Today I was going to Big Bear Lake, an 18000 person city mostly known for its skiing activities during winter time. This time I was probably one of the first to leave camp, where in the end approximately fifteen people camped at that particular camp site in the middle nowhere, which was more than I ever previously had seen on my trip. The temperatures were pleasant and as with most of the other days, there was not a cloud to be seen. Before I knew of it, I had knocked off the first ten miles leaving me to a popular hitchhiking location leading into Big Bear Lake/City, and shortly before that there was trail magic again in the form of free sodas. I had a cream soda. Yum. I had however planned to hike a bit further and walk into town. Sometimes you notice new plants/trees starting to pop up in the landscape. Today I saw the first of the somewhat peculiar Joshua trees. Junipers also started popping up. Made me suddenly realize that Gin tastes like conifers smell is because junipers are conifers. D’oh. There was a short detour due to a fire closure, which apparently brought us hikers to a popular unpaved road for 4WD enthusiasts. Amongst others, I saw a group of three 4WD cars. The first had a couple, the next a woman, and the last was an man in an open car sitting next to a person sized doll of Goofy, the Disney character.
After approximately 23 miles I headed off the PCT towards Big Bear Lake. Turned out that was a 7.4 mile stretch and not 4.4 as expected, which would have to be walked twice. That made my choice a stupid one compared to hitching. However, at some point a car pulled over with a couple, and one of them asked if I wanted a ride. I didn’t immediately recognize them but they said they were also PCT hikers. The guy had a long beard, which made it seem legit, and I got in. They had borrowed the car from a relative who lived nearby. They were from Arkansas. I therefore thought I had the opportunity to get an answer to one of the big questions in my life: why is Arkansas pronounced like ARK-EN-SAW an not more like ARR-KAN-SAS. I didn’t get an answer to that, but at least I got a ride for the last 1.5 miles. I thanked them a lot. The hostel was run by a former marine with a sanguine personality. He said that the online price I that was on my reservation was too high and something meant to scare off non-hikers. He was to tired to work out what it would be but said that he’d look into it later. Weird business strategy of lowering prices upon arrival and just figuring things out things along the way. Anyway, a guy and his dad, which I also had bumped into a week earlier, had cooked communal dinner and didn’t accept donations for it. Which was nice, as I had little energy to prepare anything myself. There was also a PCT hiker, who had stayed at the hostel for a week waiting for his foot to get better. I next had a pint of pineapple/coconut ice cream, a beer, and a good nights sleep. As a side note, today marked the day where I had hiked a tenth of the trail.