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Pacific Crest Trail Day 25 – Slackpacking in Big Bear

Last updated Apr 13, 2021 | Published on May 17, 2017

PCT Day 25 – Monday May 8
Mile 250.2 to Mile 266.1

PCT Miles Hiked Today: 15.9
Feet Ascended Today: 1628
Feet Descended Today: 2950
Current Elevation:
Steps: 45643

Today I decided to hike the 16 miles from mile 250.2 to 266.1. Both the starting and ending points are accessible by major highways and so I planned to get a ride to and from the trail and stay again at the hostel tonight. Since it was not necessary to carry all my gear with me today, I left my tent and sleeping bag and sleeping pad behind, along with some other items. In thru-hiker circles, this (or leaving one’s backpack behind altogether) is called slack-packing and is frowned upon by some. I didn’t really care though and was glad to hike with a lighter pack for the day.

Snow at the Beginning of my Hike

I got a ride to mile 250.2 from Papa Smurf, a well-known local Trail Angel. He even drove up the Forest Service road to where it connects with the PCT and saved me the road walk. An inch or so of snow lingered on the ground but the trail was mostly clear by the time I started hiking.

Sign for Trail Angel Papa Smurf

I rounded a corner and the first thing I saw was some animals in cages to the right of the trail – two bears and a tiger to be exact. Apparently it is a private zoo for exotic animals that are used in films. The animals are in small cages and I felt sorry for them. I watched one bear pace back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, before I walked away sadly.

Bear at the Exotic Zoo

A few miles later I came across some Trail Magic courtesy of the Big Bear Lake Hostel. Sarge has set up a couch and a large trash bin filled with snacks and drinks. The couch still had a little snow on it and so I elected to skip the couch and helped myself to some cookies instead.

Trail Magic Courtesy of Big Bear Hostel

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful. I hiked as quick as I could, knowing that I had to do all 16 miles as I didn’t have my tent or my sleeping bag on me.  When I finished hiking for the day, I realized that I had hiked 266 miles of the PCT – that’s 1/10th of the entire 2650-mile trail!!  Only 2384 miles to go!!

I made it to the junction with Highway 18 around 5:00 pm about the same time as 3 other hikers. I called an Uber (the first time I’ve had Uber service so far!) and we split the fare back into town. Apparently there is one Uber driver during daytime hours and he spends most of his time driving around PCT Hikers.

Snow is Melted by the Afternoon

A new tree. Yucca?

Back at the hostel I met Halfway for dinner at Saucy Mamma’s Pizza with some other hikers. He’d survived hiking in the snow and had just arrived in town today. Apparently he and some other hikers had taken shelter in Coon Creek Cabin during the worst of the snow storm. He said that hiking in the snow was “fun” but I wasn’t sure if I believed him.

Later that evening I got to talk to Daniel on the phone for the first time in a week or so. It’s been almost a month since I’ve seen him and I miss him a lot. We’re trying to figure out a time when he can come down for a visit. I hope it’s soon!

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. Keebler

    Pretty sure that’s a Joshua Tree

    • Sam Weiss

      Yep! Joshua Tree. I know them well.

  2. lightmanca

    Yep! That’s a joshua tree.


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