Day 11 May 5
Big Bear Hostel Cache to Hwy 18
It felt like I had just fallen asleep when my 5 o’clock alarm went off. I rolled off the couch, grabbed a breakfast soda, and bid the squirrel farewell. It was town day so I kicked into high gear.
My plan was to in and out Big Bear but I felt like making friends, so I got a room at the Big Bear Hostel.
Commence blue collar beer drinking. A bunch of hikers took over Whiskey Dave’s bar. We shot pool balls, guzzled kamikazes, howled at classic rock videos, taunted the bartender, cussed, picked bones and scabs. All the demons we repress while hiking emerged and converged in this empty bar. The bartender’s dream to go home early dissolved.
I return to the hostel around 1 am. My bunk mate, a 50 something woman, was also still up. “I can’t sleep in there, it smells.” I prop the door open and sniff. It’s fine. “Open the window,” I whisper. “Then it’ll be too cold,” she whines. “I was worried about you.”
It’s taken her a month to hike 266 miles and she still hasn’t adjusted to the hiker life style. I can’t make her feel better and I am too tired to care.
So I climb into my sheet-less bunk bed, above some guy whose name I can’t remember, and let my drunkenness cradle me to sleep.