After thoroughly lowering our body temperatures in the Whitewater River from the Heat of the mid day sun, we resumed our desert trek into the much talked about Mission Creek drainage. This would be our shadeless and once burned corridor to the High Country of Big Bear. Leap-frogging known hikers was becoming a common occurrence just as much as meeting new hikers that had started ahead of us from Mexico.
There were so many personality types from all areas of life. Some were athletic and experienced in the ways of Nature, and some were novices who were green in every way possible. Some minds were juvenile, and some were mature. Some had just graduated from an academic school, and some had just retired from a long life of work and hardship. However, each of us had a dream that brought us all together to share in a collective quest of attaining the Spirit needed to endure the unknown. What we all had in common was that we were in transition from one way of living and perceiving life to a completely new way of interacting and sensing on a daily basis. We were learning to share and to listen as if we were sloughing off our adult costumes, and allowing the eyes and feelings of a child to regain its vitality once again. We were becoming a Family of Sisters and Brothers.
However, there were still many weary hikers that we met on a daily basis that would be the first and the last time we crossed paths. The absentee look of their worn faces and zombie-esque like gestures told the story of the last and final straws being pulled. One had to want to be at any point along this trail. It was a matter of attitude. If one fought the idea of where they currently resided along the trail, they usually lost and became defeated to the immense power that Nature generated. Whereas, if one could see the beauty of each creature encountered, Nature's collective energy would sweep you up, and cradle one's mind and heart in a sense of peace and comfort. We and only we can choose to live and accept what is given to us to overcome. Barriers are only encountered if resistance to What Is, is maintained.
If towns such as Big Bear City lied somewhere miles below the trail, we often hitchhiked to resupply ourselves when we crossed major highways or roads. Again, for some, this was a major concern since society has taught many to be fearful and distrusting of strangers. With a bad outcome in one's mind, hikers sometimes would wait hours for rides. But with a smile on our faces and with energy bursting from our seams and backpacks, Stacey and I usually were picked up within minutes of our thumbs being put out there. Interestingly, we were offered seven rides throughout the journey even before we tried to ask for a ride. Its as if we were magnetically drawing in the positive experience we had energetically planned for. And of all the rides we procured along the length of this trail, a fifth of the drivers that picked us up were either pilots or were mechanics that maintained aircraft. This statistic must certainly go beyond all odds. Its as if we were learning to fly and to maintain our flight path just as our gracious and generous ride givers knew how to.
From the trees of Big Bear we descended once again to the riches of Deep Creek, where we followed its course several hours into the dark. Often we would stop at sunset, however there are times when an adequate flat camping spot can not be found to regenerate one's muscle tissues overnight. To our pleasant surprise we even crossed paths with the elusive ring tailed cat that prowls the nights of the arid southwest. And as a reward for our extra miles, we earned a morning soak at the popular back country Deep Creek Hot Springs. Nature was truly providing something new for us around every canyon and ridge top corner.
With 100 degree plus temps continuing along the lower portions of our route, we found a refuge of cooler water to soak in at Silverwood Lake Reservoir. Additional comfort was gifted to a group of us at a group campground next to this lake where a biker gang had a weekend reunion. These tattooed free spirits offered us all the picnic food and drinks we could digest bringing additional relief to the body and mind after yet another heat exhausting day. Trail Angels certainly do take on just about any form imaginable.
Our next stop was to be at Cajon Pass which lies on the well know San Andreas Fault that is currently sliding its way up towards northern California and into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Here on Interstate 15 is the infamous McDonald's that every hiker seems to talk about. Amazingly, we found a congregation of over 40 Pacific Crest Trail hikers seeking relief all in one small area. The looks on the tourists and motorists faces of our collective energy was one of ongoing curiosity and confusion. What were all of these dirty and smelly people with backpacks doing sitting on green grass within seemingly extreme temperatures.
We were truly feeling Alive.