Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail: Day 17

Sunset over San Jacinto

San Jacinto is the second tallest peak (10,200 ft) in Southern California which is located right off PCT. Leaving Idyllwild, Rangers told us that the peak and a portion of PCT is closed due to recent rain storm which ended up causing snow precipitation in higher elevations. We were told it was waist deep snow and rescue crews were taking people off by a helicopter. Believing the Rangers we took a detour, missing the San Jacinto peak. As we were walking the detour route we saw a hiker coming down from a path that we thought was closed. He told us that there was very little snow and there are plenty of hikers doing the peak trail. To say the least, we were pissed that Rangers lied to us.

A portion (20 out of 56 miles) of the next PCT section also happened to be closed due to a forest fire that happened back in fall. However, we met people who hiked through the fire closure going Southbound and saying that trail is actually open and there are no signs or advisories telling hikers to stay away.  Maybe it was the recent Idyllwild ranger encounter, but we felt like little rebels and decided to try hiking through the closure and find out if it was open!

Our plan was to hike up to the closure boundary and if there were no signs that the trail is closed we would push through. To our pleasure, there were no closure signs and we were able to do the PCT miles that we would have otherwise had to skip. And let me tell, that area was beautiful!

Our next resupply town is Big Bear Lake

After additional 6 days of hiking since Idyllwild we were ready for another zero day. We have heard many good things about the Big Bear Hostel and that it was a hiker favorite place to stay. A day before hiking into town we got cell service on top of a mountain and decided to make a reservation with the hostel. The following day we arrived into town, did our grocery shopping and went to the hostel to check in. When we arrived, the owner was not there so we called his phone to inquire about our reservation. To our despair he told us that our reservation was for the night before and that he tried reaching us by phone (of course we were camping in a canyon and had no service). Reservation was marked as no show and we lost our $$.

There were no more rooms left in the hostel for that night, so we had to quickly call other hotels to make a reservation. It then hit me that maybe we could cowboy camp in the backyard of the Hostel, so I began calling the owner back. After 15th time of calling I gave up. As we were gathering our belongings from the front porch of the hostel and getting ready to walk over to the bus stop, a guy approached us and asked how can he help us. I said that we were looking for a place to stay but accidentally made a reservation for incorrect night. His eyes were all of the sudden wide open, and I realized that this is whose person’s phone I have been blowing up just 15min ago. He said he didn’t realize that we were PCT hikers over the phone and told me to immediately cancel any reservations I made with other hotels. In a few minutes he came back and was able to get a room for us.