Day 13: Up, Up, Up

Mile reached: 253.1 (+24.1)

High: Meeting “Dino Man” and “Moon Guy”

Low: Reaching Onyx Summit and finding all the water gone after the ranger told us there would be water

Water found in the cache: 0 liters

This was another day with an early start. The trail climbs up the Mission Creek drainage to the ridge that circles Big Bear Valley. However, it is hot and exposed, but fortunately there is water much of the way. I woke up at 4:30 just as “The Giving Tree” and friends passed my camp.

I got going and quickly passed them in the dark; “High Noon” said I looked like a fireball. The trail is pretty as it braids the creek, which is choked with trees and grasses. Eventually, the sun began to pop over the ridge and it heated up quickly. By mid-morning I arrived at the final creek crossing and joined a few others under some burnt trees. Here I met “Dino Man” and “Moon Guy”, who I had heard stories about the previous day.

The creek. In the middle of the night it is absolutely alone with large bullfrogs.
The trail in the Mission Creek Canyon in the early morning.
The ridge we would have to climb up and over later in the day
“Dino Man” and Terrance. Yes, he carries an inflatable dinosaur on the trail.

We chatted for a bit and decided to go further up the canyon to a spring that is slightly off trail. We found picnic benches and shade! After a few minutes a ranger showed up with an adorable forest service dog named Rex. The ranger was really laid back, but we later discovered that he gave us bad information. For the next 17 miles there is no water, but he assured us there would be a cache that we could rely on. “Moon Guy” was banking on the cache but later found it empty.

The spring is in what almost feels like a pirate’s cave.

I found out from some people that showed up later that there was a group of 4 which was really struggling. Apparently, they had planned for only 5 days. But, they were already into their 6th and had run out of food. As it so happened, I had planned for 5 days and was only going to take 3. So, I had lots of food to offer them. After waiting an extra hour or two for part of their party to arrive, a couple from London, I asked if they needed food. Jason told me no and that they’d be fine. However, his girlfriend growled at him, “Like hell we’re fine. We’ll take food.” So, I was able to offload several pounds of food to their group.

Now free to go, I was able to do the next 14 miles to where there was supposed to be a cache of water. Instead, I found a number of empty bottles. However, I had heard there was a couch, so I continued on looking for it and eventually found it a mile later. As luck would have it, I met the owner of a hostel in Big Bear stocking a chest with soda! Thus I contentedly spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening on the sofa drinking soda and chatting with people.

An old cabin largely decommissioned by the forest service. But some people have broken in, so you can say in there if you want.
The final views down into the Coachella Valley

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