PCT 2019: Day 23, Zero Day in Big Bear Lake

I get by with a little help from my friends

I woke up this morning at 5:00. There was no need to wake up that early. I just did it out of habit.

Today was going to be a zero day, as in a day of zero hiking miles.

That term is a bit of a misnomer, though. A zero day usually involves a lot walking and many activities because shopping and other chores need to be done.

DateMonday, April 15, 2019
WeatherLightly overcast sky with a high temperature in the low 50s
Today's Miles0.0
Trip Miles266.1

At least after waking up early today I was able to snooze for a couple more hours. Tengo Hambre and I took our time before leaving the motel because we knew we wouldn’t be able to check into the hostel right away.

What the motel owner called a free breakfast wasn’t much more than packaged Danish rolls and coffee, but we ate here anyway. Going out for a real breakfast would require more effort than we were willing to take on today.

As we checked out, the owner kindly offered to drive us to the hostel. We declined because it was only a few blocks away.

“We’re used to walking,” I told him.

When we arrived at the hostel, some of our tramily friends were preparing to leave. They were planning to walk to a Himalayan restaurant, but agreed to wait for Tengo and me to check in.

The town of Big Bear Lake is mostly a tourist town, with several shops and restaurants located near the hostel. As we walked to the restaurant we got caught up since we had last seen each other yesterday.

Falls, Gilligan and Captain told us they made the same mistake yesterday that Tengo and I made. They missed where the dirt road split from the trail where there were no trail markers.

Falls said he kept walking on the alternate fork, and as I thought it might, it eventually met up with the trail again.

Jukebox joined us at the restaurant, which was called, simply enough, Himalayan Restaurant. There was lots of food sharing and it was all good.

Spamalot said her mother had sent her a care package from Vermont. It included way more maple syrup than could be carried on the trail, so she wanted to share it.

This sparked a plan to cook a group dinner tonight and we tried to think of creative ways to use the syrup.

After lunch, we returned to the hostel. Tengo and I shared a small room, which was barely big enough for the bunk bed and desk that were crammed into it.

The hostel was well organized and laid out between two buildings. Each one had common areas for laundry, cooking and congregating.

I took an inventory of the food I had and needed for the next section of the trail. Then we called a Lyft driver to take us to a grocery store, which was too far away to walk.

Our driver was named Shane, who seemed to have a monopoly on Lyft rides in the vicinity of Big Bear Lake. Tramily members kept him busy for much of the afternoon.

Once the shopping was done and we returned to the hostel, my next task was laundry. There was only one washer and one dryer in the hostel. A hiker named Fake News agreed to share his load with me, so I didn’t have to wait long.

After laundry was done and my food had been sorted, I walked next door to the other hostel building, where the other tramily members were staying. It had its own common area and kitchen, so we used that space for our maple syrup dinner.

We prepared eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes. Spamalot was having trouble cooking the pancakes, so I took over that task. She had made the batter too thick, so once I thinned it the cooking went easily.

Jukebox wanted to prepare her own specialty, a dish I was unfamiliar with. She said it was Spam musubi, which is popular in Hawaii.

It’s made of a bed of rice, stacked with a cooked slab of Spam, then is wrapped in a sheet of seaweed and drizzled with soy sauce. Of course, we had a variation on this, which used maple syrup.

The evening was filled with laughter as we shared our last meal with Tengo. His time on the trail was done and he will not be joining us when we return to it tomorrow.

As we were finishing our meal, a hiker named Glow Worm hobbled into the room. He dropped into a chair near our table, obviously in a lot of pain. He complained about having trouble with his feet and ankles.

“Do you want some musubi?” Jukebox asked.

“Do you want some eggs and sausage?” someone else asked.

“Do you want an orthopedic surgeon?” I asked.

Just trying to help.

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna try with a little help from my friends

From "With A Little Help From My Friends” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (The Beatles)


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.