A few nights ago I was sleeping on top of a ridge at close to nine thousand feet. I was all alone, under a beautiful Jeffery Pine, enjoying the first cool night in a while. Then I heard it. A roar? What the hell is that? I looked around but I could tell it was coming from far below. What on earth? Then it happened again. And again. Can mountain lions make that sound? It sounds like more than one animal. What the??
I didn’t figure out what it was until last night. Sitting in the awesome Nature’s Inn in Big Bear City another hiker was talking about those sounds. He however had made the connection that what we heard came from the exotic animal retirement compound that we had just passed. Somewhere on the trail before Big Bear, you come across a small community of retired Hollywood actors and actresses. It was these lions, tigers and bears that were sending my blood pressure racing the night before.
This little tidbit reminds me of something I came up with on the trail yesterday. “Breathe deep and let the trip, trip you.” I sure did get tripped up by the forest sounds that night. I’ll keep listening and looking hoping that it happens again soon.
Of things that I crave while on the trail, quotes are the most difficult to satisfy. We have a lot of time to think out here. A LOT of time. And there is something fantastic about the out of doors that let’s one philosophize. But my own attempts aren’t always as insightful as what other’s have thought before. A teacher of mine once said that writing helps place one’s own thoughts. So, if anyone out there in cyberspace has great quotes (mostly on nature, walking, traveling, etc) I’d love it if you posted them in my guestbook. Muir is great but he’s just so quotable so if you have anything by other authors it was be appreciated greatly.
Otherwise, the hike has been fantastic. It’s an absurdly incredible trip to take off and walk, day after day. See new things, meet new people (lots of them!), get trail love (my name for trail “magic”), and push your own physical and mental limits. I have indeed by pushing hard on those limits. I’ve limped the past 70 miles. Some sort of ankle use injury is hampering my stride. The sides of my left heel bone are tender but the tendons and ligaments feel fine. Range of motion is fine. Everything is fine. But it HURTS to walk. The past two days though the situation my have improved a tad. At least now I can warm up my injury and walk without compensating. So I’ve been trying not to take breaks so that I don’t experience pain on restarting. I’m taking a zero today and possibly one tomorrow for the sole purpose of resting my feet. With a half day of rest already my ankle is feeling a little better but the limp is still there but now from an overly tight calf muscle. I’ll head back to the hotel soon for ice, hot tub, and stretching. Still, I walk. It’s so worth it.
Other notable things. The much feared Fuller Ridge was a cake walk. The decent down off of it was not. That section of trail loses about 7000 feet and it’s absurdly poorly designed. You walk mile long switch backs through three foot high, rattle snake infested grass, in absurd heat, without water, without losing ANY ELEVATION. That SUCKS. I propose that this section be redone so that you actually lose elevation. Make the trail steeper for god sake!
Camp that night near the windmills after San Gorgonio Pass was pretty crappy. It was too hot to sleep. I had seen too many snakes that day. It was too windy. The moon was too bright. I was too dehydrated and exhausted. And the idiot locals shooting guns at snakes a couple of hundred feet away didn’t help either.
Mission Creek was beautiful. Especially the upper stretches of the east fork. I love desert rivers with Cottonwood trees.
I greatly enjoyed the Pinon forests before Big Bear. I had never been in such extensive Pinon Pine forests.
The people. The people are great. I’m a little sad that the people I’ve been with the past week will move on ahead of me but trying to keep their pace was leading to injury. I’ll be rejoining the crowd that was just a little behind me.
I love this trail! I sure hope my foot feels better soon.