San Jacinto to Big Bear

Back on Trail

We said goodbye to our cabin in Idyllwild and made our way to the trailhead. A very sweet local named Hector, who also plays the clarinet around town, was kind enough to give us a ride. Wild (Sam), Chalupa (Leah), Taylor, and I were eager to hit the trail again after taking some much needed rest time in town. The trail was beautiful and due to our higher elevation it was very green. It reminded me of home and why I enjoy being outside in nature. The tall trees protected us from the sun as we took our time working our way up.

The snow began to blanket the trail and we stayed close together as a group. This was my first time hiking in snow and I was cautious but also curious to see how I would handle it. My new shoes I picked up from Nomad ventures helped with the traction. As we got closer to the summit the trail got steeper and the scramble to the top was enough to make my heart race. I was so happy to see the hut at the top and we watched the sunset glow as we basked in its final rays, taking in our accomplishment of the day.

Going Down

Fuller ridge was part of our decent from the mountain. I thought we had cleared the snow and was excited to make our way down but the trail had different plans for us. Patches of snow covered the trail and the afternoon had turned the snow soft, perfect for slipping and postholing. Each step had to be calculated before making the next move. I tried not to pay attention to the steep cliff to my right. After hours of slow moving the trail began to look like its normal self.

The only thing keeping me going at this point was the promise of Taco Bell in the nearby town. The goal was to make it from the peak of San Jacinto to the Taco Bell in one day. We ended up cutting it short by about 8 miles and slept on trail that night but we did make it to mile 200 that evening! The next day I had a Crunchwrap supreme in hand and couldn’t have been happier! Apparently I’m very food motivated…

Mutual Suffering

After a day of exploring the local food establishments, we headed back to trail as dusk was settling in. I was feeling extremely full and slightly anxious about night hiking. We made our way through the wind farm, full of giant wind turbines, which had a slightly eerie feel to it. Each step felt like a chore and I couldn’t wait to get into my tent. We found a dried creek bed and called it good for the night. My tent is now feeling like a safe haven from the outside world.

The next day was the beginning of mission creek. Unfortunately this part of the trail had been washed away and we would need to hike through the canyon amongst the rock and sand. For every one step we took it felt like we were taking two steps back. We persisted on through the heat and eventually camped near the river before finishing the trek out of the canyon the next day. It was nice to share mutual suffering with the other hikers on trail during our breaks. But big bear lake was on the horizon and yet again I found myself dreaming of town food. The hiker hunger has officially begun and every time we stopped hiking, we were eating something to fuel our bodies.

The Final Stretch

The hike into big bear made up for the heat and sand of the previous days. We found ourselves in a forest of pines and sage bushes. Clouds hovered above us and we made it into town before a thunderstorm broke out. We watched the rain pour from our hotel room and thanked the universe for sparing us. Now it was time to resupply at the dollar tree and grocery store and enjoy a warm meal and maybe some veggies.

Warm wishes from the trail,


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Comments 2

  • Laurel Madson Lawson : May 16th

    Way to GO!!! Love reading about your adventure!

  • David Bastian : May 19th

    Hi Emma. You met my wife and I at your mom’s place months ago (a year ago? Longer? Not long after the fire). I think I saw a post of your mom’s which led me to your link. I’ve always wanted to do the PCT and others. So, watching your journey is really fun. Love the details.


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