Monday, April 30, 2012

Dayzzzzz in Big Bear

April 25-29, 2012
Days 25-29
Miles: 0

Since we started planning our thru-hike of the PCT, we knew we wanted to enjoy some time in Big Bear at our family's cabin. Needless to say, we have been using it as something to look forward to on a couple of the difficult days we have had so far.

After a quick drive down to SD to grab our dogs (Tuesday afternoon), we arrived at the cabin Wednesday morning ready for a little R&R!

One of our favorite places in the whole world is the deck of the cabin. I could sit on the deck all day enjoying the view.

Even when it's stormy, the birds hunker down to enjoy the view.

We got in touch with our new friend and thru-hiker, Carl. (We spent time with Carl and his girlfriend Krista in Idyllwild). He happened to be in town so we picked him up and then loaded up with supplies (snacks and adult beverages...somehow I think we ended up with more of the latter).

Carl's girlfriend Krista decided to come up the mountain and stay the night at the cabin too!
And we got the pizza we had been dreaming of!

We woke up the next morning and all decided to go out to breakfast at our favorite spot in Fawnskin, The North Shore Cafe.

After breakfast we enjoyed playtime in the Fawnskin Park.
Krista fit in the Fire Truck.
Carl's head fit in the Flight Helmet.
We enjoyed "The World's Largest Tire"
And took direction from the park's exhibits to a slightly different meaning...

We were sad to hear that Carl was planning on getting off the trail for awhile but we are hoping to meet up with him and Krista during the summer to hike a section or two of the trail. They are really great people. We said our goodbyes Thursday morning and they headed on their way.

Izzy watching the birds.

On Friday we got in touch with our other friend and fellow thru-hiker Neil (Wolf-E). We picked him up in town and then enjoyed lunch at the North Shore Cafe.

The North Shore Cafe in Fawnskin is the best! Their breakfasts are to die for and the burgers we had would give the Jose burger a run for its money! The portions are huge as well. Normal appetites would be happy with a half order, but anyone afflicted with the hiker hunger would appreciate the gigantic portions.
My parents even decided to head up the mountain and hang out for a few days.
Neil hung out for a few days as well. We had the worse time trying to pick up his packages from the Big Bear Hostel. We went there 5 separate times over 2 days. If there was anyone there at all, they never could seem to find the key to the package closet. We took Neil back again during the check-in time (twice) and couldn't find anyone to check him in. Neil never was able to get his packages or check in! He ended up staying with us another night at the cabin. We were sad to see Wolf-E leave as well, he is a really great and interesting guy. We hope to get to spend more time with him on the trail. Below you can see Neil taking pictures of our maps with his camera because his maps were being held hostage at the hostel!

The pirates of Big Bear Lake even sailed by to say "Hello".

We spent a lot of time with our dogs Izzy and Penny at the lake. Sadly, we will not be able to see my parents or our dogs for awhile now that we will be getting farther north on the trail. :(
Needless to say they were pooped pups from all the swimming.

On another note, I was tailgating Tailgate in town and ended up ripping my poor toenail almost completely off when I stubbed it on the back of his shoe.

Along with patching my toe up, we took care of a few gear issues as well. Tailgate got his new head lamp in the mail after his other one mysteriously stopped working. Good old REI replaced it no hassle. I had to call Columbia regarding my hiking shirt. I had purchased two Columbia shirts and the material on my back ended up wearing and bunching so bad I couldn't wear them.

Columbia agreed to send me two new shirts (different fabric). Hopefully I won't have the same problem with these.

I know that many went down to kick off this weekend. I am hoping to hear some great KO stories down the trail. We decided not to go this year. However, we are definitely hoping to go next year to reunite with some of the 2012 class and help out.

Our stay in Big Bear was wonderful. We are not planning on taking another zero day for awhile so we tried to enjoy every minute. You can't beat good times with family, friends and great food.

- Twist

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Bear Here We Come!

April 24th, 2012
Day 24
Today's Miles: 14.7

In the morning we could smell the San Bernadino forest and it was calling my name. We had a steep climb to make it up into the trees. The trail had a lot of Poodle Dog Bush around it but we were able to avoid it for the most part and luckily it wasn't blooming. I am kind of a plant nerd, so I was excited to see it (and smell it, It smells pretty funky.)

We saw the sign for the San Bernadino Forest and we knew shady trees and pine needles were in our very near future!

