Moments on Trail

The Snake Won’t Let Me Pass

The day after tackling Fuller Ridge, I began my hike down the beautiful Snow Creek Trail. It was a long 15 miles down hill with 6350 feet of descent. With less than a half mile to go, I could see the water faucet camp below the trail. Then, I could hear a rattle. A very loud and angry rattle. I stopped hiking and spotted a rattlesnake on the rock on the side of the trail. I waited to see if it would leave with my stomping on the ground, but it just stayed put. Then another backpacker arrived. We tried to find alternates around the angry snake, but we just found more rocks and possible snake-hiding bushes. Then another hiker, and another hiker, and another hiker arrived. We tried throwing rocks near the snake to urge it to move. It just moved closer to the bushes next to the trail. Then the last hiker arrived and began throwing sand toward the snake and it moved farther into the bushes he stepped on a rock right off the trail and maneuvered around the snake. The rest of the group, one by one, stepped on the rock right off the trail and moved around the snake. Before long we were down at camp.

A Trip to Trail Angel’s Nitsy’s House

The following day I hiked to the i10 Oasis. I needed to go to Cabazon for my obligatory In N Out burger and resupply at the gas station. In my 50 years, I had never used Uber to get a ride before, so I opened up the application and it wanted to verify my phone number. I received a text with a code that I entered in my phone, but nothing happened. I tried this 6-7 times without success. Then I looked at FarOut for a person who provides rides in the area. I called and received voicemail without the ability to leave a message. Then a car pulled up and unloaded hikers. I asked the woman if she was giving rides. She told me yes and we hopped in the car and headed to Banning where she hosted 35 hikers at her home last night. We arrived at her home where leftover breakfast was available. I made a breakfast burrito. She needed to take hikers back to the trail. So I took a shower and did laundry. Then when she returned she took me and another hiker to Walmart and In N Out. We took an Uber back to the house. By the time I returned, it was getting close to dinner time. I had 9 miles to hike. So, it didn’t look like I was going to make it to trail that night. I slept in a bed in the backyard with other hikers. We had wind and mist and the sound of freeway traffic and trains in the background.

Let the Climbing Begin

In the morning, Nitsy made us coffee, blueberry pancakes, and breakfast burritos. I ate 2 pancakes and a burrito before we got a ride back to the trail. I began hiking around 10 am toward Whitewater. It was a short 10 miles, but 3000 feet of climbing. Midway I stopped at the Mesa Wind Farm for an ice cream and soda and a visit with the famous tortoise. I finally arrived at Whitewater and searched for a spot to cross the river. A few other hikers arrived after I found a spot and I began the cross across the water. Once we were all across we headed to the visitor center where a group of 20 or so hikers set up camp in the wind.

It’s Impassable

The next morning I headed back to the river crossing and see a sign that advises me not to cross the river because it was impassable. Hold my beer! I hike another couple of miles and cross the river again. I begin climbing toward Mission Creek and cross the creek many times. My shoes were soaked. After 14 miles and another 3000 feet of climbing I make camp for the night.

Snow Much Fun

The next day I wake up and begin climbing toward Mission Creek Camp and onto Coon Creek Cabin. I fill up on 3 liters of water as the next stretch of trail has limited water for the next 16 miles. After about 10 miles I pass some southbounders. They tell me the next stretch is long and tough and don’t go if I’m tired. I should set up camp. Again, hold my beer! I pull out my ice axe and put on my Hillsound microspikes and began the arduous 4-mile traverse across the mountain slope. There was a boot track that ridiculously ran into every tree. Then there was a single track that followed the trail. I followed the single track. It was late in the afternoon and the snow was soft. I had to make sure my steps were well planted to ensure I stayed in the steps. After a couple of hours, I was through the section and at camp. I set up camp, ate dinner, and went to bed. I was exhausted from the 14.5 miles and 4659 feet of climbing.

Beer is Calling

The next morning I woke up with a mission to make it to Big Bear for the weekend. I had another 2300 feet of gain and 19.2 miles to go. I got moving and once again I was in snow. It didn’t last long and shortly after I found 3 beers on the trail. I grabbed one to enjoy at the end of my trek, thank you trail angels. I only took 2 breaks through the day and made it to Highway 18, where my awesome trail angel hubby picked me up and took me to Big Bear Lake for a well-deserved zero.

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