Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Hunt For a Souvenir Lighter

May 16: I woke up early to hit Big Bear first thing in the morning. I hiked about five miles to Highway 18, where I spotted two hikers trying to hitch a ride into town: Cash and Danimal. They said they'd been there for a couple of hours, unsuccessful in hitching a ride. That didn't sound very promising. I had a backup plan, however, which involved the liberal use of the cell phone I bought for my hike. =)

The first call I tried to make was to my sister, Tierra, who planned to drive out to visit me in Big Bear. If she were close, she could pick us up. It was probably a little too early for her to be in the area, but it didn't hurt to check! Alas, she was just leaving Riverside at the time. She wouldn't get there for another hour or two. But I wasn't done making calls. Oh, no.... I also had the foresight to write down the phone number for a hostel in town that offered free rides to and from the trailhead. I didn't really want to stay in the hostel, but for a free ride.... yeah, I'd consider it. =)

So I tried calling the hostel, and they said that they were pretty busy at the moment, but that they could pick us up in about a half hour or so and recommended that we try to hitch a ride instead. Okay, at least I knew we could get us out of there within a half hour or so. I wrote down contact information for another hostel in the area, and decided to try calling them to see if they had shuttles for hikers. They didn't, but recommended I try hitchhiking since most hikers didn't have any problem getting rides from that location. All the while, Cash and Danimal continued trying to hitch a ride from every passing car.

Before I even finished hanging up on my latest call, a car pulled over offering the three of a ride. =) That must have annoyed Cash and Danimal--I hadn't even been on the side of the road for five minutes, and hadn't even stuck out my thumb yet, and after two hours of trying to hitch a ride, I got one from their hard efforts. Somehow, I found this rather amusing. I called the hostel during the ride into town to tell them we got a ride and no shuttle was necessary.

I got dropped off at the Motel 6--I wanted a room for myself rather than sharing space in a hostel--and immediately took a shower and started doing laundry. An hour or so later, my sister arrived, and I had a chance to get online and catch up with e-mails and bills.

We went out for lunch at Sizzler, then Tierra drove me around Big Bear to resupply. It was very convenient having her and her car around. Big Bear is spread out over several miles, and it's terribly hard to get everywhere a hiker needs for resupplying on foot. The post office was miles away from the hardware store, for instance, and the hardware store was nowhere near any supermarkets. So Tierra shuttled me around.

One special item I needed was a lighter. Every long distance hike, I've always carried a stupid little tourist souvenir lighter for lighting my stove, burning the ends of rope to prevent them from fraying, or start fires or whatever I need. On my Appalachian Trail hike, I took the train to Atlanta and picked up a souvenir lighter during a layover in New Orleans. During my Florida Trail hike, I picked up a souvenir lighter in Key West the day I started my hike. On the Pacific Crest Trail.... I had a plain, boring old lighter. I wanted something touristy written on it as a souvenir of my hike.

I was so convinced I could find one in Big Bear, I gave my lighter away the evening before to a hiker who somehow ended up without one, and kept bumming for lights every time he stopped for a break. "Keep this one," I told him. "I wanted to buy a new one anyhow."

So Tierra and I went in search of a souvenir lighter. We went into gift shopes, convenience stores, and a bunch of other places, but nobody had any. Several recommend that we visit the liquor store, which we did, but again, no souvenir lighters. Two hours later, we finally cried uncle. I still needed a lighter, though, so I bought another plain, boring old lighter with a solid, light blue color, almost idential to the one I gave away the day before. *sigh* Someday, I'll find a souvenir lighter for the trail, but it astounds me that such a tourist trap as Big Bear had nothing. It was very disappointing.

The rest of the afternoon, I spent typing up these blog entries for your reading pleasure. =) Tierra left that evening, taking her laptop with her, so I resorted to watching television the rest of the night. Including, I'm ashamed to admit, the season finale for Desperate Housewives. The intrigue! The backstabbing! It sucked me in. Then I went to sleep.

1 comment:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Betcha could buy a souvenir lighter online.....probably even saying Pacific Crest Trail, too.


Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers