The Land of Big Bears
Beginning Elevation = 7,600
Ending Elevation = 6,800
Weather: 40-60°F, brief sun, then cloudy and ice pellets
[Sumi Update: He has been found!!!
I checked the Facebook group this morning when I had service and saw this post:
“Your buddy is at Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild”
He doesn’t even look frostbitten with his lack of clothing on the high peak! I believe his intense meditation and zen-like state allowed him to survive the elements without even noticing. Later in the day I called the outfitter and found out that the guy who creates the San Jacinto Trail Report found him. His name is Jon and from the sounds of it traverses all over the mountain every few days and updates his website: https://sanjacjon.com. I got to talk with Jon himself and he plans to ship Sumi to a town ahead (Wrightwood, CA) for me! What craziness haha. He did say he’s had stuff like this happen every so often, just never a foam sumo wrestler/Buddha guy 😉.]
I’ve found that packing up early when others are tenting nearby and trying to sleep isn’t something I particularly enjoy. But, that’s just the way it is…I try to be as quiet as I can and sneak away. This morning was one of these times. Brian, who I found out has been going by the trail name of Kool-Aid nowadays, got up earlier still. We made plans to try and meet up along the trail as he began his trek out of camp.
I think I got going around my usual time. Ally looked like she would be close behind. It was another serene, peaceful morning and I enjoyed walking by myself. Very soon though, while crossing over a small stream, I noticed a hat lying on the earth. Right away I recognized it as Seth Rogen’s, the sailor hat, which I now saw had “Captain” written on it. Pretty rad.
I put it on the outside of my pack in a mesh stuff sack thinking he was ahead of me and I might catch him up ahead. Onward I walked.
At one point the trail seemed to peter out. I was befuddled and so consulted my Guthook’s PCT Guide app. Sure enough, I had made a wrong turn somewhere and was about an 1/8 mile off the actual trail. It didn’t take long to back track, and then I was grooving again.
Soon later I stopped for breakfast a little off the trail, blueberries and cream oatmeal (lots of oatmeal you may have noticed…so far not sick of it one bit, tasty stuff). While relaxing out on a little outcrop of sorts, I heard a hiker coming along. After seeing it was Mr. Rogen, I hollered at him and got his attention. Hat returned, just like that. He was very grateful, seeming to be very attached to the hat. He lost it when filling water up at the stream. Hats sure like to get lost on this trail.
The trail went through a kind of thinned out forest and then into sagebrush looking stuff. I wasn’t really sure what the sign in the third picture was trying to say. Maybe just that this is a trail for hiking? Or is it saying we should try to step on the foliage? Very mysterious.
This is about the time that the clouds became darker and temps. dropped. Then, I started seeing little snow droplets spitting down, which after a bit turned into little ice pellets. It never seemed to go hard, but just very lightly off and on for about an hour or so. It melted within seconds on the ground and on me. There was some low rumbling thunder a ways off too. I walked in my normal clothes for a bit, but then recognizing I was being dumb and that I had warmer gear, put it on. Rain coat and gloves were great!
I tried to capture two unique features in one photo shot here: the clouds encompassing the mountains behind me and these odd family-grouped spiky yucca-like plants I saw for a bit…
I soon caught up to Brian and finished the walk to Highway 18, which we both planned to take into town. Just before the parking lot, around noon, we came across this though…
Brian made an excellent choice of Hawaiian Punch and I went for a Dew (I love Mountain Dew, especially in a can for some reason). We planned to go take a break and drink our sodas before figuring out plans to get into town, but there was a guy waiting there who asked if we wanted a ride. Thanks to Gary who brought us to the Von’s (grocery store) parking lot in Big Bear Lake!
We both had been craving pizza, talking about it on trail, and so first on our to-do list was Maggio’s. I think Brian was a little over ambitious about it, he got a large and didn’t eat half (saved of course). I also saved some, trying not to over eat!
After pizza, we headed to the store to do some food shopping (no, I didn’t end up taking all that 2lb bag of Kars trail mix). I bumped into other hikers in the store…that’s Matt in the greenish shirt.
I’d been texting back and forth with Jim earlier in the day, and he very kindly offered to let me and other hikers I was with spend the night at their family cabin in Big Bear Lake. He, Chris, and Jack actual ended up driving up and picked us up outside the pizza place. Ally had joined us by then too, so the three of us headed to the cabin. We got to chat with the Nydams for a few hours before they went back home, which was great! They showed us around and even started a fire in the wood burning stove! Such a nice place for us to rest and regroup.
Back on Day 12, at mile 145, I stopped at a place that a trail angel named Mary had set up. It was the one with the shaded picnic table, library, and “shower.” I took a picture then of something she’d wrote, but didn’t include in my original post. I thought it fit nicely here though…
Its kind of hard to read, but essentially she writes about having a theme for her oasis, which is having a special connection to a certain place. While at the Nydams cabin, I felt that this certainly seems to be a place that they have a special connection with. It reminded me a lot of my grandparents cabin in Vogel Center…where that place holds so many great memories and feelings!
Brian, Ally, and I had a nice time relaxing by the fire. We did some looking ahead at trail stuff and our food supply (we each had gotten our food from Von’s when in town), but mostly just hanging out for a while. Having a shower and a bed was also very nice 😊. Such a wonderful experience!