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Three years ago it took me five minutes to enter the bus in Big Bear Lake. Still suffering from my knee injury I had decided to move along the trail with public transportation and meet my fellow hiker Navigator again. The hostel seemed to be a good place to hang out a few days and recover.

No wonder Sarge – the Boss here – remembered me when I checked in on Friday afternoon. I had booked in advance to avoid any hassle at the busy weekend. I spend my first night in a bunk room and moved into a more private room on Saturday morning. I needed some space to spread my gear and take care of everything. Besides that I feel too old for bunk beds.

I loved Big Bear Lake from my last stay (and as I hear him having some arguments in the background: SARGE IS AWESOME! He will take care of you if you know how to behave!). No wonder I had some plans for this time’s stay. I wanted just to wonder around, check out the lake and stroll through the touristy village, enjoy some good food in the village restaurants, go to the cinema and do the usual town chorus like shower, laundry, resupply… One big point on my list was getting a massage from Daniel (Mountain Mobile Massage). Daniel is a real gem! He took care of my knee in 2016 coming to the hostel three days in a row. He is one of a few people who were responsible for giving me my hiker strength back and who turned a tragedy into success. Right from the start of planning this year’s comeback on the trail having a massage from Daniel was on top of my list! And I had it yesterday!! It was great and I wish I could have another one right away! With no major issues going on I could fully relax and let Daniel do his awesome job. I was so relaxed afterwards, I forgot to takea photo of us together. Shame on me! But if you are a hiker (or not) and if you are close to Big Bear Lake just call Daniel for a fantastic massage!

Today is Sunday and my plan for today is to relax, see “Avengers – the Endgame” at the cinema, have even more good food as well as chatting with other hikers. Rumors are big as the first groups of hikers have entered the snow of the Sierra. Lots of stories to follow along.

Standing in line for the cinema ticket it was my turn when the guy in front of me turned around and pressed a card into my hand saying something like “use it and hand it over to the next person, you’ll all go for free”. Things happened so fast I couldn’t even say a word. In surprise I handed the card to the lady from the cinema. Slowly I realized that it was a gift card and I just got my ticket for free! As the man said I handed it over to the next person who was surprised in the same way. What did just happen? It must have been some kind of magic! I entered the cinema and spend the ticket money for some popcorn and a Pepsi.

More than three hours later I had a hard time getting out of the comfortable cinema seat. I headed back to the hostel to find some company for dinner. Instead of Smiles I got to go with Water Color and her friend Mike. Mike was about to fly home to Seattle because of an injury. I know exactly how he feels and I hope he can get back on the trail at some stage.

The evening ended with a Mango Margarita at El Jacalito, one of the Mexican places in town. We were quite a bunch of hikers and it was great fun!

I will head back to the trail again tomorrow morning. The weather forecast for the coming week doesn’t look too good predicting some rain and snow coming up. I am not looking forward to test my trash bag set up in harsh conditions but it will be interesting and helpful to find out if I can keep my stuff dry. Hopefully I get to enjoy one of the trail’s famous spots the Deep Creek Hot Springs. Stay tuned and follow me as I attempt the next part of my PCT completion journey!

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