Hwy 18 (266.1) to Small Stream Camp (286.7)

20.6 miles

It was the three of us taking the 7 am shuttle from the hostel back to Hwy 18. Smiles, another guy without trailname and me. I started hiking at around 7:20 and leapfrogged with Smiles for a while. But he wanted to have an easy week and didn’t want to go further than about 10 miles. Fair enough. I said goodbye to him at the watersource after the first 9 ish miles and hiked on. The first half of the day was dominated by views back towards Big Bear Lake. I really love this place. I could imagine living here! It was even harder to hike away from the Lake but I am taking a bunch of good memories with me and hopefully life will take me back one day into my much loved little mountain town.

Around 11 am clouds started to form up and I thought that the weather report might be fairly accurate. I checked it again when I had some reception and it would rain in Big Bear Lake in the evening starting at 3 pm. The clouds were building up and it was not even 12 am when I thought it could rain at any time. I hiked faster to get around the next mountain.

For some reason my goal for the day was the next stream which made it a proper 20 mile day. After an initial climb of a few hundred feet it was mostly downhill today and so I was confident enough to reach my goal.

I thought the rain would start when I was still hiking but when I reached Holcomb stream around 3:30 pm it was still dry. The burnt area I just hiked through was quite impressive. I think the Holcomb fire is not that long ago. I hiked towards Little Bear Springs Camp and thought I would stop there. But passing by the basic privy I wanted to get a bit away from the smell. A few hikers already started to set up camp a few hundred feet behind the camp. I thought about it but then decided to hike another mile to a small seasonal stream crossing. Someone had commented on Guthooks that there were some nice camp spots. And indeed, as I crossed the still running stream I found a fairly good spot for my tent. I set up camp and I had just finished and started preparing my dinner (soaking ramen) as it started to rain. I hurried up, got some water from the stream and got comfortable in my tent. What a day! My first 20 mile day this season and I still feel good! I am fairly early at camp and I am already curious if someone’s gonna join me for the night.

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