PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

Stretch 3: A hiking tour of fast food chains

In Neil's PCT adventure by runhikelaugh

Days 16-20 of Yeti’s Pacific Crest Trail PCT blog 2017


103 miles from Big Bear Lake to Wrightwood.

22nd May 2017 – 7 miles from Mile 266 to 273

My day started with breakfast at Denny’s – a famous American Diner chain – for their biscuits and gravy special. Other hikers had raved about it, but I was skeptical… It turned out to be savory damper with sausage gravy, hash browns and eggs. It actually tasted pretty good! A nice change from my usual staple of oats.

I’d spent last night in Big Bear Lake with eleven other hikers – a dozen-or-so of us have loosely fallen into a group, catching up every couple of days and hiking together some days. My trail name seems to have become “Yeti”, it’s apparently what I look like coming down the long hills and it seems to have stuck.

The others left early in the morning. Most had had a full “zero” – a no hiking day – yesterday. But I’d hiked for half the day yesterday and had a few things to do in town. I got my laundry and food resupply done in the morning. I was aiming to hike for a couple of hours later in the day, to avoid the relentless midday heat of the desert.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

View back across Big Bear Lake

I struggled to get a hitch from town to the trail, as I was in a difficult spot. Eventually a guy pulled into a servo a bit further down and honked. He turned out to be a Scottish guy who had moved to the US in ’77. When he was younger, he’d spent a year hitching around Europe and another year around South America.

After getting dropped off, I managed to hike 7 miles in a couple of hours to get to a nice campsite. My body felt good after nearly a full day of rest.

23rd May 2017 – 21 miles from Mile 273 to 294

I treated myself to a sleep in, as I didn’t have my full zero day yesterday. I managed to get up and going by 8am, just as two other hikers I knew went past.

I ran into Goaltech who was hiking the opposite direction with a mesh bag of treats to give out – chips, coffee sachets and hard lollies! I also ran into a couple of park rangers who were keen for a chat about Australia.

I caught up with a few guys, and we had lunch and a rest by a creek. We managed another 8 miles after lunch, including along a creek with multiple crossings. We camped at a nice spot by the creek with quite a few others.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hikenear Big Bear Lake

Nice timber bridge

24th May 2017 – 24 miles from Mile 294 to mile 318

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hikenear Big Bear Lake

300 miles done

Up early and away by 5.30am. Today’s hiking took me along a creek flowing through a canyon for many miles.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake

Following the creek along the valley.


PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake

Another nice timber bridge

After punching out some big miles, I had a 4 hour break by the creek including a swim, a siesta and a couple of games of dice.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake

More trail magic. I ran into Copper Tone again for a another root beer float!

I let the desert heat pass before hiking another quick 8 miles in the evening. I cowboy camped under the stars by a creek with about 10 other people.

25th May 2017 – 30 miles from Mile 318 to mile 348

Big day planned – aiming to do 24 miles to get to McDonald’s!

I made good time in the cool of the morning, walking along a lake until stopping for a break at 11.30am, having covered 19 miles already.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake

Nice lake view

I kept pushing on, across wind ravaged ridges. I swear the wind was carrying the scent of the Maccas fries!

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake

Following the rock lines path


PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

Super windy ridge. Photo by Benjamin “The Frenchie” Dourdet.

I arrived at the highway at about 3pm, and saw the Golden Arches. Ate a huge amount of food – burgers, fries, soda, nuggets, thickshake and aMcFlurry to finish.

Ran into Frenchie and found out the others were not too far ahead.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood

Cajon Pass railway line


PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood

Crossing the railway line. Photo by Benjamin “The Frenchie” Dourdet.

In the late afternoon sun, I hiked along a few more ridges against fierce wind.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Big Bear Lake adn Wrightwood

Grassy fields. Photo by Benjamin “The Frenchie” Dourdet.


PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

Grassy fields. Photo by Benjamin “The Frenchie” Dourdet.

I eventually came across a big group camped out. It was pretty crowded and windy, so I headed a little further on to find a nice spot. 30 miles done!

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

Cowboy camping

26th May 2017 – 21 miles from Mile 348 to 369

Walked past lots of mini snow lifts and fields covered in grass.

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood

Up in the mountains

Made it to the highway and hitched into the town of Wrightwood – just in time for a big lunch!

PCT blog 2017 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike near Wrightwood and Big Bear Lake

Food time. Photo by Benjamin “The Frenchie” Dourdet.

I organised my resupplies and made my way to a trail angel’s house where about a dozen hikers were staying. The owners had a 4 year old daughter who decided I was the guy to play with. While everyone else had beers, I ran around the yard helping her look for dinosaur bones!

Maps

Where the bloody hell is he?
Pacific Crest Trail thru hike map

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