After all the napping we did in the shade, we started hiking again at 4pm. The evening hike was such a changeirst it was so much cooler. Second, we ended up staying low in elevation hiking continuously along Mission Creek. There were parts that felt like a jungle, making it feel like just that morning and afternoon hike had been weeks ago. That is one thing I love about thru-hiking, it’s a constant change. New feelings, scenery, and people. We found an awesome bathing pool, too good to pass up even though it was just a mile from our long break. I had to go pee so I made sure to hike far enough away from the water but in doing so I was pee dancing hopping among the leaves. I came two hops from stepping onto a rattlesnake. Who knew they hid in the leaves? It rattled at me then slithered right down to the water towards Level. I shouted at him and he watched it go through the water and into a nearby bush. We still decided to wash our fannies but every little tickle I felt I thought for sure it was the snake.
That night we got a beachside campsite to ourselves, sandy and rushing water nearby. The days here in the ‘desert’ sure are a whirlwind, sometimes bliss and sometimes hot as heck.
The next day we hit the trail at our usual 530 to beat the heat, but even our first few miles seemed slow going. Our hunger was kicking in so there were a lot of snack breaks.
Level and I were both in silly and tired moods that day so we took a long break at 10am. We sat playing cards as many hikers passed us with a look of focus and motivation that we couldn’t muster up. Tuna was on the schedule for lunch but we both forced down those last bites. We were ready for town food! The trail was all uphill and our legs were jelly so again we took a break only a couple miles later. This time we actually fell asleep right on the side of the trail. We knew we had to get to water so we kept going, it was a 9 mile day. We set up camp and took a 3 hour nap, then went to bed just a few hours later.
All that sleep really does repair a body. We woke up ready to go, starting our morning with our headlamps on. Our 6 morning miles went by in a snap as we talked about fun dreams for our future. As we continue these adventures I really do get in the mindset that anything is possible. That morning we took a break with Mango and Squeeze at a small campsite. We weren’t in any rush, one of the many perks of getting up so early in the morning. As we sat there a local came by, giving us information about the town of Big Bear and he brought water! We topped off our bottles and said our see you laters, heading back on trail.
I had so much energy the whole day and it helped to know we were getting closer to town where Birdie had offered us to stay with him and his family. I hadn’t eaten much since breakfast so I rummaged through my food bag and found a snickers and peanut butter. I dipped the two together and was in snicker heaven. Along the trail we saw a disturbing sight. Through a fence was a big live grizzly bear stuck in a little cage, looking for a way out. It is a little exotic ‘zoo’ where they keep Hollywood animals that they use for films. It was sad seeing the cages are almost as small as the animals themselves. After that we continued a couple more miles and low and behold, trail magic! A guy yelled to us from a side road asking if we wanted a beer.
It was a nice cool day and we were hydrated so we of course said, yes! We chit chatted and he told us how he had previously hiked a long trail so he thinks of us hikers a lot. The calories from the beer had me all fueled up again and we went about 19 miles for the day, only 7 miles from town.
The next day we hiked with Mango to the road where Birdie and his sister were going to pick us up. It was a relaxing hike there, perfect weather and no real elevation gains. When we got near the crossing we encountered more trail magic! Sodas and a sign congratulating us on completing 10% of the trail.
Then came the most wonderful day of trail magic we could have imagined. Not only were we offered a place to stay from Birdie and his family, but they took us in like we were a part of the family. They listened so intently as we shared stories of the trail, made us food without hesitation, and gave us so much encouragement I felt like I could accomplish anything.
Each of our town stays have given us just what we needed at the time, this one was full of love.
We resupplied heftily at the Dollar Tree and local grocery store. I had to try packing it up a few different times because it wouldn’t all fit into my bag. Luckily we divided some of it and I played Tetris with each item and got it to fit.
That night we slept like kings and queens, waking up to the family downstairs in their PJs cooking breakfast. It was such a nice family scene. We headed back to the trail with the family wishing us off, making sure we had everything we needed. Thank you again!!