Day 13: The Long Road Walk Ends

Memories from May 3

Despite the plan to leave at 5:45am, I was the only one ready and other than that, Julie was the only one out of her sleeping bag.

In honor of wanting to get to Big Bear as soon as possible, I ate and took off my jacket while hiking and so soon found myself out front. I slowed down and wound up walking between Julie and Kate in front and Sven and Jan behind. I was perfectly positioned to not be able to distinguish either conversation but enjoy the different qualities if everyone’s voice. Kate was musical, Julie light laughter, Sven stereotypically French, and Jan chortling laughter.

We took a mud morning break to let everyone catch up, eat breakfast, and change out of warm clothes now that the morning sun had set in. Kate and I had once discussed how when hiking by yourself, you walk slower but stop less frequently and for shorter duration. This wound up being an ironic case in point as I hadn’t needed the break at all and I stayed back at the first turn to make sure Kate wouldn’t miss it because she hadn’t been able to get through her entire morning routine during the break.

We had a second break within a few miles of Big Bear where we could get cell service. We were getting pretty excited since we’d been carrying water from Pappy and Harriet’s the mid-morning before. Eddie was going to get away with only 4 liters of water for the 28ish miles and I’d given him a bunch of crap for not carrying enough water. Jan who’d set out with six or more liters poured some out for weight reduction.

I looked up directions to the Big Bear Hostel where I had a reservation and explained my plan. One of the hard parts of hiking with a group is that everyone is hiking their own hike and so groups can dissolve as quickly as they form.

We all set out. Julie, Sven, and Jan dropped back a little and I caught something about finding a connection to the PCT. When I got to the bottom of the hill, Kate was behind me but no one else. After some waiting and zooming around our phone’s maps, we found a place where the PCT passes close by road and assumed they’d bushwhacked through there. After a few more minutes and walked the threeish miles to the Big Bear City post office where Kate had a package and was on the route to the hostel. At the corner store across from the post office were Sven, Julie, and Jan!

We all wound up at the Big Bear Hostel that evening though Eddie and Christine just stopped by to check the hiker box and hang out.

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