Last night was freezing! I (Quiz) cuddled Layers in the tent and she gave me her puffy to put in my sleeping bag over my butt, which is always my coldest bit. Pinecone suffered away in the other tent in silence and only told us how cold she was this morning, next time we can just top and tail it in one tent to save on suffering.
Pinecone was taking it easy today as she has been feeling a bit of Achilles tendinitis. Even so we made good time and got the main days climb in before breakfast. We climbed in more high desert pine forest amongst huge pines with very little undergrowth. I later had a chat with Tamika about how this environment still feels alien and a big factor was the lack of undergrowth or scrub. We ate breakfast and made coffee in a patch of sun overlooking the Lucerne Valley badlands below. Coffee is a regular fixture in the mornings now and what we all crave when we’re heading into town, we’re such Melbournites lost in the desert.
Layers has been walking poleless today after leaving them in the car yesterday. Last night we tried everything we could think of to find John to get them back. Tamika even called the local radio station and asked them to announce it on air (they didn’t). But low and behold at our first road crossing for the day there was Layer’s poles with a little note from John, the bestest most lovely man and a true angel. If by chance you are reading this John, thanks so much!
After the road the trail clung to the Big Bear Lake side of the ridge and we got excellent views of the lake, town and San Gorgornio towering over everything. We ran into heaps of day hikers on this ridge, lots of them kindly offered us scrogin (Sultanas, chocolate, raisins and other goods including nuts). One lady was standing by the trail looking expectant, I started chatting and it turns out she was waiting for her brother who is hiking the trail to give him a Coke. Cute.
We ate lunch just before the beginning of a large burn area. Apparently the burn is from over 10 years ago but in high desert the revegetation seems to take ages. The hillsides still are really barren with scattered pine saplings about a metre high at best. It’s an eerie landscape. We are camped in a small grove of unburnt trees near the start of Holcomb Creek which we will follow all of tomorrow. Layers and Pinecone found a nice little pool and all us ladies had a wash and sang the siren song from Oh Brother Where Art Thou. We are getting up at 5am tomorrow as we plan to make it 21 miles to the Deep Creek Hot Springs, fingers crossed. Xx