PCT Day 24
Miles: 239.9 - 266.1
Photo: San Gorgonio Wilderness
Today was such a treat compared to the last three days. Very cruisy terrain with no huge climbs. Surrounded by huge trees while being in a much cooler climate. The miles came easy. Just like last week in San Jacinto, San Gorgonio was a welcomed change of scenery.
While the hiking was amazing, I was having a logistical problem that needed to be solved. There are two viable exits off the PCT to get into Big Bear. One is at mile 266.1 where all you need to do to get to and from town is find a hitch. Another is at mile 277.7 with a 2.5 mile side trail where you walk directly into town. If I did the 266.1 exit it would mean a 26 mile day but I could get to Big Bear today and take a zero tomorrow. If I did 277.7 it would mean two near 20 mile days in a row but fewer miles once I left Big Bear. It wasn’t until I was down to the wire that I convinced myself that I would only be saving 6.6 miles on my next trek out, due to that 2.5 mile side trail to get in and out of town. I said “screw it, I want to get to Big Bear today”, so I went on to hike my biggest day yet. A real bed to sleep in was just too good to pass up.
I eventually hit Big Bear, but since I got a late start, took too many long breaks, and went back and forth trying to figure out if I wanted to go into town today, I didn’t finish hiking until 10:00 PM. That meant getting a hitch was nearly impossible, I couldn’t get town food to celebrate getting to Big Bear, and not staying at the hostel where all the hikers were. I consider all of that as a mild “punishment” for hesitating on my plans too much. I did come away with some learning points though.
Getting into town at the first suitable exit point is usually the right one to take.
Getting into towns and simple terrain motivates me to hike more miles.
Time is valuable when approaching a town. That means no super long breaks, and no late starts.
I’ll try applying all of these when getting into the next town.