April 30, 2017
Arrastre Trail Camp – Big Bear Lake (256.17 – 266.12)
Last night was probably the coldest night on trail yet. I was huddled up in a tiny ball inside my quilt with my puffy and fleece beanie on, and couldn’t quite get warm enough. When I went to brush my teeth in the morning, my water had little flakes of ice floating in it. Dr. McDirty’s watch said it was – 3 degrees Celsius. I hiked out of camp in full winter wear: puffy, tights, beanie, and gloves.
We excitedly began the 10 miles into town. Once the sun was in the sky, the day quickly warmed up. We stopped exactly 5 miles into the day for a breakfast break. I had cold-soaked oats with a packet of chocolate peanut butter AND a singles cup of regular peanut butter. It was a glorious jar of calories.
We continued on, and got some great desert views. The trail was lined with gorgeous wildflowers in bursts of bright yellows, reds, and purples. Finally, we saw the highway into Big Bear winding below us, and hurried down to the road.
I’d never hitchhiked before in my life, so I was pretty excited and a bit nervous. We spread out along the side of the highway, ready to stick out our thumbs, when we saw a truck headed in our direction. It was the first vehicle to pass us, and they immediately pulled over and the couple inside said they could give us a lift. We all piled into the back seat of the truck. At first, they said they weren’t going as far as Big Bear Lake, but that soon changed and they decided to drive us right into town and drop us off right at the hostel. It was amazing. They even pulled off into a parking lot to look up where the hostel was on google maps so they could take us there, and offered to buy us food. They were so sweet, the woman said if she lived closer she would have just taken us home. They dropped us off in front of the hostel and she got a photo with us and gave us all hugs. It was quite a successful first hitchhiking experience.
As we started walking up to the hostel, we saw a sign saying “CLOSED TONIGHT FOR PRIVATE PARTY, DO NOT DISTURB”. Shit. We called the number for the hostel anyway, and it turned out the sign was leftover from the night before. They asked us to take it down and come on up. Score.
The Big Bear Hostel is pretty amazing. They have a full kitchen, free laundry, showers with shampoo and soap provided, WiFi, couches and TV with Netflix, and of course, real beds to sleep in. Sarge, the guy who runs the show, even said we could steal the toilet paper. He knows hikers well.
They weren’t quite ready for us when we arrived, so Sarge sent us over to Teddy Bear Restaurant to get some breakfast. It was soooooo good. I had a veggie omelette with hash browns, and coffee of course. The others got pie a la mode after their meals and I had a few bites and it was amazinggg. I’m not normally a huge pie person, but that might have been the best pie I ever had.
I only took 2 photos today, and they were both of food…
When we got back to the hostel, we all showered and got our laundry into the machine. I wanted to wash EVERYTHING, so I spent the afternoon wearing just my puffy and rain pants. We spent the entire afternoon on the couches using the Internet. It was awesome. They also had a scale, and so far I’ve lost 4 pounds since I started the trail.
When we finally decided to move again, we walked over to a nearby Mexican restaurant to get dinner. I had a burrito bigger than my head and it was so good. Two other hikers, Andreas and Monty, also joined us for a bit. Monty is a retired firefighter, and he shared some pretty incredible stories from the times he spent fighting wildfires.
Hiker hunger made me do it (yes, I ate the whole thing).
After dinner we all sat around on the couches for a bit more. Gummies weighed himself and discovered he gained 4 pounds after eating the burrito, which was pretty hilarious. Now I’m lying in my real bed, so ready for sleep. Tomorrow we have to do our resupply and then get back on trail. Good night!