This backpacking trip was planned in advance to be a tough one, a long one, to get our 2016 hiking season off to a solid start. And, if you want to collect some serious trail mileage, there’s no better place to do it than the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). At 2600 miles long, it offers plenty of hiking excitement. We’d already done most of the sections down near San Diego (as well as assorted sections in northern California and Washington), and were now “shopping” the Los Angeles area for new PCT ideas. In fact, we had planned to do one section near San Gorgonio Mountain last year when the Lake Fire broke out and burned for weeks, causing a trail closure right where we wanted to hike! So this year, even though the burnt section was still closed, we set our sights a bit further north, to a section near Big Bear Lake.
A popular trail, the PCT has been thoroughly mapped out; it’s been broken down into named sections, complete with virtual mileage markers, GPS tracks, and downloadable topographic maps, all available online. For those who care about PCT nomenclature, the hike I chose was part of California Section C, namely: PCT miles 279 through 314. In other words, we’d be hiking 35 miles total, beginning at a dirt road just north of Big Bear Lake near the town of Fawnskin and heading roughly northwest, descending gradually toward the Mojave Desert, ending up in a dirt parking lot at the end of Highway 173 near the town of Hesperia. After considerable study, making use of various online water reports, I came up with a plan. I figured that this hike could be done by the two of us in about three days. Three LONG days, because we’re not exactly the fastest of hikers.
Click on the photo to read the complete Trip Report