Day 16: Up, Up, Up We Go

April 30, 2017: Hiked Miles 229.0 to 253.1 (24.1 total)

Today was long. We spent mostly the entire day hiking uphill. The morning was spent crisscrossing Mission Spring into the mountains. It was pretty but quite muddy. I felt like I was in the jungle until I spotted another cactus. 

We stopped for lunch and to fill up with more water after a long 5000 foot climb. We were up around 8500 feet and I could not get warm. We ate and layed in the sun and met a new group of people. One of the new guys, Boo Boo, even gave Colton a bunch of his filtered water. Hikers are the nicest people ever. We can leave our packs on the trail or outside cafes and stores in hiker towns and never feel worried about people taking anything. 

At some point before lunch we entered the Lake Fire closure. The fire happened a couple years ago so there is still a lot of dead trees and rehabilitation that needs to get done. We’re allowed to hike through it, but can’t camp in it.

The closure is 15 miles long so we knew if we wanted to get through it, we were going to be hiking a 23 mile day.  Some people still camp in the closure, but we heard there’s some pretty hefty fines if you get caught. We decided we would try our best to get through. 

We had some great views today.  In the afternoon we found a nice spot to sit and look back at the mountain we had started off at the base of the day before and had hiked down the day before that. 

We traced our route from the day before which basically traversed every possible piece of land between the two points. I’m sure there’s a reason it can’t be a more direct path. I don’t know what it is, but there has to be one. 

We kept pushing up and down mountains to get out of the closure. It got really cold the last hour of hiking and I started feeling super weak from being so hungry. But we had a gorgeous sunset to keep us going.

We finally found our way out of the fire closure and decided to push on another mile to a spot that supposedly had trail magic. And of course as luck had it, by the time we got there, all that was left was empty candy wrappers and soda cans. Well I guess Colton did find some clean (hopefully) Q-tips. And there was this awesome couch. 

I could have slept on that couch. Until I thought about all the animals that have probably peed in it.  So we found a campsite instead, threw on all our warm clothes and set up camp and ate dinner as fast as possible. I realized at lunch today that I had got an extra tortilla in my pack. It was so ironic since my last pack had shorted me one. The trail always provides. So we split my extra tortilla and as I dunked it in my Top Ramen, it brought back so many childhood memories.  And it tasted amazing. Oh, the little things.

After dinner we had our nightly ritual of stretching in our tent, inspecting our blisters, and eating a spoonful or two of peanut butter. Tomorrow we have a short 13 miles into the town of Big Bear where we will resupply, spend the night, and hopefully find that greasy pizza we have both been craving. 

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