After Tailgate got so sick, I was very happy to get out of the desert. He wouldn't tell me how sick he was, but I could tell he was not right at all. However, once he got into the forest today, I swear he was dancing down the trail.

We made it to a neat water source soon after entering the forest. The water was ice cold!

We enjoyed some great views today! They were much appreciated after our previous days filled with sand and sage brush.

Road Runner was planning on meeting us in the Big Bear area. We ended up meeting him at Rainbow Lane ( near the animal cages).

We will now be spending a few zero days in Big Bear. We are very lucky to have a family cabin right on Big Bear lake where we will be enjoying hours relaxing on the deck with our dogs. We are also hoping to spend some time with a few friends and other thru hikers. I know for a fact that pizza is in my future!


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I'm Sleeping Under a Pine Tree Tonight!"

April 23rd, 2012
Day 23
Today's Miles: 12.9

We woke up this morning after a night of off and on sleep (mostly due to my continuous chasing of a mouse from my side of the tent) and set off to begin the long ascent into the Big Bear area. We hiked a few miles and I wasn't feeling quite right from the day before, moderate to severe heat exhaustion we think, and it wouldn't get better. But we pressed on knowing the cool, shady forest was waiting 16 miles up Mission Creek and 5000 feet above where we stood. I even woke up that morning and proclaimed "I'm sleeping under a pine tree tonight!"

Twist enjoying the site of water in Mission Creek.

Normally, we would post as many great pictures of the landscape as we could, but the terrain was mainly desert burn area so we didn't get many good shots.

A burned tree near Mission Creek.

We did however get to visit with a very curious lizard atop a trail marker for a bit.

I even had a chat with him in my heat exhausted stupor.

We were able to make it to Creekside Camp where there was water and a pine tree to sleep under! It happened to be the first one we hit on the trail in a couple days, but hey... it counted.

We were joined in camp by Oddball and Copernicus and another hiker named Scott who was headed South. Twist cooked dinner while I rested and tried to hydrate. Hopefully camping a couple hours early and getting a little extra rest will speed my recovery for tomorrow and we can make a good run at Big Bear. But we will see, for now, it's time for three cheese mashed potatoes!

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Sleeping With The Fishes....or near them

April 22nd, 2012
Day 22
Today's Miles: 11.7
This morning we left Ziggy and the Bear's and started our hike. We got up close and personal with some windmills.

We hiked and we hiked in the heat. (high 90s by 8:30 am)

After 8 hot miles we were greeted by whitewater creek!

We found a shady tree at the white water trout farm and took a nice long nap here to wait out the heat. There were four other hikers that relaxed here as well.

But we were awoken by a visitor...

There was also a pond filled with HUGE rainbow trout near the tree we napped under.

We finally decided to head out late in the afternoon and do a few more miles once the heat had passed. We dry camped in a nice sandy spot...and this was the beautiful view from our tent.

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Down, Down, Down to The Desert

April 21st, 2012
Day 21
Today's Miles: 27.2

We celebrated my birthday by doing our biggest miles yet! We started the day departing from Idyllwild with a ride from trail angel Dave to Black Mountain Road. Dave was awesome, we signed the register in his car and he sent us on our way with a packet of lifesavers each.

Twist waiting for our ride outside the Inn.

The climb up Black Mountain road was surprisingly nice. There was water flowing everywhere and the views were great.

The trail out of the San Jacinto Mountains was a long hot 15 miles downhill. The torturous thing about it was that we could literally see the only water (a water fountain), below us almost the entire time. But we were able to get some great views of Mt. San Jacinto as well as a bird's eye view of the desert on the way down.

YouTube Video

(don't mind my fingers in the way...)

The descent was pretty eventful, our Rattle Snake count rose by two to total four now for the trip. One startled Twist off of some rocks while the other about scared me off a cliff when it decided to rattle at the last minute. Also, we passed mile 200!

After Zigging and Zagging down the mountain, we reached the desert floor just as the sun was beginning to set.

By ending the climb down we were rewarded with hands down, the best looking water fountain either of us had ever seen!

We stopped there to recharge for about half an hour, and set off for the trail angel home of Ziggy and The Bear five miles away. We arrived about a half an hour after dark and were joined there by Steve, Waldo, Oops, and One Ton. Cowboy camping in their back yard we tried in vain to stay awake for the meteor shower that night, but we were just too whipped from the day's hike. The next few days it's on to Big Bear, where we hope to be by Tuesday, but no later than Wednesday.


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