Mile 256 to 265 (Big Bear) a Day Zero, to Mile 285
Even though we got up early, we were still the last ones out of camp, and the realization we still had almost 10 miles to get to Big Bear set in quickly. The last few miles dragged, especially because of some unanticipated climbs. When we were about .25 mi from the trailhead, we saw a big truck with hikers milling around, and veritably sprinted to the road in hopes of a ride to town. Sadly, it was a group of hikers being dropped at the trail from a car headed on in the wrong direction, but still, I think it's the fastest I've moved in a few weeks. So, for the first time in my life, I stood on the side of the road and stuck my thumb up in hopes of a ride to town. Such a weird feeling! I felt so drifting/wandering/homeless. A number of cars passed right by and it actually really did hurt my feelings - like for some reason they assumed I was up to no good. But then I had to remind myself that if I was driving, I probably wouldn't have picked me up either! Finally, got a ride from a sweet lady who dropped us off at Vons in Interlocken, close to where we needed to be. There was a shuttle just in front that was on its way out, but we chased it down and he waited for us and dropped us off right at the hostel, which is run by an ex-marine named Sarge.
All I wanted was a salad, and first order of business was to head next door where I got the most amazing wedge salad of my life...followed by a burger and fries and beer. Heaven. The Giants game was on TV too! Sat around for a few hours and made friends with a few others who offered to let us stay at their home nearby - too bad we'd already paid for the hostel! Went back to the hostel and spent the evening with other hikers which was so fun - we all went to dinner at the pizza place and then we met Ingrid and Tracy for a beer at the pub where they had dinner. After dinner, spent a few hours outside with Gummy Bear, No Mile and a few others - Brett's trail name was upgraded to Dr. Slosh - quite appropriate!
The rest of Big Bear was fairly uneventful. Spent the entire day zero with doing chores, and arranged for an early ride to the trailhead the following morning. Leaving wasn't as difficult as it was to leave Idyllwild, thank goodness! (Maybe I'm getting more accustomed to trail life?) Not that I was excited about going back to the trail, but I didn't dread it! Again - small improvements!
Somehow managed to sneak in 20 miles on Monday and had a nice long lunch with Ben (a long-lost friend from high school - how awesome is that?!), his girlfriend Thyra, and their friend Angela. They are really fun and we wound up at the same campsite with them as well. Cowboy camped for the first time, and I enjoyed watching the stars from my sleeping bag. Even caught a handful of shooting stars. Moments like that are what I love most so far.