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.


18 thoughts on “Day 17 – Last day on the trail

  1. mike friend

    so sorry to hear. I hope that your dad is able to recuperate. My thoughts to you and your family.

  2. John N

    I know we haven’t been in touch in quite some time but I recall your praises for your father and I’m sorry to hear of your loss. You did the right thing by interrupting your adventure to go home to say goodbye. Based on what you’ve told me of your dad, I think he would like you to finish what you started, so after dealing with the services etc., you really should get back on the trail where you got off. Life is an adventure, full of ups and downs, but it goes on….. as it should.

    As you know, I’ve taken some adventurous trips as well and the one thing sticks in my mind from my cross-country ride 30 years ago was the numerous ‘old’ people who said to me “I wish I had done something like that”. I say this because you’ve dreamed this adventure, planned this trek, allotted the time and as you stated in your blog, it’s been high on your bucket list. Part of adventures is the unexpected things (good or bad) that happen along the way. Its how one deals with those things that defines them.
    Too many people find (or look for) an excuse not to do things. You can’t change the past so finish what you started so you don’t look back years from now saying “I wish I had”. The “wish I had’s” really suck even in the things in life such as letting a friendship get away. You’re in a spot now where you could easily abandon your dream using his death as an excuse but reality is your fathers death has now become a part of your adventure whether you finish it or not and I’ve never met a father who didn’t want their child to finish what they’ve started, at least things that involved a positive effect on them. My father didn’t want me to keep poking at that bees nest years ago.

    If you don’t finish it now, the odds of doing it later diminish. Ask yourself, how many times have you already put this trip off or some other thing you’ve wanted to do waiting for the “right time”? We’re not 20 years old anymore and our windows of opportunities are getting smaller for certain things in life so don’t close the window when it opens for you. Your situation now may be a sad one at the moment but it need not be a show stopper. Plus, you never know, maybe the events of this week will make you look at the adventure from a whole different perspective in life. Because that’s what this all is, an Adventure called life. Don’t watch it pass by…. Live it.

    1. jayrocksd Post author

      Thanks John. Good to hear from you. I fully intend to get back on the trail, but not where I got off. Even prior to having to leave the trail I had felt that enjoying the trail and the great people I was meeting along the way was much more important than a contiguous through hike.

      Finishing the trail would be a nice pelt on the wall, but I feel I have a lot of those. This wouldn’t be the coolest or the hardest or the one I am most proud of nor would it say anything additional about who I am as a person. Everyone already knows I am stubborn and vain. So I will probably skip forward to Kennedy Meadows and try to catch up with some of the folks I was hiking with before.

      1. John N

        Jay, I’ll be driving up to Yosemite the afternoon of 6/5 via 395 if that jives with your new departure and you want a ride.

  3. mike friend

    I would still like to join you once you hit the northwest. Let me know what your updated schedule looks like once you know your plans.


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