Week four seemed to be an interesting week for a number of reasons. For one, after we left Big Bear it seemed we were back in the ‘bubble.’ Meaning we were hiking around a lot of people who all left town around the same time. Sometimes when there are a lot of hikers on trail it can be more difficult for me to find my own pace. I don’t want to keep having to pass people so it keeps me from taking as many breaks as I normally would. But it is a good learning moment for me, trying to stay in tune with myself even around others. Meanwhile, we have met a couple hikers that quickly have felt like family after we stayed together in Big Bear.
The next interesting thing that happened on trail was experiencing Deep Creek Hot Springs. Or as the locals call it, Dick Creek. We arrived on a Sunday mid afternoon and the clothing optional hot spring was busy as could be. I was not quite prepared mentally, as the pictures I had seen were of just hikers relaxing in the hot springs. I squeezed with Mango into one of the springs and we kept our eyes up as nudity was every which way. We didn’t stay there too long as the next campsite was quite far and camping was forbidden at the spring. Level took off rocket speed through the ridge walking. I could see him about .5 mile ahead on the other side of the ridge. I waved and told him to keep going as there were about 5 other hikers behind him looking for camping as well. We had 4 of us crammed into a small little spot that night, but it was quite cozy.
The next day was beautiful hiking, walking on the ridge throughout the day. It was extremely windy, which I enjoyed because it kept me thinking about each step. After lunch that day Level, Birdie, and I took refuge from the wind in a little nook. We were waiting for Mango to come down the ridge and started getting worried when we didn’t see her. A couple of hikers came down and found us explaining that Mango was on the windy ridge in tears with a hurt ankle. Birdie without hesitation went to go find her and help her down to where we were. When she arrived she had decided that her hike was done. It made us remember how serious an injury on the trail can be. Level and Birdie took turns carrying her pack 3 miles down and I walked with her down the the road where her family would pick her up. We said our Goodbyes and were very sad to see her go. In the eight days we had known her she had become a good friend. We waited until her family got there and kept going to find camp. It was getting dark so we found a ‘trashy’ beach, setting our tents between piles of trash. We looked at the positive side of things, relishing in the white noise of the waves crashing.
The morning was fabulous, walking around Silverwood lake into the fog. There was a rainbow when we rounded the corner making me so happy! The cool morning had me super motivated as well as the fact that we would hit McDonalds only .4 miles off the trail. That day we hiked harder than we had before, 16 miles without many breaks. McDonalds had a bunch of hikers, feasting on burgers and Mcflurries. The weather was looking miserable so nearly all the hikers booked into the Best Western. We decided that we would have to eventually hit bad weather so we might as well get it over with. We hiked about 2 miles from McDonalds in a sandy nook and we had blue skies until much later that night when the rain started.
The morning we put all our rain gear on and I hiked fast to get my fingers warm. It was a 30 mile stretch of no water so I was glad for the colder, rainy weather. Over 20 of the miles were uphill. Level was calling me Positive Polly that morning because I was just loving the hike. All the smells were so fragrant that morning with the rain and flowers, making me appreciate everything around me. Plus, with the fog all the flowers seemed to pop. The whole day we hiked up and up and got above the clouds. It was extraordinary as the blue skies were coming out and the views became even more incredible. We hiked to the peak that evening, it started snowing and I got a little concerned since our tent was already soaking wet. We were so lucky because it was such a clear, beautiful night.
The next morning we only had 8 miles to go to get into the town of Wrightwood, CA. It is an incredibly hiker-friendly town. We had the most hospitable stay with Trail Angels, Lynn and Maile. They took care of us in more ways than we could have ever asked for. Immediately upon arrival we felt like a million bucks after showers and we even got to wear pretty hip clean outfits as they took our laundry and did it for us. It’s hard to tell just how much we become smelly hikers out there, until we walked in the house and I could smell just how bad we were. We got a little tour of the town, resupplying at the one grocery store in town. When we got back, our clothes were clean but I couldn’t get myself to stop wearing the comfy town clothes I was given. Coming into town after the rain and long mileage days, my feet were in rough shape so I couldn’t believe when Maile sat me down and pampered my feet back to life. I had blisters under blisters and dirt embedded in more than one. While I was getting that done I was offered snap peas and cookies! I felt like I was in a dream. Burgers & dark and stormies were on the menu for dinner, we were in bliss the whole day and night. Thank you Lynn and Maile!!