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!


  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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