Friday April 14 — day 19

I got up early and started hiking with the thought of a _real_ breakfast in Big Bear.  I cranked out six miles in record time!  

My memories of Big Bear are of a forested area in the middle of mountains above San Bernadino.  I learned today that Big Bear is just one tidge away from a stop drop down into the dessert near Yucca and Landers, so I was surprised to see Joshua Trees


And sweeping desert views


I reached Hwy 18 and started thumbing.  It was just me, so I tried to clean myself up and comb my scraggly hair with a wet bandana.  It looked only slightly better…

Ok, dear reader, I need you to sit down because this next bit is just too much to take standing up — it certainly was for me…

Within 5 minutes and about as many cars, a solo woman drove by, saw me and pulled over to give me a ride.  We started chatting and she asked me where I was from.  “Los Gatos, near San Jose, but I grew up in Costa Mesa”, I said.  

“Oh, I grew up in Newport Beach, small world!” She said, “Where did you go to school — I went to Newport Harbor High.”

“Wow” I replied, “I went to Estancia High but I know a lot of people that went to NHH because of the St James Eppiscopal Youth Group I was in.”

She looked hard at me and said “What is your name? I’m Suki”

“Not Suki ______?” I asked (last name redacted at her request).

“Yes, I am”…..

Whoa…  we both started tearing up (as I am now as I write this).  

One summer when I was about 16 I helped with activities for the Jr Youth Goup.  I still remember only two of those great kids and Suki was one because of her happy, fun loving spirit.  I have not seen Suki in all these years but she is the only Suki I ever knew and I periodically have wondered what’s become of her.  I am blown away by this meeting!  What are the odds?

I’m now wearing my rain clothes sitting in the laundromat waiting to check in to the local Motel 6.

Side note: Gregg Gatewood, if you are reading, your little sister, Cari(?) is the other great kid I recall.

I may post more later….  my head is spinning.

Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “Friday April 14 — day 19”

  1. Just read about Suki, wow! No way to explain it, but Trail Magic!! Of the ultimate kind. That is why I love the PCT, you never know what she and the Trail Gods are going to give you. My husband and I were just day hiking last weekend on Onyx Summit and to the north. Sorry we missed you, have so enjoyed reading your blog and your pictures – just stunning. They bring back many memories of our journeys on that ribbon of dirt that connects us. Best of wishes, and as they say, Happy Trails to you!

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  2. Dale, loved your story about Suki! That is truly incredible. So glad the trail is being good to you. I’ve now signed up for daily emails so I remember to read your blog. It’s well written – lively and interesting. I’m just not on FB as often anymore, so it’s good to be reminded. Have fun, be safe!

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