At mile 266 the PCT crosses paths with a highway that is 6 miles east of Big Bear city and Big Bear Lake. The first is a residential area while the latter is a decent commercial strip near a lake(duh). The city is filled with whittled bears. It is rather impressive. The hike to get here was pretty intense, but most of the problems came from our impatience. Most of us were running low on food. We all craved some fast food too. Me, and two other guys got hitched for a ride and we were dropped off at the PO. After that, we went and indulged ourselves with some McDonald’s. They’re were better choices, but I complied with the group and I was hungry. I need to be smarter about what I choose to eat, but it is rather challenging when you arrive starving in a city have a few hundred miles of hiking.
We stayed at a trail angels house. The couple respectively named Papa Smurf and Mountain Mama were very, very generous. I will remember their hospitality for the rest of my life. I got free food and all amnesties I required to be clean and comfortable during my stay. The place does look beat up, but with an average of 10 hikers getting in per night, I was more than impressed with the level of organization this couple displayed. Mountain Mama even gave me a ride back to the trail head at mile 266!
After my short stay in big bear, I had my eyes on Wrightwood. It is located close to mile 370. The reason I am excited to visit this small hiker town is two-fold. First off, it is supposed to be small and cozy. Secondly, I bought myself a better tent which I am having shipped to Wrightwood. My plan is to camp a few miles away from the city. That way I will get to get into the city in the morning. I hear they are rather friendly trail angels in Wrightwood.
As far as hiking goes, the trail has been less aggressive. I have been working on my walking technique and started taking more breaks. it gives me a chance to hike for longer periods of time. I am slowly getting the hang of this. My feet are getting better as well. Unfortunately, I seem to be developing an in-grown toe nail on one of my big toes. I haven’t really looked into a long term solution yet.
There is an 8000ft incline right before getting into Wrightwood. It will be a decent challenge after a few days of flat hiking. I’ve seen a lot of new faces in the past few days. I can’t say I have bonded with any of them as much as I did with Chezwick. Then again, I am trying to spend most of my time going solo, to acquire some experience in that respect. Chezwick busted his ankle and I haven’t seen him in a few days, so the situation lended itself to me being on my own. I tried waiting for him, but doing so on trail has been remarquably difficult and counter productive. I don’t mind the solitude as it gives me many opportunities to reflect on life and hiking. I knew we would separate eventually, it was always in the back of my mind so it came as no surprise when I went onward without him. Overall, I am very happy at the unpredictability that is brought to me on every new day.
As always, check out my instagram @zielinskip for pictures.