Week 3: Getting into the Groove
Howdy everyone! I appreciate all your kind words and words of encouragement from my last blog post. I am doing much better now and I am in a better headspace. I have met lots of new people and got to see some beautiful scenery, kinda reminding me of previous hikes. These new Hoka shoes have really helped out my ankle. I’m sorry for the late posting, I’ve honestly just been really tired to write even though I’ve had a lot of cell service haha.
So I got back on trail in White Water. I decided it was the smart decision by not hiking the big and steep uphills of the San Jacinto Wilderness. I can make those miles up another time this year as I only live like an hour away from Idyllwild. My dropped me off early at the highway underpass at mile 209. Everyone that was camping there was a bit surprised to see me. They were all waking up, I had a clean shirt, and probably reeked of detergent rather than hiker stink. I barely even walked a mile before my new shoes started to make my feet hurt. Honestly, they are a little tight on the toe box. My feet started to feel better the more I walked. The elevation was not bad and I feel like it was a good way to work my ankle back to 100%. The white water river was pretty cool. Lots of tadpoles and bees though. My camp was right near Mission Creek. I thought I was gonna camp relatively alone but a lot of hikers came into camp at dusk.
Today was full of climbing. I only hiked 13 miles today. Most of this was following Mission Creek which meant lots of water crossings. It also meant getting lost a lot. It reminded me of the Bridge to Nowhere trail. I camped at mission springs camp with this girl who is from LA! It was cool getting to talk about the local mountains with someone. I have a new fear of bees now. I got stung at least four times today. (I say at least because I can’t tell if the other spots are bee stings or bug bites). At first I thought it was just a rogue bee that attacked me. But once I killed that bee, three more came to sting me. Not only did these bees sting, they came back to get me after stinging me. I did nothing to these bees prior to this event. I was happy to hear that others had been stung as well and the bees weren’t singling me out. What was weird was that I saw two other people walk through this section with no problems.
Day 15 was pretty uneventful. I saw some horses and chickens and met some new people. I hiked 19 miles today. My feet felt much better today. I got to meet some trail angels filling back up a water cache. I did hike to this cool cabin. It was pretty trashed on the inside and the bathrooms were locked :(. Camp was real pretty. I camped with some new friends and had this amazing view of Big Bear Lake.
I was moving today. I hiked like 10 miles by 10:30 a.m., and I started at like 7:00-ish. The terrain was pretty easy though. Most people go into Big Bear via Highway 18. I chose not too because I was meeting my family the next day and taking a zero day the following day. So I hiked to the Cougar Crest Trail junction, a hike which I have done before. It has beautiful views. I hiked about 20 miles today. I was really hoping to stay with these camp host trail angels, but they were unfortunately out of town. Because of this, I did my first ever hitch to the other side of the lake to stay at this lodge. To my surprise, my friends were staying there too! We all got Mexican food for dinner and it was really nice seeing them. My room was pretty cozy. It felt nice getting to take a real shower.
Zero day! My feet really needed it. Today started off with me and my friends going to the Grizzly Manor Cafe for breakfast. They have huge pancakes and I could’ve even finish it. The food was so tasty. 10/10 would recommend. Luckily, one of my sister’s coworkers has a cabin in Big Bear that we hung out all day in. I got to do some laundry and take another shower. It’s surprising how quick my clothes get dirty out here. We stayed the night in the Sierra Blue hotel or something like that. It was annoying that there was very little blue at this hotel. This was a really great zero day getting to rest my feet and see my family and eat some good food.
Back on trail. After a tasty breakfast my family dropped me off at Cougar Crest Trailhead and I began the 2.4-mile hike back to the PCT. I got to meet some former thru-hikers which was cool. Today was spent in solitude. I passed one NoBo (northbound) hiker and two SoBo (southbound) hikers. I wasn’t surprised since I did hop on trail about 10 miles past everyone else. I encountered more bees today. Not the same type of bees that stung me, but bees nonetheless. I even crossed the creek early and bushwhacked to avoid this bee filled log. I am really scared of bees now. Camp was really beautiful. It was under lots of pine trees and close to river with a chorus of frogs.
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