Shit happens. We ate a fancy meal and returned to the hostel. In the morning, Puff Puff’s phone was fried. So began a day of looking for solutions. We acknowledge we are tech dependent, in real life and trail life, our mini computers hold contacts, maps, books, photos of info we need (lock codes for entering the hostel, business cards, trail angel lists). Fortunately this happened in a town, we have some leeway in our schedule and I have a credit card. To lighten her mood, I reminded Puff it could be worse, she didn’t have Trump as her president.
Apple support told her to find a computer. UPS Store opened at 8:30. We ate breakfast. The computer solution didn’t work. Apple support then told her to find an Apple Store. That was “down the hill” as they say in Big Bear. Oddly there is a car rental place in a Holiday Inn here in Big Bear. We walked there. A car was being turned in that morning as I inquired about renting at the desk. I took it and we drove off to a giant mall in Rancho Cucamonga, a name Puff Puff couldn’t say without giggling. The customer line-up for help was hours long but the guy who checked her in listened to the English accent, asked if she was traveling, and bumped her 3 1/2 hours ahead! And they fixed her phone. We celebrated by eating lunch at a fish place. The sushi rolls were divine. Then we went to REI where I bought new rain gear to replace the worn out stuff that failed me heading out of Hiker Town. We drove back up the hill, got a room at the Holiday Inn, ate an amazing fried avocado dish at the brewery in Big Bear village and called it a day.
We took a cab to the trail the next morning and headed south. Day 1 was cold as we climbed. Day 2 we camped by Mission Creek and it was really warm, plus 2 coyotes went streaking by at night. Day 3 was hot! After we gathered water from the Whitewater Creek I looked down the trail and saw The Ravens!
We have kept in touch and I knew they wanted to find me on the trail. Hugs and smiles, what a great surprise. Friends from the trail reunited on the trail for the second time this year. Oh the people I get to spend time with out here makes me happy. This family of PCT thru-hikers are so unique yet do grounded.
We said goodbye and continued on to our destination for the evening, tentsites next to the Snow Creek water tap. Stellar. We had to walk by a subdivision, under the freaking I-10, through 3 miles of ankle deep sand, by another subdivision, and up a paved road. Last year I wrote about this area, “Squiggle Engineering” and I hated everything about it. This year, although I wore earplugs to sleep, the view across the I-10 was rather glorious: wind farms lit up with their flashing red lights, the freeway a stream of lights, the barren hills all around folded on themselves like pancake batter before it settles in the bowl and the big moon, full to my eyes, rising over all so bright I cast a shadow.
I went to sleep knowing the next day was going to be my worst birthday ever. A 20 mile climb just to get to the next water source: 6500′ gain, scrub brush, shadeless, squiggly switchbacks.