10 May 2008

I-10 to Hwy 18

I’m resting a few final minutes in Big Bear City, CA’s fire station. The 50+ miles here since my last resupply have been diverse and majestic.

Wednesday, Caitlyn dropped Joanne, Andrea and I at the I-10 overpass where we headed north starting at 6:30am. Looking west a rainbow was visible under a dark cloud blanket. Almost exactly at the trail’s line the rising eastern sun was diffusing the ominous cloud into blue sky. I felt only a few sprinkles and had a sun with me all day afterward.

The PCT headed across a gusty open valley before tucking into gold Canyon. Even at 8am, I started to bake between these rock walls. A few miles later I crossed a small saddle, saying goodbye to San Jacinto to my south and the Mesa Valley Wind farm between us.

Northbound I traversed above Teugon Canyon, looking into its jagged and steep gorge walls. At one switch back, I stepped into a dragonfly ascending, as 15+ bugs, hovered above the grass. Beyond the canyon, was a wide (500+ yds) watermelon boulder field which held Whitewater Creek. After, soaking my feet and meeting Senator, OPA and JS, I hiked on. My camp chose me. I rounded a bend and said this place is special. I had come upon Mission Creek. Small cascades and the resulting foliage invited me to camp. In the night, hearing the running water, I felt deeply rewarded.

Thursday, I started early, but walked slowly as I paused often to receive the love gaze of nature so pronounced along the 10+ miles of Mission Creek. After lunch time nap, the trail began to climb. Thankfully even with sun on me the air cooled as I shifted around a bend. With the increasing elevation vegetation grew to new heights offering shade.

By dinner time I had gone 19 miles, but wanted to go a bit further, than where Senator and OPA had stopped. I was glad I moved on as 750 yds north there was an open cabin which protected me from the chilly winds at 8600 ft. as other hikers arrived, a fire was built. I reminisced about Eric Ryback (at 18 years of age, he was the first to thru-hike the PCT back in 1970) saying a fire was his friend each night. Sleep was peaceful.

Down, down, down. Most of Friday was spent losing elevation under tall pin groves. Knowing the PO in town was closed Saturday, I wanted to get in. However, I was mindful to be safe and enjoy myself. I happened off trail to a small knob where I could see both snow covered peaks of San Jacinto and San Gorgoio(?).

As I neared town, small 4x4 roads had caches hosted by town service providers, promoting their place. I enjoyed a banana from Big Bear Hostel. And I did end up spending a night there. But my favorite cache had Jones soda. Yum!

Town was partially hectic, partially restful. I was glad to have a bed for the 1st time since April 16th and do laundry. I was grateful to Gypsy to for her stew she shared along with an apple-cobbler. Yet, I’m rarely rest filled with a to-do list in my head.

I wanted to thank you for the surprised filled care package. Also thanks for sending me the heel pads last week. My Achilles is feeling stronger. From your advice, I did soak my feet in bleach to kill a potential fungal growth. Hiking is sometimes more than full-time work, as I can never leave my body.

I’m anxious as of this moment. Daylight hours are dwindling and hitching can be slow. I look forward to relaxing again on trail. Especially, I’m looking forward to Deep Creek Hot Springs between here and my next resupply. Life is simpler between resupplies.

I miss you.

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