Day 17 – Last day on the trail

May 17- Day 17- Big Bear Hostel

Day started off great. I was first one out for a change, but was quickly passed by five other hikers I had not seen before, including AB, Big Package, and Tank. FedEx also passed as he would be hitching to Arrowhead for a BBQ at his sisters. AB and Big Package would be the only ones still at the road when I arrived, but I was quickly followed by Kramers and Goat.

We only waited ten or fifteen minutes before Ken, a middle school math teacher gave three of us a ride into Big Bear to the hostel. He had made the trip just to pick up hikers this being his second trip.

I originally planned to get a hotel being a crotchety old man but immediately ran into Pepa who proclaimed “this place is awesome!” He was originally planning to stay one night but decided to stay another night and zero. I had really liked hanging out with Pepa, Kramers and the gang so I changed my mind and decided to stay at the hostel. I got a shared room with AB, Big package, and Tank and we quickly went to work on showers, laundry and pancakes.

Over the next several hours we ate lunch at a burger joint in Big Bear Lake village, got ice cream, and watched Godzilla. Good flick but some major plot holes. ( Like bringing the lead character along on a mission due to his hands on experience in arming 1940 US nuclear bomb triggers that he apparently got serving as a navy EOD LT in Iraq. (The process involved setting the time and turning two keys)). I also discovered I had lost 24 lbs. 40 to go.

Later on we were relaxing and exchanging contact info. I rarely log into Facebook but logged in to look for an invite from Pepa. It was then that I noticed a post from mom saying that dad had been hospitalized with pneumonia. She apparently had to change cell phone numbers and no one answered at home so I called my brother Chris’s cell phone and my mom answered.

Long story short, it was very serious and by late evening he was suffering from total organ failure and by the AM was on life support hoping all three boys could be there to say goodbye.

My dad was always my hero so next morning I was driving a rental car to San Diego and Theresa and I are on a flight to Denver. I will miss the trail and the quickly formed, great friendships, but I must be with my family.

Day 15 – Somewhere in the Mountains

May 15 – Day 15 – Mile 242

Woke up at the creek next morning and was the last one out as Fedex, Mountain Goat and Kramers had left already. The day started out uphill and never let up. We ended up climbing over 5000 feet throughout the day.

I stopped at Creekside camp and had lunch with FedEx before tackling the next thousand feet over three miles to forested camp where everyone planned to break for a few hours of midday heat avoidance. This was also the first section where there was poodle dog bush which appears after fires and is much worse than poison oak. Avoiding that while climbing a steep trail in midday heat was not much fun. I finally arrived at forested camp exhausted.

We all cooked an early dinner and rested in the shade before hiking another four miles and pitching tents on the only flat ground we could find.


Day 16 – Downhill Hiking and Trail Magic

May 16 – Day 16 – Arrastre Creek – Mile 258.4

The last two days of hiking ten or twelve miles in the morning followed by a long break in the shade and a four to six mile afternoon hike was so popular that FedEx, Mountain Goat, Kramers and I agreed to do it again. It was only 24 miles to highway 19 and a hitch into Big Bear, but we all agreed an easy eight mile hike in the AM before ten. Also a 24 mile hike and then hitch would mean the post office would be closed and they would be waiting on packages. So we did the hike, much easier than the previous days ascent.

We paused for our break at the trail magic bin for Big Bear hostel where another hiker “Paint your Wagon” was resting. We drank sodas, ate apples and cooked some pasta that was there. It was a perfect break.

About three o’clock we hiked the next four miles and settled in at Arrastre creek to camp. Kramers snagged the good spot but it was nice with the sound of the creek and thoughts of town tomorrow with a zero day for me.

Day 14 – Mission Creek Crossing

May 14 – Day 14 – Mission Creek – Mile 226

The day started with a respectable uphill toward the wind farms north of the ten. I was hiking with four people I had met at the water fountain the day before and had also stayed at Ziggy and the Bears. Pepa, Kramers, FedEx, and Mountain Goat. I say hoiking with but we were pretty spread out pretty quickly.

After about eight miles we veered off to go to the Whitewater Preserve which was formerly a fish farm and is now a conservation preserve. About eight through hikers whiled away the hotter part of the day under a shelter sleeping on picnic tables. It was a blissful break from the hot sun. Despite a college class that spent half an hour counting to five over and over while throwing food to different spots at intervals to watch the distribution of the very large trout. Must have been community college.

At about three I headed up the trail to get in eight more miles. It was a good day but I was beat as we all settled down to camp by Mission Creek


Day 13 – Ziggy and the Bear

May 13 – Day 13 – Mile 210 – Ziggy and the Bear.

Took a while to get going as I lay in my tent listening to the ferocious wind outside. The hiking was a little maddening as the days destination was four miles as the crow flies and twenty by trail. You could see the 10 below but it would take a long time to get there partially due to some long traverses that hardly seemed to descend at all. To top it off the first fifteen miles were part of a 20 mile waterless stretch.

Rogue and I finally hit the snow canyon road faucet around two completely out of water and thirsty. I drank two liters and filtered two more. I then plodded the last five miles just wishing to be done. Rogue stayed there wanting to avoid any crowd at Ziggy and the Bears but I met four new folks who followed me in. They had spent the last hour trying to hide in a very small patch of shade.

Crossing under the 10 I ran into trail magic. Ice cold cokes and sugar cookies. It was so awesome as my water in my camelback was Luke warm or hotter. After a short break I finished the last mile to Ziggy and the Bears.


Ziggy and the Bear are famous trail angels who live right off the trail whose backyard is a hiker haven. I signed in thanks to some volunteers and had my picture taken as #900. I then got a foot bath, shower, ice cream (Neapolitan) and chatted with the other nine or so hikers there before cowboy camping under the stars.

The only bad thing is my right shin was pretty swollen. I iced it and took some Ibuprofen and it seemed to go down quite a bit. Bears monitoring bit will continue unless it gets worse. This hiking stuff is hard. The good people on the trail and helping out makes it easier.

Day 12 – Fuller Ridge Trailhead

May 12 – Day 12 – Fuller Ridge Trailhead – Mile 190.5

Day began with a two mile road hike to Humber park followed by a 2.5 mile hike up Devils Slide Trail just to get to the PCT. Most of the day was uphill towards Mt. San Jacinto ( although the trail bypasses the peak) but with fresh legs the hiking was good.


The last few miles were downhill and I originally planned to go to 193 but the camp at fuller ridge was too good to pass up. About five others had arrived to camp by the time I went to bed including Rogue who was at paradise valley cafe the night I stayed there. There was also Turnup who was hitchhiking to California when he got dropped at the trail angel where I felt uncomfortable. They kicked him out since he was not a hiker and he had done 60 miles of the pct hoping to get to the I10 to continue hitching north.

It was cold when I crawled into my bag to sleep.

Day 10 & 11 – Double Zero

May 10 & 11 were spent at a hotel in Idyllwild sleeping, eating and watching TV. Caught a good bit of the NFL draft cleaned up and bought a new headlamp as the old one was broken. Taking two days off really made me anxious to get back out on the trail.