Day 19 & 20 – Town Life

Friday 17 May 2019
Day: 19
Location: Arrastre Trail Camp (Mile 256.2) to Big Bear Lake (Mile 266.1)
Distance travelled: 9.9 miles / 16 km

When I woke up this morning I could practically smell the town food awaiting me in Big Bear.

I had somehow overslept and was the last tent left in camp so I got up, packed up and was ready to leave in record time.

I was thankful that it was a relatively flat 10 miles into Big Bear. My legs were propelling me quickly through the pine forest trail.

It wasn’t long before I was back in the familiar desert terrain, dropping down into the town of Big Bear Lake.

Confusingly, there are two Big Bears, Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake. When I was sending my bounce box on from Warner Springs I made a last minute decision to send it to Big Bear. At the post office I needed to decide whether I would send it to Big Bear City or Big Bear Lake. I naturally assumed that Big Bear City would be larger than Big Bear Lake, that the city would be where all of the shops are. I was wrong. Big Bear City is the smaller of the two towns. With little accomodation options. Walking into town I still wasn’t sure if I would need to get to Big Bear City to ask them to bounce on my box.

With my legs propelling me rapidly towards town I caught up with some of the people I was camping with last night, including an Australian couple, Coralee and Sam. We hiked together for a while, chatting as we hiked. They are lovely people, it was nice getting to know them.

Views on the way into Big Bear

I arrived at the trailhead to find some recently refreshed trail magic. It was excited to read that I had walked 10% of the entire trail!

When I arrived at the parking lot I met the trail angel who maintains the soda cache, Tortuga. He is a lovely man, a local who raised his family in the area. He was headed back into town and offered to drive myself and two other hikers into town. I was in luck because the couple Tortuga was dropping into town had posted their resupply boxes to Big Bear City rather than Big Bear Lake so Tortuga had agreed to take them into town via the post office. I ducked into the post office with them and arranged for my bounce box to he forwarded on to Wrightwood.

Arriving in town I was relieved that I had pre booked my hostel bed. I found it fully booked when I arrived.

After getting cleaned up and raiding the hiker box I headed into town to have a second breakfast. Teddy Bears do an all day breakfast. I had a delicious omelette with potatoes and toast. It has quickly become my town go to.

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The Big Bear Hostel felt like a home away from home. I spent the afternoon doing laundry and chilling on the couch, enjoying the down time.

Hiker box haul, there is nothing like resupplying off other people’s leftovers

Saturday 18 May 2019
Day: 20
Location: Big Bear Lake
Distance travelled: 0 miles / 0 km

It was nice to wake up in a big warm comfy bed knowing I had no need to rush out on trail and nowhere to be. That said, I was up at 6.30am and first order of the day was breakfast! The Big Bear Hostel looks after hikers incredibly well and have a big bag of pancake mix ready to go in the kitchen along with some giant bottles of syrup and coffee. I whipped up a batch of pancakes, one of the other hostel guests put on a pot of coffee and Graham joined us for breakfast before he headed back out on trail. The pancakes were surprisingly delicious. I even found a free banana in the fruit bowl to add to my pancakes. It was delish!

All I had to do today was resupply. Having found a bunch of free food in the hiker box the day prior I didn’t have too much to buy but was planning on sending some boxes forward. After sitting down and doing some further research and planning I decided not to bother sending the boxes. I decided not to bother with the stress and added cost of the postage. The higher prices of some of the smaller supermarkets wouldn’t be enough to offset the postage costs and from the quality items I was reaping from the hiker boxes I would try my luck.

No sooner was I thinking about making a move to the supermarket did Dub walk in the door. I met he and his brother yesterday, we are staying in the same hostel room. Dub is the older of the 2 brothers at 78 years of age and is helping drive his brother back and forth from the trail whilst he section hikes the PCT. They are incredible people who have accomplished a lot! They have named several peaks in Alaska having made the first ascents. Dub is even googleable… try Dub Bludsworth or Mount Thor, Alaska. Dub, having just dropped his brother out at the trail didn’t have too much to do that day and offered to drive me to the supermarket. It was incredibly kind of him. It was also lovely to have the company. Not only did he drive me to the store but came shopping with me, kept me company during my shop and carried my basket for me. He told me he would not judge me for the amount of candy I put in the basket 🤣.

After the grocery store we made a stop at the pharmacy and then headed back to the hostel. It was a lovely afternoon of relaxing, eating and getting to know new friends. I loved hearing Dubs stories and asked if anyone had written a book about him. He said he was in the process of writing one and it would be published if he had the time to finish it. I said I wanted a copy of it when it came out and gave him my email address so I could buy a copy.

During the rest of the afternoon I had a call with Adam and over indulged in a slice of pie at the local coffee shop. It was delicious but I regretted it after. I was so full I couldn’t eat dinner!I was feeling ready to head back out on the trail when I heard that a weather warning had been issued for the following day, snow and wind gusts of over 65km per hour. I would have felt ok with one or the other but trying to camp in strong winds while it was snowing sounded too much for me. After much deliberation, myself and another hiker, Sarah, decided to day hike a 10 mile section of trail and come back to the hostel the following night. The forecast was cold but fine during the day. This way we would be safe overnight but still get some hiking in. After making the decision I really hope I wake up to a good dusting of snow overnight.

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