We woke and broke camp as usual and headed down the trail toward Cougar Crest. I was texting my brother trying to formulate a game plan to get us down the mountain so we could get Josh new shoes. I asked him to have my mom rent us a car and I text my credit card info to them. Mom delivered and organized a car rental from Enterprise so they could pick us up from the trail head. Josh and I hiked the two rocky miles downhill toward The Big Bear Discovery Center feeling good knowing we had a plan. When we arrived we called Enterprise and the phone rang and rang until finally Josh got them to answer only to be told they had no cars to rent. I was irritated that they would take a reservation on my credit card when they had no cars. We called Hertz and the lady was very nice and took our number saying she needed to call us back with availability.
We sat at the Discovery Center and dried out the tent while trying to decide what to do when a Discovery Center employee asked us if we wanted a ride to town. We jumped at the chance and packed up quickly to meet her at her car. Our trail angel today was named Meredith and she is in charge of the education department at the Discovery Center. While we drove we asked her what kind of birds say 'cheeseburger' and told her Josh was almost trail named cheeseburger for singing the bird's song while he hiked. She laughed and told us that was the Mountain Chickadee and gave us some other common bird names in the area. While we were driving Josh got a call from Hertz saying they had a car for us and Meredith drove us to the Big Bear Airport. We tried to offer her gas money and she too refused.
We waved goodbye and headed in to the airport where Josh secured a car for the day. We breathed a sigh of relief as we drove out of the parking lot when Josh realized he didn't have his phone. He searched frantically but finally concluded it was in Meredith's car. He called the Discovery Center and Meredith put it at the front desk for us to pick up later. Back on task we drove down the mountain to Rancho Cucamonga REI. It was a little unnerving to be on the freeway and in the world. We realized we had already started to change from the people we once were.
In REI we spotted another thru hiker named Gotta Walk browsing the aisles. Josh bought a new pair of Brooks and I, the amazing 2nd skin blister bandages, a new pair of pants (that I won't mend with superglue) and thermarest zlite as mine was majorly squished.
We stopped at The Hat which serves pastrami sandwiches and huge portions of sides and I had a (mediocre at best) BBQ beef sandwich. After lunch we zoomed back up the hill trying to pick up Josh's phone before they closed and drop the car off within our allotted time. The lady at Hertz had given us someone else's car because we said we'd be back quickly. While we drove she called and told us we could keep the car longer if we needed it. We made it to the Discovery Center to pick up Josh's phone and the manager there wanted to ID me to get the phone. Now, how she was going to verify it was my phone by my ID is beyond me but she relinquished the phone without too much of a fight.
We pulled into the Big Bear Airport and parked while we organized gear and looked at the bus schedule back to the trail. Josh and I were feeling pretty ragged and Josh had mentioned on more than one occasion that he feels he is getting sick. He wanted me to decide if we were going to the trail or getting a room. I'm a libra and those kind of decisions take me forever to make so we just flipped a coin. Heads we get a room, tails we go to the trail......heads.
We pulled in to a very hiker crowded motel 6 and got a room for the night. There we saw Blondie whom we met at Pioneer Mail in Mount Laguna. Her and her friend All Day stopped by our room and we compared blisters and stories. Blondie looks like she's pretty much done with the trail and mentioned she wants to get off at Cajon Pass. She said it is too hard to hike solo and I totally get that. Hiking as a couple has it's challenges but at the end of the day you have someone there to relate too and that's huge. I am very lucky to have Josh. Blondie and All Day bid us good evening and I ate onion rings with horseradish, which was amazing by the way, and then took a shower in the bizarre spaceship shaped hotel shower. I scrubbed my feet for a long time and they are looking and feeling worlds better the they were.
Right now it's 9pm and Josh and I are pecking away at our phones. I love got to get out of this hiker vortex and will get back on trail tomorrow, even if I have to crawl out!
Until then, goodnight!