Well first of all today’s date is another palindrome, so that’s cool. Right now I’m taking a day off from hiking, a ‘zero’ in Big Bear Lake, CA adjacent to Big Bear City. It’s a pretty good sized ski town in southern California at about 6700 feet(higher elevation than anything in New England). I’m sure it’s much busier during the ski season but there is still a lot going on and it is the biggest town I’ve been in since San Diego.
Getting here was of course a bit of an adventure. I left Ziggy and the Bear’s around 9 am Friday morning after it absolutely poured the night before and the winds were borderline obnoxious. Luckily I slept under some benches and had pretty good cover and didn’t get all that wet. There were all kinds of rumors Friday of more storms but instead of sticking around there another night I decided to press on. I put in some big miles that day and it was incredible, hiked through the canyons in the San Gorgonio Wilderness and through the Whitewater Preserve. All day I had some big ominous clouds in the distance but I outran them. The clouds provided an awesome backdrop to the landscape and it was an intense and rewarding day of hiking. There’s been all kinds of rumors of what’s to come and I guess I can’t believe everything I hear, I’m glad I went out when I did. The next couple of days were also scenic but sunnier and with cooler temperatures than I’ve been used to due to the elevation. I walked through some snow and as I later learned, the hikers in front of me had some cold snowy nights, and the hikers behind me got poured on. Hopefully my luck never runs out. I have had some cooler nights lately and have been setting my tent up just to stay a little warmer. It also gives the rattlesnakes less of a chance to slither into my sleeping bag to cuddle. One notable thing from the other day were these animal cages I passed in the middle of nowhere that had these big old Grizzly Bears in them, I guess they use them in the movies or something. It really wasn’t all that cool.
I’ve been hiking and camping with a lot of different, interesting, cool people and been trying to learn as much as I can from them. I’m hoping to hike with an arborist for awhile so I can start identifying all the trees and stuff. Or maybe somebody who will only talk to me in Spanish or something. My body has been holding up pretty well. I’ve been resting when I’m tired and I just kill it when I’m feeling like a machine. I’ve been eating a ton and last night I even ate myself into a free meal. A bunch of us went out to this Mexican Restaurant and myself and another dude went for the burrito challenge. It was an 18 inch tortilla stuffed with all kinds of good burrito accoutrement, weighing in at 7 lbs. it cost $16 dollars but if you clean the plate it’s on the house. Brett aka the ‘Burrito Whisperer’ devoured his in less than 10 minutes. I finished mine in a more pedestrian time of 15-20 minutes but I was pretty proud of myself. I felt like it really wasn’t a big deal, even got ice cream sandwiches afterwards. The waitress however said she’s been working there for a year and only saw one other person do it. She probably tells everybody that though. Apparently she didn’t know I’d been training for that moment at Tacos Lupita for years. Stayed last night and planning to stay again tonight at the Big Bear Hostel and it was a little tough sleeping on a mattress for the first time in weeks but I’ll just have to make the proper adjustments. Hiking out in the AM…..