Day 11: Ziggy & the Bear to CS235 (24.7 miles)
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
May 18, 2016 - I woke up this morning and had eliminated the drive around opinion, if there was a way to keep my hike continues footsteps I was going to do it even if it meant a lot of road miles. I was still thinking about just hiking through the closure but was leaning towards the road walk, didn’t want go get fined and waste basically a day of hiking if I couldn’t get through. Almost everyone that stayed at Ziggy & the Bear last night were taking the hitch over to Big Bear.
I left Ziggy & the Bear around 7am which was way too late since I had about 4 miles of desert walking. I pulled out my umbrella and just kept my head down hiking as not much to see but windmills. After awhile I pass a guy and asked what he was doing, he tells me he is just going to keep hiking on the PCT until he is forced off meaning he is going to hike through the closure. Then soon after I pass a couple and they are doing the road walk. At that point I was still unsure but knowing another guy is going to try to hike through made that option seem better. So out of the 20 hikers at the hostel last night only 4 decided against the drive around.
The hike for those first 4 miles was not fun at all but as soon as I got over a saddle the trail became much more enjoyable. I’m in the canyon for awhile before it took me to the top of the ridge that looked down to Whitewater Creek. I decent down to the creek which is the largest water source I’ve seen to this point. Once at the creek I had a mile decide between the detour or the closed trail. I filled up on water and found a nice shady spot to relax and decide things over. Then soon as I’m about to leave the guy who is hiking through stopped to rest. He seemed pretty confident that one could get through the closed section, showed me pictures to verify. That did it for me, I was going to risk the closure.
The hike the next few miles was amazing. I got a 360 view while walking on the ridge line before heading down to Mission Creek where I stopped for lunch. This creek wasn’t as wide or as nice as Whitewater but it had water and that’s been a rare thing to this point. Soon my buddy showed up so we ate lunch together. The guy is from Germany so very interesting to talk with. He is not the fastest hiker but still plans to camp at the same spot as me tonight which is 9 miles down trail.
I finally get back to hiking around 4pm, that was a long break but it went by fast. The weather was nice so didn’t have to worry about the heat so I figure I would have no problems to camp. I was wrong, that was probably the hardest 9 miles for me so far. I literally followed the creek up the mountain. The footing was terrible and the trail grade was all over the place, lots of steep up and downs which killed my blisters on my feet.
Soon as I got close to my last rest spot of the day I come across a family of skunks, 5 in all. I jumped back and stayed as far away so as not to get sprayed. They all lifted their tails when they saw me but moved away soon after. I thought I was in the clear but the skunks were not going far, I guess that wanted to use the trail as well. I tried to scare them off and soon they ran into the thick grass. I wanted a minute or 2 before passing by just in case they sprayed something while running off. I got going again only to be hiking in what seemed to be a swamp, things just seemed to be getting worse, hiking in wet feet was just awful. I was getting tired so decided to take a quick rest stop but was running out of daylight, I was moving a lot slower than normal. One big reason was I was trying to avoid the poodle dog bush which is like poison ivy but worse, at least I thought it was poodle dog bush. Some spots it was like going through a minefield. I did my best to avoid it. Like I said I wasn't sure it it was poodle dog bush but I didn't want to take any chances.
I rolled into camp just as it was getting dark, probable saw the last of my German friend. Setting up camp in the dark is never any fun but I was just glad to be done with Mission Creek.
One more sucky thing is I’ve misplaced my nice warm wool sleeping socks. Hope my feet don’t get too cold until I can get a new pair in Big Bear on Friday.
Tomorrow will be the big test as I’ll try go through the closure. If I choose poorly and it’s actually closed and no way to get through I would not only have to go back down Mission Creek but then 30 miles of road walking.