Starting Mileage: 232
Ending Mileage: 254
Leaving Mission Creek it would be 16 miles to our next reliable water with a small water cache in between. So we topped off before breaking camp.
We followed Mission Creek for a few miles to start our morning. As the temperature quickly rose, I splashed water on my clothes whenever we crossed the creek. This trick was taught to me by BooBoo and it worked so well I became a little obsessive about it. The evaporation of the water out of the clothes really did have a cooling effect.
As we climbed away from the creek we made it our goal to try and get to tge next reliable water source by the end of the day. That would be a total of 24 miles (including the miles along the creek).
As we hiked we ran into a hiker (The Count) on a 10 day out and back who told us that we were 30 minutes from the last creek crossing. BooBoo reciprocated by telling him of the midsized snake coiled by the trail a quarter mile back.
News to me, must have been when I was focused on my footing.
We took a break at the last creek crossing with Iceman, Catywampus, Tumbleweed, Chief, and Allen. Everybody seemed intent on hitting the water cache at least with some murmurs of trying to get to the spring that BooBoo and I were aiming for. But the climb was a long, hard one so no one was sure.
Continuing the last portion of the major climb after break it was a relief to reach a ridge we'd follow for a while. There were some nice views.
BooBoo and I decided to have a late lunch at a USFS cabin that offered picnic tables, a pit toilet and a garbage can. All of these things are extremely rare on the trail and so were enticing to us. We (okay I) hurried there hoping to find a family out for a nice Saturday, who might give us food or cold drinks.
Sadly no family and the tables were not in the shade. But the outhouse was there as was the garbage can. We unloaded all of our trash since Ziggy and the Bear's (anything you carry in you have to carry). It's always nice to get rid of your trash, one less thing to carry.
We made lunch and afternoon coffee sitting on a log in the shade. FYI -Starbucks Via Instant coffee is great for camping.
Revitalized from food, caffeine, lighter packs, and better trail tread we covered ground quickly until we ran into the sanctuary for retired show animals. We paused briefly, seeing our first bear on the trail. Pacing around its enclosure it was not a threat.
Knowing we were about two miles from the water cache we quickened our pace and regained our resolve to make the spring four miles beyond.
At the Onyx Summit we took a Liter of water each from the cache. The cache is provided by one of the hostels in Big Bear and is relatively small. No need to be greedy, there are others behind us who need the water too. We went out to a point to enjoy the view before heading to our destination.
Imagine our surprise to see/hear people yelling from the next point over, asking us to join them.
So we did. We found Tumbleweed and several other hikers there. They were gathered around a large cache of soda and 2 recliners that the other hostel in Big Bear provided. So we took a seat and had a soda. The others headed out to get to the spring.
They seemed like a nice bunch but BooBoo and I decided to pull up short of the spring. We planned an early evening and got the impression the other group didn't.
We ended up at a site about 12 miles from Hwy 18, our access to Big Bear.