Day 25 - New People and a Long Day

It was cold last night, but I was fine without that thermal shirt.  My LL Bean down puffy that I got from Integrated Design for Christmas is plenty warm enough.  I slept in until 6:30 and then spent some time catching up on this blog.  Didn't want to leave my warm sleeping bag, even to eat oatmeal.

Eventually I did get out, eat and pack up.  Tanya and Matt left while I was taking down my tent, saying they'll see me at the next water.  I caught up to them at the water, this one was a faucet off a road, apparently it is new, someone installed it for PCT hikers.  So generous!  I didn't​ stay long, I was feeling like getting some miles done today so tomorrow will be easier.

I was walking along a dirt road, when Ian from Maryland cones back the other way.  He said we were off the PCT.   We both missed a turn.  He headed back up to the PCT up this steep road that petered out into nothing and then got really steep.  Yikes, I'll never complain about  switchbacks again.  We talked while we walked for a little and then he went ahead.

Today was some good easy walking.  I could just cruise.  The slope was slightly down or flat, with a few slight uphills.  The landscape slowly changed from redwoods and tall pines to a mixture of cacti, shorter bushes and short scraggly pines.  I guess soon I'll be down below treelinein the desert again.  There were a lot of dirt roads crossing the trail, which means you really have to pay attention to where the trail goes at each crossing and some are not well marked.  I got off again and had to backtrack 1/3 of a mile.

I saw a little desert rat or gopher type rodent at a road.  He was in a little 2" diameter hole, coming out and going back in.  When I got closer, he hid.

I caught up to the larger group of people that are hiking together.  I didn't get their names but I did get where most are from.  England, Canada, and Oregon.  They seemed fun, I'd like to hang with them some more but they were going into Big Bear for a zero.  They told me if I saw a guy named Red Moon to say hello.  He gets his name because he's a redhead and likes to hike naked.  Ok.  That'll be hard to miss.

I hiked on from there, I wanted to do 7 more miles to get to the Doble camp at mile 268.  That would put me 6.4 miles from Van Dusen Rd, which I'll use to go back down to Big Bear City, pick up the food I left at the Motel 6, get something to eat and mail some of the food ahead.  Today is Sunday, so going in today would be useless for mailing.

I hiked another hour and a half and stopped for dinner at a rock overlook.  It overlooked a large mansion and Baldwin Lake beyond.  A hiker passed me without seeing me.  We get such tunnel vision sometimes.

I continued on, going past a dirt road with a car parked there and saw a dune buggy moving fast up the mountain, it zoomed past in a cloud of dust.  Remind me not to camp on any of these dirt roads.  I reached highway 18, the most popular access to Big Bear.  I crossed and kept going, soon meeting two dayhikers.  They asked I was going and I said "Eventually, Canada".

I reached the camp right before sunset, got some water a d set up my tent.  There was a much older guy camped there, and the couple from Spartanburg, SC; Wildflower and 12 Pack.  It had been a long day, so at sunset retired to my tent.  It was my first 20 mile day!


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