A quickie backpack while in Big Bear to check out the Tour de Big Bear course for August. Dropped at Holcomb Creek crossing on Friday evening and hiked in an easy 0.3 miles to camp at Little Bear Springs trail camp. No one else around - this camp appears to see very little use after the wave of north-bounders in spring. It was far from a quiet night, however, as I heard a mountain lion scream every 15 minutes for about 2 hours. A pretty blood-curdling sound to hear when you're in your sleeping bag a few feet from a spring box likely frequented by deer!
Saturday was a late start after drying my tent on the bathroom fence. After packing up, I followed the trail up along the slopes. The trail here climbs gently up from Holcomb Creek via a series of gradual switchbacks. The area is burned, but with quite a bit of regrowth including carpets of red penstemon. The hummingbirds and bees buzzed me quite aggressively - they were fat and sassy from the feast. The trail here was overgrown in spots, but nothing serious when wearing pants. Crossed a few seeps with mimulus, columbine, and orchids flowering. Soon enough, the trail winds up out of the burn, and you are among shady pines. The trail then meanders around quite gently in the shade, crossing a few FS roads, until you pop over to views of Big Bear Lake. The issue at this point is that all you can hear is speedboats on the lake - kinda ruins the peaceful experience.
Lightening forced an early eject down the Cougar Crest Trail, although it never did end up raining. The Cougar Crest Trail was very crowded with people - lost count of how many times I was asked "How much further?" Along the PCT I had seen 2 groups of 2 backpackers each, so the mobs were quite a shock. This trail was only OK, but it did offer excellent views of the lake.
Overall, my first experience on the Pacific Crest Trail was a good one, and there's no doubt I will be back.