On day 21, we had a long 16 mile (26 km) stretch with no reliable water sources. From where we had camped the previous night, our whole day would be 19 miles. We hiked over snow patches on the San Gorgonio mountain ridges before lunch and then slowly descending down to Arraste campground which was surrounded by ankle-deep muddy bogs.
We only 10 miles / 16km left to town on our 22nd day. We hitched on the back of a pick up truck to the town of Big Bear Lake. Immediately after checking into the hostel, we had lunch. Although we also desperately needed showers, we were use to being dirty hiker trash so satisfying our hiker hunger was far more important than anything else. We strolled over to Saucy Mama’s for pizza and our noisy stomachs became quiet.
Day 23 was a quiet “zero” day we spent wandering around town and catching up with other hikers.
The section of trail we rejoined on our 24th day was surprisingly easy going. Despite our packs being at their heaviest coming after a town resupply, we managed to hike 19 miles / 30.5 km to Little Bear Springs which surprisingly had a drop toilet for us.
On our 25th day, the trail was still relatively gentle. It was a hot day so we took a refreshing dip in the afternoon in a stream while subtly batheing and doing some laundry at the same time.
Day 26 was hot springs day! The PCT passed right by the Deep Creek natural hot springs within the San Bernardino National Forest. We arrived around 9am and there were already 20 people or so in the springs. We were greeted by some friendly locals who were completely – they were clearly regulars at the springs since they had even bronze tans with no tan lines. After exploring the several hot spring pools, we settled in one pool and spent most of our time people watching. It was refreshing to also hop between the cold rushing creek and lazy hot spring. After a relaxing 4 hours, (despite initially just planning to spend 2 hours!) we reluctantly continued on the trail. We cowboy camped for the first that night (i.e. slept under the stars without our tent), but had a somewhat restless night because of the cold wind.
Our 27th day we had pizza for lunch and dinner! After hiking 13 miles at a personal best time in about 5 hours, we arrived at Silverwood lake which was so expansive it looked like an ocean. As we neared Cleghorn picnic ground, we called a nearby pizza place and got pizza, beer and soft drinks delivered – what a luxury! With 30 or so hikers milling around the picnic area eating, drinking and chatting it felt like a party. But we all still kept to hiker schedule and it was lights out at 9pm!