There is no cell phone coverage on this section of trail, so I have not been in contact with anyone for several days. So imagine my surprise when, turning on my phone to confirm our location via GPS, my phone began to ring. "Hello?" I answered. "This is Julie with Political Surveys..." the perky voice on the recorded message informed me. Click. I hung up in disbelief, amazed that the long arm of the telemarketing machine had somehow managed to reach out and find me in the wilderness.
The trail passed through a section of white rock, which we learned was white Furnace marble. Gnarled western juniper trees and scrappy white bark pines seemed to grow out of the large white stone, and the trail was paved with white gravel from the crumbled marble. Just a few minutes later, we stopped to rest at Coon Creek Jumpoff, a large, black granite cliff overlooking the canyon of the north fork of Mission Creek, far below. Sierra immediately climbed to the top of the rock outcropping and enjoyed reading from her rocky perch.
The afternoon was full of surprises. "Grizzly bear!" I heard Sierra call to me from ahead on the trail. Sure enough, we had reached Randy Miller's Predators in Action, which I understand keeps bears, lions, and other animals used by the movie industry. Today there appeared to be a few bears in residence, including the grizzly who had caught Sierra's attention.
Sierra enjoyed climbing the large juniper tree at the Nature's Inn water cache. Just one mile later, we were both surprised to see a couch sitting by the Big Bear Hostel cache next to the trail. The cache was out of refreshments, but we both took a few minutes to enjoy the novelty of relaxing on a couch in the wilderness. Who would have thought we would be in danger of becoming couch potatoes in the middle of a 16 mile day?!
We eventually made our way to Arrastre Camp at Deer Springs, which offered such exotic amenities as running (albeit non-potable) water, flat tent sites, and a single picnic table, which we shared with several other hikers. Tucked away in a narrow, shady canyon, the camp became frigid the moment the sun slipped behind the ridge. Soon the camp was deserted as all of the hikers headed off to the warmth of their tents to sleep.