day 22 – mile 226 to 232 – 6 miles
Lazy day!!! Sun was hot, we were camped near a creek so just lazed out, read maps, napped and chatted with Gabe about food we would eat at Big Bear.
Conversations about food are normal on the trail. Questions about what our perfect meal would be, etc, entertain me while I eat shitty food like Ramen noodles and protein bars.
We headed out at 5pm and we’d meant to go to at least 236 but moon was so pretty that, on a break at 232, we got so tired that we cowboy camped there with the intention of getting up early.
Day 23 – Mile 232 to 250 – 18 miles (around 29 km)
I woke up at 5am and headed out alone since Gabe wanted to sleep in. We agreed to meet up at mile 240.
I took my time, took a break at mile 235 and met Ryan, a chef from Wisconsin who moved to Chicago. He was hilarious and we chatted and he took off.
I then moved on, knowing I had miles of uphill ahead of me, to get to Big Bear to see my friend. Some fallen trees were ahead of me and I decided to climb over them.
As I climbed over them, something pulled my backpack and I fell. My first fall on the trail. And OF COURSE, there had to be the uncommon poisonous plant, “poodle dog bush” ( Poodle Dog Description ) right where I fell. It touched my face, my hands, my arms and legs. Living and hiking in SoCal, I know what it is, unlike most people. I freaked out, got out of its way and dropped my pack. I then ran to the creek below and rinsed myself and trekking poles over and over and over, praying I wasn’t one of the few that have severe allergies to it since I was hiking alone and couldn’t afford to go into respiratory distress. Since I’m not allergic to poison oak (I’ve sat on it and touched it many times with no reaction), I prayed the same would happen now.
Keeping calm in the wilderness is important. I told myself I did everything I could do and that freaking out wouldn’t help. I hurried up the hill, knowing I’d see people around mile 239.9, where the last water resource for 16 miles was and where there were campgrounds.
I met “Taxi” on the way up. I told him what happened. He calmed me down with some jokes and hiked on ahead of me.
I met “Caveman” from Tennessee along with a group of other young hikers on a break, up the hill.
I moved on ahead, filled up with water at 238. And moved to 239.9, where it started hailing suddenly. Another hiker “Brian”, who’d done the Appalachian Trail, set up his tent alongside mine. He was awesome and we chatted for a while. I changed my clothing to get rid of any remnants of Poodle Dog Bush and waited for Gabe.
He came a bit later and we hiked to 250, where my amazing friend, Clarissa, picked us up and brought us to Subway (which I was craving). I was exhausted and so happy to see her, I almost cried. That day took a lot of out of me. But, hey, I got to Big Bear!!! Yay!!!