265 mile overview 
I am currently sitting in a motel room in Big Bear City, CA. Only partially by coincidence it is raining outside! You see, I was planning on staying here tomorrow night, and arrive via mile 274, but it's been a very cold day (mid 30s overnight, 40-60 during the day) and when i hit the highway at mile 265 there were 30-40mph winds, in a cloud bank, and drizzling, i thought it prudent to hitch in to town 9 miles and a day early. See, it's been 90-105 degrees during the day since I started and never even a single cloud in the sky. I don't carry rain gear because rain is virtually unheard of in the desert this time of year. It turns out the truck that stops to give me a ride was a day-hiker that recognized me from earlier today! He tells me this rain (eventually it turned into a very cold rain) was a huge surprise. After a 27 mile day, a motel room surrounded by food (donuts I watched being made, chocolate milk, and leftover bbq) is so much nicer than a cold, damp camp.

And so it is, 265 miles in that i can proudly say i am 1/3 of the way to the end of Southern CA and the start of the Sierra's! The last week has been amazingly hot (it IS a desert though) and I imagine the next few weeks will be more of the same. Sleeping in a depression or valley, or worse, a low elevation dry stream bed, can mean temps below freezing (as the ice in my sleeping bag indicated) - but if you were to move even 50 feet higher, out of the depression, it could easily be 10 degrees warmer. Selecting a good campsite is an art form. Fortunately my sleeping system keeps me toasty even when covered in ice.

During the day i generally keep hiking through the heat, stopping for short breaks to change socks. I was expecting a drier heat, but find myself soaking in sweat often. Water has still been very plentiful, it's certainly a record wet year. I haven't had to carry more than 4 liters at a time, and on the hottest day yet, i followed a flowing creek for 20 miles and only carried half a liter at a time!

With record wet, so to comes abundant plant life. The desert is blooming all over and i've been taking pics of each new flower i see. Frequently the air is full of perfume-like aromas. Desert flowers and even the blooming cactuses.

I made it through the San Jacintos unscathed, although there was lots of snow to walk on and fall into. The infamous Fuller Ridge was pretty easy to get through, but getting to it required some map and compass work. With all the snow, the trail was buried, so you rely on the footsteps of those before you (presumably they had GPS) and sometimes they disappeared or turned around. I went through it all solo, which was a little worrying at times, but then the mountain range is surrounded by roads so it's pretty easy to find safety.

After the San Jacintos was a 40 mile or so strip of HOT desert AND the San Andreas Fault. I stayed a night at a trout farm that had running water, toilets, free camping, and a community star gazing program! Tres cool. The day after the trout farm was 20 miles of constantly gaining elevation 3000 to 8000 i believe) in a breezeless canyon with little shade. Fortunately there was at least water the whole way! At the end i was rewarded with the San Bernadino National Forest.

I should take a moment to say that the terrain so far has been a huge surprise. It can go from typical scrub and cactus to redwood and pine forest instantly. Hardly any transition. One minute you smell desert flowers, thd next vanilla and pine. In both the San Jacintos and San Bernadinos the centerpiece has been a giant, snow-covered mountain. Desert to forest to snow and back again.

And so, here I am just outside the San Bernadino National Forest. To the north i can see the Mojave Desert, which I will cross in a few hundred miles.

My feet are sore (bones ache), my hands have been deeply bronzed from the sun (not burned, just a deep tan) while the rest of me mostly white. Time for bed!

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