The first mention of a Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hike was during the family gathering in Big Bear in December 2007. Nelius had mentioned his dream of hiking from Big Bear to his house in Sierra Madre; sounded good to me! I'm in. When do we start?
Planning the route and picking the dates took a few months. At first the plan was to hike from Karsten and Kirsten's cabin to Nada and Nelius' house, door to door. After researching the route, we were surprised to find the total distance to be in excess of 170 miles...back to the drawing board. Since Nelius has already explored more of the trails around his house, we decided to keep the original plan of starting in Big Bear, but ending at Interstate 15 in the Cajon Pass area. After picking a starting point very near the Big Bear Lake we had estimated a hiking distance of about 70 miles and 5 days on the trail...we hoped. Then we had another set back, the "Butler 2" fire that devastated the San Bernardino National Forest had closed the PCT for over 20 miles through the Big Bear area. The trail had been re-routed onto forest service roads that skirted the edges of the affected forest. Neither Nelius nor myself had any desire to hike mile upon mile of forest service road, so we had to pick a new starting point yet again. After a long series of emails to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, we picked a starting point. Crab Flats, on Forest Service Road 3N16 near Green Valley Lake. This was the eastern most point of the trail that was open for hiking.
With a route picked, and a date set for April 3rd. Nelius and I started gathering gear, and getting ready. Check out the next entry for details on gear!
Here is the route in it's entirety as seen from Space, compliments of Google Earth. Big Bear Lake is just a little South East of the start point, but not visible on this screen shot.