My ankle has returned to normal size and I am finally getting back into the swing of things.
Anne and I hiked out from Big Bear after a brief hunt to find the buried treasure (wine) left for me by friends who were ahead on the trail. We enjoyed some beautiful views after our fire closure detour around the ravaged forest. It was so nice walking amongst trees. We enjoyed the shade and reprieve from the desert while it lasted. A couple days in we arrived at Splinter’s Cabin, my favorite campsite to date. We camped alongside the river, it was beautiful, tranquil and I never wanted to leave.
Anne had a bone pop out of her foot prior to Idyllwild, and after a couple weeks rest and having a doctor tape it back into place she continued along on the tail with me. The morning we left Splinter’s she had determined the pain was too much and decided, sadly to leave the trail. I hiked on without her, passing the 300 mile mark and managing a 15 mile day (my longest since my injury) with a few hours break at Deep Creek Hot Springs. The springs were beautiful! Six spring fed hot tubs cascading down into one another before emptying into the river, each one slightly cooler than the last. The combination of the heat and a swim in the cold river did wonders for my aching body. Unfortunately I have no pictures to share due to the fact that the area is clothing optional and I did not want to be perceived as a pervert, take my word for it however that the entire area was absolutely breathtaking.
That evening, when setting up camp I received a text from Anne stating that she regretted her decision to leave and would like to give it one more try. I was ecstatic and woke up the following morning to hike fifteen more miles to be reunited with my incredible hiking partner. I caught her at Silverwood Lake Picnic area where we enjoyed beautiful views of the water as well as pizza and beer delivered from a local pizzeria. We cowboy camped, and were awoken at 2AM by rain. We had a good laugh at ourselves for not setting up our tents as we suspected it might happen but managed to set up our rain cover without leaving the comfort of our sleeping bags. In the morning Anne’s foot was not any better and she determined it would not be wise to continue.
Not ready to say goodbye we skipped 13 miles of trail and took an Uber to Cajon Pass to enjoy some McDonald’s together. After 3,400 calories of McMuffins, McChickens, McDoubles and fries I was feeling great! Anne however was still not 100 percent. We moved onward to The Budpharm, an oasis run by a trail angel named Dave. He offers hikers a place to stay, rides to and from town, meals, laundry and showers for donation. We spent the day enjoying the company of his dogs, donkeys, chickens and cats as well as the company of fellow thru hikers.
Anne will once again be leaving the trail and enjoy the remainder of her time here in the US in a less intense manner before departing home to Germany. The silver lining to Anne’s departure was that Sierra and Danielle could not let her leave without saying goodbye. Those crazy girls decided to hitch hike from Big Bear, nearly one hundred miles to join us at The Budpharm to say thier goodbyes and ensure I did not have to continue on alone. I am incredibly sad at the loss of a member of my trail family but I am so glad she is determined to take care of her body and make the best of the situation.
I am also incredibly grateful to be reunited with the comedy duo pictured above who I feared I might not see again. After our rest we will continue on, 360 miles of trail covered, leaving just a little over 300 remaining before I leave the desert behind and enter the Sierra’s. I cannot wait.