The first day hiking out of Big Bear started with pancakes. Dream Warner Springs cooking team was reunited in the kitchen of the hostel to make fluffy American pancakes and coffee. We had a pan each this time though.
I miss coffee on the trail. It would be a hassle to boil the water each day, and much easier to do without. But it would add considerably to the happiness levels. Consequently in town I consume as much as possible, with the direct result that I need a bathroom many times in the first day back in the wilderness.
The morning passed quickly, with the group I’d started hiking that morning with crunching miles fast. It was good to see Joshua trees even though the trail skips Joshua Tree National Park. They’re peculiar to So Cal it seems, and oddly beautiful.
As the morning wore on I climbed to the ridge above Big Bear and could see across the lake to the resort we had come from that morning. My sense of distance is skewed out here. At times things seem close but the path turns out to switchback for miles, whereas at other times I’m amazed by the distance I cover in a day.
In the afternoon I joined back up with the guys and we walked through a burn area which was hot and exposed but exceptionally beautiful. I think we moved into the Angeles National Forest this afternoon and the trees have changed. The whole afternoon and evening was just jaw dropping.
We’d not intended to do huge miles but we ended up at mile 290 when we saw el Flaco already set up for the night. He said he was tired of walking past beautiful campsites just for the sake of a couple more miles, and he had picked a great spot. He’s such an interesting camp mate – a South Carolina gentleman with a host of tales from various jobs and hikes and vacations and a knack for storytelling.
The ground looked hard so I decided to cowboy camp. Lying on the ground looking at the stars is one of the best ways I can think of to end a day.
Camping: mile 290