Mile 275 to mile 277.9
2.9 PCT miles + 2 miles on Cougar Crest Trail = 4.9 miles
As I mentioned in the last post I needed to get some new shoes badly. The Merrell shoes that I swapped out for my Brooks Cascadia shoes were not cutting it and my feet were killing. I even started to develop blisters in places that I had not previously had one.
We woke up from a cold sleepless night around the usual time. We even had some frost on the tent this morning. A first for us. It is so difficult to get rolling on those mornings but the hot coffee helped.
The 2.9 miles to the Cougar Crest Trail was pretty easy as far as elevation gain/loss. There were many sections of scree to navigate but all in all it was an easy walk AND, surprisingly, my feet felt pretty good. So good in fact that I started to second guess my decision to get off the trail to get new shoes.
Luckily, I had a couple more miles for my feet to reconfirm my decision. The Cougar Crest Trail is only 2 miles down hill but it is rocky and those rocks tore up my feet. That is when I developed a new blister on the side of my foot which made each foot plant that much more painful. The half mile, or however far it is, road walk to the Big Bear Discovery Center from the trail was not easy either. Road walks seem to exacerbate each and every pain.
With the help of Mandie's mom, by the time we got to the Discovery Center we had a reservation with Enterprise Car Rental and just needed to call them so they could pick us up. We called and called and nobody answered. We finally got ahold of somebody by calling their 800 number and they had no cars available at that time. Hmmm, not sure why they would allow us to make a reservation without having a car but I'm sure that is just business.
We didn't want to wait all afternoon for a car so we called around looking for another car rental place. While we let our fingers do the walking I took advantage of the beautiful morning sun to dry out our tent. I finally got in touch with Jennifer over at Hertz. They too did not have any cars available at the moment but took our number in case she could work something out.
Meredith, an employee of the Discovery Center, overheard me talking with Jennifer and asked us if we needed a ride into town, as we were on the outskirts. We of course accepted and threw our gear in the back of her Xterra and hopped in.
While we were cruising along Jennifer called me back and said that she found a car for us. Woohoo! So, we had Meredith take us over to Hertz so we can pick up the car. I filled out all the paperwork, do the car walk around, and Jennifer hands over the keys. Mandie and I now need to figure out the directions to REI. I go to get my phone out to look up directions and it is not in its usual place. I check all the other possible places it could be, even going back into Hertz and no phone. Crap! I must have left it in Meredith's car.
Lucky for me I knew where Meredith worked. If I had left my phone on any other Trail Angel's car I would not have know how to get it back. I use Mandie's phone to call the Discovery Center and Meredith is out to lunch. I leave a message to have her call me back. Not knowing how long her lunch break was we decide to continue on to REI. About thirty minutes later Meredith calls us back and says that she does have my phone and will leave it at the Information Desk. Phew!
We drive down the mountain to REI where it is a blistering hot day. I walk straight to the back of the store where the shoe section is, kick off my Merrells and ask the salesman for help. He of course asks a few questions before offering up a couple of suggestions, one of them being the Cascadias. I try on a few different pairs of trail runners and none of them feel as good as the Cascadias do. Easy decision, I walk off with a new pair of Cascadias on my feet and my feet couldn't be happier. We do a little bit more shopping, socks, pants, electrolytes, etc... and walk out of there a couple of happy campers. Literally. :P
On our way back we stop off at The Hat for some delicious pastrami sandwiches. Mandie actually had BBQ.
We only had a couple of hours to get back up the hill before the Discovery Center closed so we had to hussle. With the help of our oh-so powerful Nissan Yaris we made it back with time to spare and I got my phone back. It made me feel complete again.
It was starting to get late and neither of us really felt like dealing with the rental car, then finding a way back to the Cougar Crest Trailhead, then hiking back up to the PCT so that we could camp. So we decided to find a place to stay. We are officially stuck in the Big Bear vortex.
Tomorrow we are back on the trail and will hopefully do more miles than we did today. Besides the minor blister that I developed today, both of us feel good and we feel positive that we will be able to really get some miles under our belts. At least until the next town. :P