Big Bear to Caribou Creek – 9 miles (14km) -275 miles total.
Today was a great day, admittedly because I spent most of it off the PCT with friends, exploring the states.
J and C picked me up from the hostel at 9am, but not before I’d had a chance to shower and wash my hair again. Then we went to the Bear Cafe for breakfast.
We then drove the hour and a half to Joshua Tree National Park. It was a fun car trip reminiscing about the TA.
At Joshua Tree information centre, we asked about what to do in the park for a few hours and C and I got the booklets to become junior ranges. I had learnt about this from a blog last year, which they let adults do as well. You fill in an information booklet about the park and then give it back to the rangers. Then you take a pledge to look after the park and they give you a little badge. I was very excited about this.
My favourite fact from the centre is that Mormons named the Joshua tree because they thought the tree looked like Joshua in the bible, with hands raised leading the people westward into the promised land.
We then drove into the park. Did a 2 mile loop hike in hidden valley. Then drove a loop back out of the park. There were way more Joshua trees then I expected and a lot more cool rock formations then expected. Back at the info centre C and I got our jnr ranger badges.
The car trip back to Big Bear went all too quickly and it was soon time to say goodbye and set out on the trail again. It was just after 4pm by the time I started hiking and I wanted to get close to 10 miles done. Thankfully, those miles went quickly and by just after 7pm I rolled into the campsite I had wanted to get to. At the previous campsite 2 miles earlier I had said hello, to some fellow Australians who were also out hiking.
At about 9-9.30pm one everyone was in their tents and it was dark, I heard some commotion outside. The Australians had rocked up at this campsite after finding a bear in the one 2 miles before. They tried to scare it away, but it just didn”t care. So not wanting to fight a bear for their food all night. They packed up camp and hiked the extra 2 miles to this campsite hoping that it was far enough that the bear wouldn’t follow. I also hoped the same thing.
I woke up in the morning still alive, still with my food and not aware of any bear activity. I also got the opportunity to test out my painters mask as it was a cold night. I can’t say I was 100% warm, but the painters mask did its job. It kept my face warm but was loose enough that I could breath. I still need to work out how to be warmer on cold nights, but the mask is a small step towards success.
Today I am thankful for time spent with good friends.