David from the Roadside: With Runningbird’s tracker not functioning and the heat, I had to find something else to occupy myself. I took off in the morning to scout the meet-up locations for the next couple of legs. I headed off up into the San Bernardino Mountains. Hwy 38 was another squirrelly road going up from about 1,760′ to over 8,000′ into the beautiful home of Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowbear, and Lake Arrowhead. Pulling the trailer up this road would be slow and taking full attention. It was difficult to not think about Runningbird doing this same climb on foot with her pack in the coming days. The road was busy with the greater Southern California residents escaping for a lovely weekend and none wanting to go slow.
I found the location where I would meet Runningbird in a few days; a small turnout off a two-lane highway. The parking lot was full with the support crew of a “Hike for the Cure” in progress on that part of the Pacific Crest Trail. I then continued on the curvy road along Big Bear Lake and made a right turn up to Green Valley Lake. This little known gem was a frequent summer vacation spot of my childhood, as it was for my brothers and sisters, some 50 years ago. Wonderful memories came rushing back as I walked up the stairs to the small general store to get the treasured grape Nehi out of the ice cooler. For now grape Gatorade would have to do. I walked back across the road to the lake which looked pretty much the same except for a fence by the club house. I learned to swim (the hard way), paddle board, and fish in this lake. It was a great visit and I’m glad I took the detour.
On the drive down I received a cell call from Runningbird reporting she was doing well with the drop in elevation and would arrive at our meet-up spot late in the afternoon. I was relieved that she was doing so well although I knew she still had a good stretch of nothing but flat, sandy desert before she would reach the I-10.
I could see her reflective umbrella reflecting across the desert from over a mile away. Her friend Kyle from Cummins and his family had come to greet her and I’m sure that gave her a lift to move through the final distance of sand to finish for the day.