from one “bear” to the next; days 14-17

Day 14: PCT mile 202 to mile 220, 18 miles
Day 15: PCT mile 220 to mile 235, 15 miles
Day 16: PCT mile 235 to Arrastre Trail Camp, 21 miles
Day 17: Arrastre Trail Camp to PCT mile 266 (highway 18), 10 miles

While our camp was in a beautiful spot the night before, it became terribly windy. One of our tent stakes got pulled out of the ground. We were granted a gorgeous sunrise over the desert, though! 

Day 14 continued to be gusty, and we kept thinking it would subside as we got down to the valley floor, but we were mistaken! The wind only increased its intensity! We managed the 8 miles to trail angels Ziggy & The Bear’s house, and arrived windswept around 11am. Ziggy & The Bear are a very generous couple, who have been volunteering their time and their house to help PCT hikers for 20 years! We signed-in when we arrived, and The Bear took our pictures with our hiker number, we were the 1452nd and 1453rd hikers to pass through! We escaped the wind in their comfortable fenced back yard for a few hours, and I charged my phone, rinsed out some laundry, took a shower, and picked-up our resupply package we had mailed there. It was a nice afternoon, and around 3pm we took off for the San Georgino Wilderness, and made camp 10 miles later. Along the way we ran into our first on-trail rattlesnake! We let him have the trail, and passed by from a respectable distance a few yards off the trail.

We really enjoyed the next two days through the wilderness and the San Bernidino forest. The landscape changed dramatically over two days, from shaded Mission Creek, to scrubby foothills, back to pine forest, and through a rehabilitated burn zone.

On day 16 we had two surprises. The first was when we passed two grizzly bears in cages, on private property just off the trail. The property owner keeps exotic and wild animals for use in films and TV. I was too nervous to take a picture, and walked quickly past the enclosures! The second was in the way of some sweet trail magic towards the end of the day! This cache was filled with cookies, soda, and other odds and ends that hikers may need!

Day 17 gave us 10 easy miles to highway 18, were we got a ride into town and checked into the Big Bear Hostel. We ate burgers, and relaxed for the afternoon. Tomorrow it’s back to the trail!