Jackrabbit Hikes: PCT Day 16-18

Day 16/17 – Arrastre Trail Camp (mi 256.2) to Big Bear (mi 266.1)

Day 16

Coldest morning yet. I need to get some leggings bad. I packed my shit as fast as possible and got moving. Easy 10mi to the road.

We made into town for breakfast at the Teddy Bear lodge and smashed the biggest servings they had. Still hungry.

Big Bear is an amazingly scenic spot. Located on Big Bear Lake and right under a range of snowy peaks, it’s a huge resort spot. Skiing down a slope facing a giant baby blue lake definitely sounds like vacay to me.

We roamed around town most of the morning waiting for our checkin at the hostel. We celebrated High Life’s 30th at the hostel, happy to have a bed for the night. Squalo got an ice cream cake for everyone to share and plopped a nice “30” in gummy bears on top.

I think the only person who had more fun than us was the youngest thru-hiker there. “Bedtime” was 5 and three quarters years old and went on absolute sugar warpath after his parents said he could have a slice of cake. He deserved it, what a badass lil dude.


Day 17

It’s amazing how much a little amenity like a blanket can do for a good night’s sleep vs. a sleeping bag. I slept like a rock and found the energy to get out of bed once the sun couldn’t be ignored through the window anymore. We capitalized on the make-your-own breakfast and enjoyed a hefty hiker’s portion. We packed our things, signed the hostel log and headed out for the other side of town. 

On the other side of Big Bear Lake, Graham invited us to join him at a trail angel/friend’s house – Tink. Tink was this badass hiker chick who was more than awesome to every hiker she met that day. Her cabin in Big Bear was the only thing possibly cooler than her in that town. We sat around on her front porch and rejuvenated in the warm sun. The cold air coming off Big Bear Lake kept the temperature damn near perfect. We packed up our resupplies and took the backpack scale to each of our food bags just to crack jokes. Of course, Chef’s was the heaviest. Mine was a close second thanks to the new edible Rock (trademark pending) High Life dropped in my food bag. 

Another zero well spent. The first couple hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail you could barely convince me to slow down, let alone stop for a few days. I guess when priorities change, habits do too. Smiles over miles.

We spent the evening repairing gear and sitting around the fireplace in Tink’s log cabin. I stuffed my face with the remaining snacks I had, including a salad I desperately needed. Greens are hard to come by in this walking diet. 

I took my full belly to bed, back at it tomorrow. Hikers hike!


Day 18 – Hwy 18 (mi 266.1) to Holcomb Creek (mi 285.9)

I could not have been more excited to hike today.

The hike was so cruisy. The trail was soft dirt padded with pine needles and the air was cold and crisp. The sun broke the cold breeze and it was just the right temp for hiking.

The flora of the SoCal mountains is amazing. Especially the trees. I even saw a few Joshua trees today. I have so many damn pictures of rad trees on my phone from today it’s not even funny. The moss on most of the trees has crept up to the spaces where the sun peaks through.  The stripes of green fur on the canopy branches was just amazing.

The colors of the forest up here are so alive. The green of the pine splashed against the orange brown of the the trunks and the gaps filled in with the big, blue California sky.

When I finally rounded a corner to see the Nine Peak Traverse looking over Big Bear Lake I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Damn.” I said out loud.

It was one of those images you see above your dentists waiting room chairs. Something printed on a canvas at a resort. The scene was stunning and the weather complimented it to perfection. I took so many photos but nothing could capture the moment with the view. The birds chirping and the wind shaking the loose pines from the canopy above. The breeze created tiny waves on Big Bear Lake and the white caps complimented the snowy peaks above.

I coasted the rest of the miles to camp. I finished my 20mi at Humboldt Creek and napped by running water for an hour. I was woken up by Chef and High Life coming up.

We set up camp behind some deep brush to hide from the wind. I was happy to have company.

I’m loving this section out of Big Bear. Hopefully it stays this cozy.

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