Day Eighteen

Today's miles: 21
Total miles: 259

I slept well last night, despite the cooler temps of the higher altitudes. The nice thing about long, hard hiking days is that you sleep like a rock, even though you go to bed at 8:30pm. My alarm went off at 4, but I was too tired to get up and my sleeping bag was warm, so we slept in until 5:30.

Fortunately, the daily temperatures at 8,000 feet are cooler than the desert, and with the high alpine pine trees to give shade, hiking wasn't too unpleasant. We hiked mostly rolling hills between 8,000 an 9,000 feet today and after 12 miles came across a bizarre sight: a personal zoo, located right on the trail. My guidebook said, "this will likely be the only time you will see a grizzly bear on the PCT."

The animals, mostly bears and lions and tigers, looked very forlorn in their little cages, and I felt very sorry for them.

Since we had gone 12 miles and it was almost midday, we decided to take our afternoon siesta. We napped for a bit before moving on, and soon came across a water cache with two sofa chairs! Papa Bear was there reclining, and we agreed that small, simple joys like a chair in the wilderness are things we really miss.

We stopped for dinner at a nice little campsite with some new and old friends: Wocka Wocka, Giddyup, Sweet Tooth, Sansei, G-Dub, and Mehap. I was in good spirits except for some new blisters on my heel, but I dressed them and felt better before we pushed on. Our next town, Big Bear, was only 10 miles away, but we wanted to get closer so we could arrive early tomorrow. Sansei, Mehap, G-Dub, Katie and I hiked another 4 miles to an abandoned jeep road on top of a mountain for the night. We decided to cowboy camp for the evening, and it was hilarious spending the evening with the boys, who all had quirky senses of humor. We ended up telling jokes about horny Horny Toads and other such shenanigans until we fell asleep laughing under the stars.