"Don't think of all those things you fear... Just be glad to be here." My mantra for the trail, or so I thought it would be before I took my first steps on the Trail. When David and I would go trail running in Poway, I would put on the Pretty Lights Pandora station and more often than not, while climbing a big hill, that song would come on. It is melodic & trancy and repeats that mantra over and over. It would motivate me and before I knew it I was at the top of the hill. That song was to be my motivator when my nerves got the best of me, but that hasn't happened yet... I haven't been afraid. We are so at home out here.
After spending two nights cozied up at an Inn in Big Bear, we were getting ready to leave when the Inn Keeper urged us to stay another night as the weather rolling in was said to bring 50mph winds, snow, and temperatures in the low teens that night. He said that he had lived in the area a long time and the last hikers that he warned not to go up got caught in a big storm. We appreciated the advice but we knew that we were going to find a few close by campsites and after taking almost 48hrs off we wanted to get a head start on the next day's hiking and get back on the trail.
We were resupplied by my dad who drove up to meet us for the day. When we said our goodbyes to our trail angel for the day, he was loading up four PCT hikers into his SUV to take them into Big Bear. Back on the trail mid afternoon, the weather was a bit windy but nothing that was going to hold us back. The camp 2.3mi away ended up being on a windy bluff so we pressed on up the mountain. The climb was steady and not too steep, and with full bellies and two day's rest under our belt we were up to trekking in search of a better campsite. We made it to an established backcountry campsite about 7mi in... Found a flat spot protected from the winds & nestled our tent on a bed of pine needles. Just as we finished putting everything in the tent it began to lightly snow. After getting cozy, we made hot cocoa & devoured our caramel apples that my dad got us in Big Bear (they were definitely worth packing in that very temporary extra pound in our packs)!
It snowed steadily and peacefully throughout the night... The soft sound of snow hitting the tent is like a lullaby, we were bundled up and asleep before it even got dark. Waking up to almost a foot of snow was like waking up to a winter wonderland!
We boiled snow to make our hot coffee and oatmeal breakfast and began to pack up to hit the snowy trail. I am so glad we didn't let fear get the best of us and stay another night in town... We had the most amazing day on the trail yet.
At first we were not following any footprints, the trail was highly visible and we were in no danger of getting off track so we took turns blazing fresh tracks in the snow, there is something special about making the first set of prints in a snowfall.
Right from the get-go we were treated to majestic old growth cedar and pine trees blanketed in white when you looked up... & when we looked down we were treated to fragile wild flowers with miniature icicles and tufts of snow on their petals. A snow covered woodland scene that was a photographer's playground!
Today was so jaw-droppingly beautiful that I stopped in my tracks in awe every 5min. We are so fortunate to be here, it is not scary, it is amazing. The trees, the flowers, the weather, the fragrances, the sounds, the terrain... They are all working together to create this very fulfilling experience for us. We are so grateful to be out here. Maybe my mantra is never going to be needed but one thing is for sure... We are not living with fear & we are very glad to be here.