Big Bear to Boulder Hill Camp
Mile 266.1 – Mile 288.1
My great friend Mark who works for Toyota Corporate once shared with me the company’s principle of genchi genbutsu. It refers to the idea that to know a thing you have to go to the actual place and see it for yourself. Reading many people’s accounts of their time on the PCT planted the seed for me but being out here doing it surpasses what I expected. The porcelain clink and scrape of new rockfall reverberating its depths as I travel over, the sere desert wind rising and falling like respiration, the warm, sweet spice of pine straw baking on the forest floor, to really know those things, you have to be here. Genchi genbutsu but here are some pictures anyway.
Having learned my lesson at the Red Kettle in Idyllwild about proper breakfast time, I didn’t attempt The Lumberjack Café until 7:15. I was loaded and ready to fuel up for the day. FlowerMan (his pack adorned with fresh yellow roses, hence the name) and CatWeasel were already eating so I grabbed a spot at the bar and met another character, Shiatsu Tom.
Tom has been doing massage for 53 years, the last 20 in Big Bear. His shared secret was to use cold pressed olive oil because only that or grape seed oil can be absorbed by the skin. Who knew? We also talked about the investment to make Big Bear a top ski destination. “It’s the corporation coming in and raising prices so high nobody can afford to ski anymore. It’s a hill that happens to be at 8000 feet. It used to be great for families because there was nowhere else to go.” Just so you know, it’s not just me.
I caught a taxi this time back to the trail and was walking by 9:30. Here is where the northbound PCT hikers take a hard left and head west. Most of the morning was spent in the hills just north of Big Bear Lake and I was able to get a photo of the lake and ski area. If I can walk up the hill in 30-45 minutes, $100 lift tickets do seem exorbitant.
The trail continued into Holcomb Valley where Diamond Dave said much gold prospecting was done in the 1840s. I saw no evidence of same but it did get me thinking about the books I’ve read about the West – Undaunted Courage, Nothing Like It In The World, and Empire of the Summer Moon are among the best. Being out here with just a horse, a rifle, a blanket, and no trail is some genchi genbutsu I’m happy to do without.
Another large burn area occupied my late afternoon. I stopped at Holcomb Creek for water and dinner after which I chased the sun down the valley. The trail indeed escaped the valley and I made my own campsite among large boulders on top of a rise just as the sun was setting. Best site yet!
Note: I do all this writing and posting with big thumbs on a small iPhone screen. Thanks for looking past any typos I happen to miss.