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PCT 2015 Day 18: Big Bear Zero

  • Start: 266.1
  • End: 266.1
  • Miles: 0
  • Camp: Big Bear Lake (Big Bear Hostel)

I spent the day in town in a daze; the euphoria that comes with a town visit combined with the physical drive to rest and recover. It’s always a confusing time, as people come into town in groups, some of whom you haven’t seen for a while. Some stay for a zero, others leave while you’re taking a day out.

Breakfast melted into Post Office runs, resupplying food, and lounging around doing crosswords. And eating salad! I can’t tell you how everything got done, but somehow I have one box on its way to Tehachapi, one on its way to Kennedy Meadows and enough food to last the 4-5 days to Wrightwood.

The afternoon was spent in the Big Bear Lake movie theatre watching Avengers: Age of Ultron with Chug, Doolittle and Frankenstein. That was a bit more grounding, but I still hadn’t moved from the trancelike state by dinner.

I sat on the sofa in my duvet watching the boys divvy up their resupply and pack, still contemplative  but now with a distinct topic: leaving towns. Leaving towns is hard. You roll in with a group of friends, spend an entire day with people, meeting new friends, swapping stories, getting to know people better. Then you hike out of town and depending on speeds and schedules might never see each other again. Chug and Mad Science had stayed up late yesterday before Mad Science left this morning, and today was my turn. He listens well, understanding the strange emotions that come with leaving town but like me finding it hard to reconcile. On the one hand there is impatience and eagerness to hike. On the other the laziness that the town day has bred. Worry about quantity and appeal of food. Planning of food and camping strategy for the next leg. But most of all worry about how to say goodbye. These friends are important, and you may never see each other again. But you may see them at the first lunch stop. How to embody that uncertainty into a goodbye is complex. Worth staying up late to discuss.

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