Day 23 April 18th – Leaving Big Bear we got a hitch in about 30 secs from a friendly Mexican who spoke NO English even though he’d be living in the States for the past 2 years. We chatted with him in Spanish and then said “adios” and began walking through pine forests. We passed on the north side of Big Bear lake and looked across where the deep blues of the sky and lake were cut across by a jagged line of snowy peaks sprinkled with pine trees.
Since it was the weekend and we were still close by to BB there were a lot of day hikers. We’ve gotten used to hiking days on end without seeing anyone so I almost jumped out of my skin when I first saw another hiker. It’s funny because when hiking on the trail you can be very alert about some things (where to step around rocks, etc) but at the same time be quite zoned-out since you can get into aut0-pilot with a walking rhythm.
It was nice to chat with people but we soon left them behind and entered an area that had recently expereinced a forest fire. It seems almost every other day we pass a place where some evidence of a forst fire remains, but this was by far the worst we’d seen yet. From a distance the mountains looked like a balding head of hair – bare patches were visible through a light fuzz of auburn pine needles. Up close it was charcol-black tree stumps and downed trees everywhere. The only signs of life were some occational vibrant yellow flowers and pussy-willows growing amongst creeks. We camped amongst the depressing scene at Little Bear Camp. But at least the sky was blue!