Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 16-17, Up a Creek

I spent Friday night at Ziggy and the Bear's house.  With another longtime hiker named Ron, they run an awesome haven for hikers.  Ziggy and the Bear bought the house specifically to host hikers.  It's only a couple hundred yards off the trail.  Signs from the trail lead you around to the backyard gate.  The backyard has a large tent with 8-10 chairs, a table, several coolers, a computer and most importantly, shelter from the wind and sun.

Ron offers each hiker a foot bath when they arrive.  Ziggy was at the store when I arrived and offered to pick up orders from Burger King on her way home for the 5 hikers that were there.  So I got there just in time to order a Whopper and fries.  They also made a big salad, had fresh fruit and ice cream and cake later.  Ron provided the entertainment by telling a bunch of stories about hiking and a hostel he used to run on the Applachian Trail.  There were 9 of us that stayed the night and several more who passed through.  We moved the chairs out of the big tent and most slept in there.

After Ziggy brought us coffee, OJ, fruit and cereal for breakfast I headed back out to the trail.  It wound back up into the hills on the other side of the valley, past a bunch of wind powered generators.  It crossed Whitewater Creek, which was about 10-12 feet across.  Most people looked for logs or rocks to cross on, but I found it much more enjoyable to take off my shoes and soak my feet a bit while crossing.  Then it was a few hours of steady but not steep climbing with little shade.  Around 2:00 or so I reached Mission Creek and had lunch with several other hikers.  The trail follows the creek up into the mountains.  I called it quits at the 20 mile mark for the day along with a few others.

On Sunday the climb continued and got steeper.  The last several miles of following the creek were pretty rough.  After 8 miles of climbing the trail leveled out a bit, there were pleanty of pine and redwood trees and the weather was perfect; which was nice because the next good camping/water spot was another 17 miles.  They flew by fairly quick though and I reached Arrastre Trail Camp well before sunset.  On the way I was coming down a hill toward a dirt road and heard a loud roar/bellow, clearly a bear and right in the direction I was headed.   

A little ways down the hill I noticed some buildings and chain-link fences.  As I walked past the fence I spotted the bear.  It was in a cage in a high-security looking area.  I learned later that there may have also been a lion and a tiger, though I didn't see them.  The guy who owns them trains them for movies.

I camped about 10 miles from a highway that goes into Big Bear City.  Planning on some downtime and resupply there.  You know you are close to a town when the water cache has a couch.
Considering that I wear long pants all the time, I don't understand how my legs get so dirty everyday. I think it is worth noting that my foot is actually shockingly clean in this picture compared to some days.

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