Wednesday, April 17, 2019 – 14.40 miles
The weather was perfect today, sunny and warm but not too hot. The trail provided views back to Big Bear Lake before curving behind Delamar Mountain, where it crossed a handful of easy snow patches.
Entering the Butler II fire burn area, I ended up behind a party of four horseback riders. Particularly near snow but also elsewhere, the ground was still damp beneath a dusting of dry earth, so their hooves were making deep indentations in the path.
In other places a hoofstep (it’s a word now) had crumbled the edge of the trail, which is surely terrifying for the rider. Does ‘three points of contact’ apply to horses? Eventually the hoofprints cut directly up the slope to avoid a fallen log. I didn’t see them again after that, so my theory is that the riders retreated to a forest road shown on the map as being above. Come back when the trail is dry.
I walked to the Little Bear Springs trail camp, which has an outhouse and picnic table. The designated camping area is small, at least for the number of hikers on the PCT nowadays. Three tents were already pitched there, and two more hikers had arrived at the same time as me, with another couple on the trail just behind. eTrails mentions better campsites slightly further down the trail, so I walked the short distance and found a decent place to camp beneath some trees. More hikers appeared. One man crossed to the other side of the creek to set up camp there, but most crammed into the designated camping area. Fools! One snorer and you’re all doomed!