May 18, 2015 (4th Re-Ration – Big Bear Lake)
Campsite near Coon Creek Cabin (246.4) to HWY 18-Big Bear Lake (266.0)
19.6 PCT miles today
279.1 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,385 ft, – 3,673 ft
We made it! Making it to Big Bear feels like our greatest accomplishment yet. These were a hard 5 days of hiking, and even though today was much more level, and even a little downhill, we hiked fast enough to finish almost 20 miles by 2:30pm, and hiking that fast isn’t easy. It felt like my mom was waiting with her warm car, cold drinks, and tasty snacks around every single corner.
I had more aches and pains again today, and thought my feet were going to fall off by the time we made it to our meeting place at HWY 18. I’m really hoping this is all just growing pains and that it will pass, because I can’t imagine hurting this bad for 4 more months. Fortunately, there isn’t any real specific pain, which I take to mean that I’m not actually injured, just putting my body through a lot of hard work.
Seeing Mama Bear somehow managed to be just as wonderful as our tired and deprived minds had imagined for hours on end. She was waiting right at the highway crossing with a big smile and a jug of cold Arizona Iced Tea in hand. We drove to our adorable hotel in Big Bear Lake and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon getting clean and drinking wine on a patio overlooking the lake. We found the perfect dinner spot, El Jacalito, a local Mexican food joint with a killer happy hour, and after stuffing ourselves with delicious food, Don went to see a movie and my mom and I cuddled in bed and watched The Voice on TV. Seriously, how spoiled can we get?
These days that end in hotel beds instead of our tent are taking on a sort of routine. It’s funny rushing around in the morning and then practically jogging on the trail, ignoring things like thirst, hunger, and soreness, because you know that it will all be better once you hit town. Normally we are quite smart about taking breaks, cleaning and changing socks, layering or delayering so we don’t sweat too much or freeze, but on days like today, we let everything deteriorate just a bit, knowing that we won’t have to suffer with any consequences for long. It makes these “hike into town” days some of the best and worst on the trail. But it’s true, from this cozy bed in this warm hotel room, the worries of the trail seem far, far away.