Pacific Crest Trail Journals

Big Bear to Highway 173

May 19 – May 20, 2010

While in Big Bear I had arranged with my parents to meet them where the PCT first crosses Highway 173, just shortly after it leaves Deep Creek. The plan was for them to fly into Ontario airport, rent a car, drive to the agreed-upon pickup location and then, ideally, find me at the trail and whisk me off to San Diego for a weekend of wining, dining and degree-receiving. I left Big Bear with two days and 47 miles until my pickup. Driven by the desire to be on time (and prove to my parents that I can seriously hike) I was able to knock off 27 miles the first day, leaving a mere 20 to cover before my early afternoon pick up the next day. The only potential monkeywrench in this plan was Deep Creek Hot Springs (a notorious temptation for trail-weary hikers) just several miles before where I was supposed to meet my parents. Fortunately I was able to both stop at the hot springs and meet them on time, an outcome due in part to me making really good time on the trail and in part to the presence of nudists (not the good kind) at the hot springs, a factor which may have shortened my stay there.

At 2:30, just 30 minutes after my initial prediction, I arrived at Highway 173 and was greeted by my parents who appeared genuinely glad to see me, despite my assured hiker stench and general lack of cleanliness. After a quick stop at the closest Subway for a footlong, we covered the distance from my exit point to San Diego in a matter of hours (remember, this same distance took me 2.5 weeks to hike) and began to meet up with the other family members that had flown into town. The rest of the weekend consisted of visiting with family and friends from USD, celebrating my sister’s birthday, consuming as many calories as I could lay my hands on, refusing to shave my trail-beard, and setting up an online photo album for my PCT photos. Although I had originally convinced myself that I was only attending the ceremony in order to please my parents, it ended up being an experience that I wouldn’t trade for any amount of time on the trail. Thanks to all of my family who came to San Diego to be there with me for it.

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