Day 18 mile 266.3 – 284.4

Elevation: ascent 2,329 ft, descent 2,341 ft

After the long day yesterday we decided to sleep in and just wake up whenever. This was the first morning that we woke with the sun fully up and shining on our tent, which was 7:15. We weren’t in a huge rush to get up so we took our time enjoying the warmth from the sun and not having freezing temps. Prickly was still knocked out in his bivy and was planning on a slow day as he needed to take care of some gear issues (wetness). So we unfortunately didn’t get to say goodbye but hopefully we will cross path later down the trail. It was pure luxury to be walking on dirt trails and in dry shoes for the first time in the last couple of days. The first order of business was to get some water in about 2 miles from a very slow dripping spigot at Doble Trail Camp. We were even able to use it to help clean our socks which definitely needed it. It’s amazing how fast it feels like you can walk on dry trail after you had been slogging through snow the past two days. We even got some cell service and were able to check on some emails and make some phone calls. During our morning you could really see why they call it the Pacific Crest. There were times we would have an expansive view east into the dry desert and then you would go around a ridge with a spectacular view of the snow capped mountains and forests to the west.

The desert to the east

Right around 11:30 it happened. We hit snow again! We thought we might see a little today as we did know we would have to climb but we hoped the trail was going to be on more sun exposed ridges that would have helped to melt all of this white stuff. This is when all of the interval training started. We have found that we are able to walk comfortably on dry trail at a pace that gets us 2.5-3 miles in an hour, compared to one mile an hour on snow. So we would be cruising along when all of a sudden you hit a snow patch and your feet slip causing our pace to come to a screeching halt. This continued until about 1:30 when we crested a ridge and had the most amazing view of Big Bear and San Gorgonio in the background. During this bit of snow is when we also saw our first evidence of bears in the area.

Bear paw

We stopped here for lunch and took the time to take off our shoes and try to dry out our feet once again from all of the snow. With our break we even took the opportunity to FaceTime our kids. Seeing our daughter Maddie eating a large piece of garlic bread made us very envious, as I think we would have paid a pretty penny for a slice of that. It’s funny how a lot of conversations out here turn to food as the day goes on. We even started to talk about how much food we would order or how many hamburgers we each could consume in one sitting. The high bid on this one is 4!! 😳

Big Bear Lake

After lunch we had only about 6 miles to go to get to camp. Easy right, well the PCT and the snow had a different thought in mind. No more than 10 minutes into the post-lunch hike did we find ourselves immersed in snow. This lasted for the next 3 hours of hiking. Shoes soaked, post holing, slipping and using some choice language we finally made it to a reliable creek so we could grab water for our half dinner (one dinner we had to split in two since we had an error in our resupply).

8 years ago

Now it was off to find a camp. According to our app someone said there was supposed to be one in 0.3-0.5 miles. Well we never found those or if they were there they were buried under snow and we weren’t about to do that again. So after waking an extra mile we found a pretty nice spot with little wind and NO SNOW. We still had plenty if sun while we cooked and ate dinner, outside. While I have been blogging we have been treated to a spectacular sunset that has last almost 45 minutes. We now only hear a small stream and an owl off in the distance. Besides Prickly this morning we didn’t see a single soul on the trail today.

Tomorrow should bring more dry trial and sunshine as we descend out of the mountains. We might even try to get into a small town for a milkshake and burger if we are lucky. You can bet that we both will be dreaming of that tonight!! Thanks again for following along. “Link”