Day 13: May 7
Start: highway 18, mile 265
End: camp at mile 292
Miles hiked: 27
Rock Ocean picked our posse up around 6:30, and we were on the trail by 7. There was a good 2 inches of snow in places from the prior day. No wind, so it wasn’t too cold. We skirted the hills on the north side of big bear lake, and occasionally got great views of the lake, city, and the ski slopes.
The trail was soft and gradual, and my feet felt excellent. I cruised the first 10 miles in just under 3 hours, and felt no pain in my feet. I noticed my blisters on my two outside toes on each foot had hardened. This is common with long distance hikers, and is referred to as your “pinky horn” on the trail. It’s disgusting. After climbing a bit to 8,000 feet, the trail makes a slow descent for the next 30 or so miles. We all stopped around mile 20 for the day, noticing that it was only 2pm. We were cruising, and felt great. The last 7 miles my feet started to throb a bit again, but I attributed it to walking 27 miles with a heavy pack over a short period of time. Normal wear and tear.
We made it to a nice creek with some flat ground and all camped side by side. We were in camp early, and as the evening waned on, more and more hikers trickled in. Soon we were side by side with sleeping pads touching. We feel like family already, and were laughing the majority of the night. It got real cold at night as we were deep in a valley with running water. It felt crazy to think it was so cold and snowy all day. Just a few days earlier we were hiking in 110 degree heat.
Day 14: May 8th
Start: camp at 292
End: camp at 317
Miles hiked: 25
Very cold start to the morning. I was frozen, so I quickly packed my things and started walking on my own. I out my head down and hiked with Mack, from New Zealand for the first 9 miles. He had these tiny sandals on. It made me feel like a wimp for thinking it was so cold. He said he’s hiked from Mexico in the sandals. We talked about the Te Araroa, which is the equivalent of the PCT in New Zealand. He was a fun guy to talk to. After nine miles we reached a tall wooden bridge over a deep canyon. I went down and filled some water, and in a half hour McButter, woody, carrot, and man-no-paws caught up. I was happy to see all of them. We took some time eating on the bridge, and talked about getting to the deep creek hot springs to go swimming. We paralleled the deep creek river and Mohave river for the next 12 miles, though the trail stayed high above the water. Such a tease.
The day became hot, and soon we found a nice looking swimming hole from far above that we journeyed down to. We quickly stripped down to our undies and got in. There was a nice rock about 15 feet above the river that woody, carrot and I used to cliff jump into a deep pool of water in the river. It felt so good to be relaxing and having a fun time playing in the water. It was the heat of the day, and the cold water felt great on the feet. After an hour of goofing around, we headed back on the trail. My feet were still feeling great as we cruised the next 8 or so miles to the deep creek dam. My feet were starting to really ache, and I was happy when McButter, woody and I found a nice place to drop our packs close to a spring. Soon carrot and man-no-paws caught up and payed down their pads as well. We discussed the next day, and how excited we are that there’s a McDonalds only .4 miles off the trail at the end of the day. “I’m going to start with three double cheese burgers” said carrot. “I’m going to order 50 nugget burgers!!” Yelled McButter. McDonalds is exciting. I’m getting 10 apple pies to go!