Mile 266 to 285
I rearrange my backpack so the tent is not at the bottom, but in a plastic bag on the side. There is an 80% chance of precipitation, and I do not want to dump my dry stuff in the freezing rain to get to the tent. I shower, have a non Pop-Tart breakfast, hug my parents goodbye and bum a ride back to the trailhead from Susan.
It is sunny for the first part of the day, which gives me a nice jump start on miles. That turns fairly suddenly to a lightning, thundering, hail storm. Each flash and crack makes me question the wisdom of carrying two metal trekking poles. I reassure myself with mental observations such as: “That bush seems taller than me, I am probably fine.” The hail turns to snow, and it is accumulating. I can still generally make out the trail, only having to backtrack a couple of times. Occasionally the clouds lift, and I enjoy spectacular views of Big Bear Lake.
After 19 miles of storm walking, I arrive at camp. It is raining very lightly as I setup my tent and toss everything I possess inside.