After a relaxing zero day in Big Bear City yesterday, today we are back on the trail. Jeff drove us, along with Lotus and Old Spice, back to the trailhead this morning. A crowd of hikers were already there, waiting for rides to Big Bear to resupply. Several of them swarmed the car, hoping Jeff would take them back into town. While they loaded up, Sierra and I crossed the highway and headed down the trail.
The trail meandered through the hills and mountains above Big Bear, climbing out of the transitional landscape, with its pine forest scattered with Joshua trees, prickly pear, and other cactus, to a higher elevation forest of taller pines, junipers, and fir trees. In places, the trail was also lined with fragrant, purple-tinged white flowers.
Grandpa's Traveling Oasis was waiting for us at Van Dusen Canyon Road, one of several places we would be treated to cold drinks today. We arrived at lunch time, taking cold drinks, fresh grapes, and frozen water bottles to supplement the lunch and sun-warmed water we carried in our packs.
The trail continued past tall juniper trees, with gnarled limbs, and furry, red bark that peeled away from the trunk in long hairy strips, exposing golden yellow patches of trunk where the bark had peeled away. We also passed tall Ponderosa pines, with their reddish brown, jigsaw puzzle like bark, each piece peeling away to reveal another layer of the puzzle beneath. White fir trees and flowering manzanita shrubs also lined the trail, dwarfed by the towering Ponderosa and Jeffrey pine trees.
With a few miles to go, we passed through an area that had burned five years ago. Tall, charred skeletons of Ponderosa pines dotted the landscape, surrounded by new growth of green shrubs and clusters of bright yellow flowers.
Little Bear Springs Trail Camp had burned also. But continuing down the trail past the camp a short distance, we found better camping on pine needle covered earth underneath charred but surviving Jeffrey pines. And underneath the trees, not far from our camp, were two bright, red snow flowers.
Thank you to Grandpa (pictured below) for the many times you brightened our day, and to my mother, Happy Mother's Day!