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Day 19 – April 22, 2022

Unplanned zero in Big Bear, CA

0.0 trail miles | 0.0 tracked miles

The weather forecast was accurate. A significant snow storm moved in overnight, and we woke up to a completely different landscape.

After weighing our options and reading tales from other hikers on FarOut (our hiking app), we decided that it would be prudent to wait out the storm and stay in Big Bear an extra night.

We woke up to a winter wonderland

This unforeseen delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Big Bear is much more spread out than it appears at a first glance. While our hotel is located at the heart of the touristy part of town, a stone’s throw away from restaurants and convenience stores, the grocery stores are further afield, and transit options are lacking. Big Bear does have a bus system—and a free one, to boot—but it’s essentially a glorified shuttle service between the ski resorts and hotels. Besides, I couldn’t find an up-to-date schedule or route map.

We figured we would just wait at the bus stop and try our luck. A kitschy “trolley” soon showed up. Joe, Michael and I were the only passengers. Because, no one in their right mind visits Big Bear without a car.

Private ride to the grocery store

Considering that we had ample time on our hands, the scenic ride through the mountain village and ski resort was a treat. Had we been on a schedule, my blood would have been boiling.

In any case, we eventually made it to Big Bear’s picturesque strip mall.

We resupplied at Safeway/Vons, then stopped by Starbucks to kill time while waiting for the next bus back to our hotel.

We then walked to the post office and I shipped my new pair of shoes to Acton, CA, in the vicinity of Los Angeles. Finally, we stopped by an adjacent sports retail store and I picked up a few backpacking meals.

Ultimately, errands took the better part of the day. In hindsight, our plan to hit the trail in the morning was somewhat naïve.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing at the hotel’s pool and hot tub. I was also able to hire a local trail angel to drive us back to the trailhead tomorrow morning.

For dinner, we loaded up on carbs at a local gastro-pub. Joe ordered a large plate of tacos as an “appetizer”, which he devoured in less time than it takes to write this sentence.

Food always makes us smile!

Jens and a couple other hikers who were a day behind us joined us for post-dinner libations and we gazed in amazement at their photos. Unsuspecting, they went to sleep last night only to awaken to find their tents buried in snow this morning.

I’ve been extremely fortunate so far. I literally dodged both a heat wave and a snow storm in a two-week timeframe. There are definitely a few lessons that I can take away. From now on, I will check the weather forecast every evening (I can receive weather data through my satellite messenger if I don’t have cell phone service), and it would be prudent to store my shoes in a plastic bag overnight.

We’ll head back to the trail tomorrow morning!

The Big Picture

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