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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Churchill Fellowship Day 28: Scenery in San Bernardino

Yesterday we drove a very long winding road through the San Bernardino National Forest which mostly comprises of a series of huge mountain peaks and dense pine. It was a truly beautiful drive taking us up to around 6000ft before dropping us down to Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Lake is a massive water source nestled in the peaks, it’s a popular holiday destination, turning into a ski resort in the winter. The water is a brilliant blue colour and the surrounding pines are full of local fauna.

I get quite excited about lizards. I keep reptiles at home and am always unbelievably happy when I get to see them in the wild. This area was teeming with the little critters! We even managed to sneak a peak of a juvenile Gilbert’s Skink (using google to identify him) as he burrowed underground. I didn’t catch a picture but he had the brightest electric blue tail I have ever seen!

We were in the area to check out the Alpine Pedal Path, this is an accessible paved route that took us from the edge of the lake up onto the mountain to the discovery centre. It was, for the most part, a lovely smooth roll with a gentle incline. The views over the lake area and the boarding over the grassland was probably my favourite parts.

Image Description: An accessible lakeside view from the very edge of the Pedal Path, the blue water expands either side and you’re able to see peaks across the water. The sky mimics the blue of the water (or vice versa!).

Compared to the trails we had experienced in the Rockies in Colorado and Colorado Springs this path felt decidedly less wild. The tarmac cut through the landscape a little more and didn’t meander as much as I had become accustomed to. It was also interesting to note that the tarmac, although mostly smooth, was not as comfortable to roll on as the stone dust paths I had experienced previously. This surprised me quite a lot and is certainly something to take note of in the development of adaptive hiking.

The ranger station and discovery centre was very nice. It offered accessible toilets, parking and a viewpoint across to the opposite peaks. It was clearly designed as an education centre, and it was a good opportunity to learn a little more about the local wildlife and plants.

The Big Bear Lake area was ultimately very charming with lots of little eateries and activities centred around the lake. I am always confounded by how different every area is in feel and landscape and California, so far, has been quite well rounded in its offering. I’m looking forward to exploring a little more of what this state has to offer. I will admit the weather here is a massive bonus too!

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