Day 22: Big Views of Big Bear

Total miles: 21.7 miles 

Start: Caribou Creek (mile 275.0)

End: mile 296.6

Total elevation gain/loss: 1703.7/3888.8ft

We let ourselves sleep in a bit this morning due to the cold and just generally being tired from our wedding trip. We woke up to find our tent covered in condensation — our first time since Lake Morena. I guess that’s what we get for sleeping near a water source. Leaving our campsite just before 7am, I couldn’t help but notice that we missed that magical hour as the sun is coming up. Oh well, tomorrow.


In our first few miles this morning we encountered breathtaking views of Big Bear with the lake in the foreground and the snow covered mountains hovering behind. 


 After leaving the lake behind we traveled in and out of a burn zone. It wasn’t clear when the fire had occurred, but it made for some dramatic views.

Burn zone with a view.


Our first water source of the day wasn’t for 10 miles, but the morning was cool and so when we finally got there we both still had plenty of water and pushed on. We stopped a couple miles later for lunch, water, and a bit of a yard sale to dry our wet gear. Despite the cool temps, our sleeping bags became warm and fluffy in no time.


Throughout the day there were a lot of downed trees on the trail, but it really increased in intensity in the afternoon. I suspect that the downed trees are a low priority for the trail maintenance crews, who have probably faced significant trail reconstruction challenges after the fire. They certainly slow my short legs down though!


We spent much of the afternoon near Holcomb Creek. The creek was much larger than I had expected and I even ended up with a wet foot during a failed rock hop!

Michael kept his feet dry


I felt fairly strong this afternoon. Four days off definitely helped to relieve some of my aches and pains, although others have emerged in their place. Despite our late start, the cool weather made for a pleasant hiking and it was fun to see what kind of mileage we could make without a siesta.

The weather forecast today called for potential rain and thunderstorms — a prediction that I had difficulty believing based on the cloudless morning. However, later in the afternoon the storm clouds began to develop. Just before 4pm we got a few drops of rain. Not bad, but enough to get us to donn our rain covers while we continued on.


We put in a few more miles before stopped to camp well off trail in a large flat area. The site wasn’t listed in Guthooks (which seems to primarily have large established backcountry sites around here), so it looks like we’ll have it all to ourselves. We set up camp quickly because it was threatening to rain, but we seem to be in a cloud hole. We ate our dinner in peace, watching the sun set and enjoying a warmer evening than yesterday’s. Fingers crossed that rain and wind don’t decide to disturb us too much tonight!


Current ailments:

Elizabeth: None! Still going strong despite a few aches and pains.

Michael: None.

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