Fabulous because we got our dirty feet as a result of hiking and traversing over 26 miles of paths and trails during our four night, five day visit to Big Bear. Several mornings after breakfast, I'd pack up a simple sack lunch of PB&J, fruit and cookies, plus some trail mix for snacking, while my husband gathered up our hiking boots, hats, and walking sticks, and filled our backpacking bladders with water.
As we headed out each morning, we could see the shaking heads of our camping club friends, most of whom appear not to understand our passion for being active. We love our friends, but we likewise shake our heads that more people don't appear to understand and embrace the importance of being active throughout life. At ages 49 and 56 respectively, we have no health issues, excellent resting heart rates, low blood pressure, low cholesterol and energy to spare.
Our first day out we set off in search of a campground called Hanna Flat. The trail sign stated that the trail to Hanna Flat was 4 miles long, meaning an 8 mile round trip hike in total, perfect for our first day at 7,000 feet, with our lungs still acclimating. The trail took us through several lovely meadows and past some boulder strewn hillsides, as well as over a stream and though a section of brightly colored wildflowers. We got a bit confused at one point, but carefully adhered to the backcountry orientation rule of one person staying put while the other searched around a bit, but did so within eye sight of the "staying put" person. Although we quickly found our way again, it was a good reminder of how very, very easy it is to get disoriented while hiking. Back on track, we continued hiking until we reached the two hour point. At that point, recognizing we had a corresponding two hours of hiking still to do to get back to our car, we gave up hopes of finding the campground this time out, and sat down on some rocks to enjoy our sack lunch before turning around and heading for home.
On our second day I ran a trail called the Alpine Pedal Path, which winds along the north shore of Big Bear Lake, while Mike went bicycling around the lake. Still acclimating to the altitude, I will admit to some huffing and puffing during my run. The rest of the day? We sat outside in chairs and read. (See, we do know what downtime is!)
On our last day out we hiked just under 12 miles in total, starting with the Cougar Crest Trail, which could be reached on foot from our campsite. We followed the Cougar Crest trail up the hill to where it intersects with the legendary Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Even though we've done this hike several times before, I always get a thrill when we get onto the PCT and see the PCT trail sign marker. After taking several photos (I can never resist), we continued east on the PCT for several more miles before turning around and starting back. About halfway back we recognized we were still going strong as a result of having finally acclimated to the altitude, so we decided to detour up to Bertha's Peak, a butt-kicking 3/4 mile climb that rewarded us with breathtaking views of the entire Big Bear Valley - lake, town, ski resorts and all. As we sat down to enjoy both the views and our hard earned sack lunch, my husband said "I love this life we're living, and I love sharing it with you."
That comment? Priceless. The cost of showering off our dirty feet each night? Zero. The cost of the trip in total? See below:
- TOTAL FOR TRIP: $166
|The amazing Pacific Crest Trail marker.|
|What we gazed at as we enjoyed our lunch at the top of Bertha's Peak.|
|Why do we hike? Because we love both the way it makes us feel while we are doing it,|
and the amazing sights we wouldn't see otherwise.