I have an easy hitch back into town given to me by Ms. Claus (really. She volunteers every year and her husband is santa). She is very sweet and tells me she often takes hikers in but can't tonight. I caught her as she was dropping off three Italian hikers who she had hosted and was very touched and a bit amused to see her actually tearing up as she paused to watch them walk away. She beeped her horn farewell and sniffed to me "Oh, I hate goodbyes". Very adorable.
I luck out and the very friendly guy at the coffee shop offers me his couch after I ask if he is on couchsurfing or knows of anyone in town who is. He had been incredibly nice to Maya and I yesterday, even giving us our coffee on the house. I wanted to avoid the hostel because I dislike paying to share space. I was going to cave and get a hotel room but feel fortunate to have a free couch instead. Makes me feel much less guilty about the money spent on food while in town.
Instead of icing my knee I buy thrift store ski poles for five dollars and waste hours at the library updating this journal. I really should have iced more. I do carry a rapidly melting bag of ice with me as I run these errands and try to squeeze some rehab icing time in as I go.
It was really tough hitching from the thrift store to the library but a guy my age who was born in Big Bear and is studying to become a firefighter makes a u-turn and picks me up. A woman at the library learns of how I lost my poles and offers to make a bright colored poster to leave in town in hopes that the driver will see it and be able to return my poles. I've also successfully walked up to people on the street and gotten rides, which is a good sign of a friendly town.
I spend my evening being spoiled by Adam and his girlfriend - Adam hadn't even heard of the Pacific Crest trail before yesterday when he encountered Maya and I but he is taking to the role of trail angel amazingly well! He is a great host and even brings me a beer to enjoy in the shower. He and his adorable girlfriend ask me lots of questions about the hike, and I curl up on the couch to pass out contentedly as they head out to have a few drinks. He is so considerate he even sends me a text reminding me to take my clothes out of the dryer, and gives me a small ipod as a gift! In spite of the staring tourists, Big Bear has been full of friendly, kind people who have gone out of their way for me. If only the amenities were spaced just a little closer toegther!
I said goodbye to the cousins and Maya this morning. I still feel a bit sad but know it was the right decision. I hope I'll see them again on trail, or maybe even after the trail.
The time I spent with them was the first time I consistently didn't feel lonely in a very long time.
I'm hoping to have Brian, Cameron & Tim catch up, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the trail brings me to in the future.