With only 10 miles to Big Bear, I thought I might try deviating from my foot elevation regime (I had been elevating for 15-20 minutes every 5 miles or so. Coyote, Grasshopper, Rebecca, Poet, Far Out and I all left at the same time, but I quickly fell behind. Both ankles hurt so damned bad. They all stopped at the top of a hill and I muttered something about continuing past them so they could get ahead of me again later. They did. Excruciating, frustrating, terrible walk.
Finally, at the bottom of a long hill, there was Highway 18. Poet and Rebecca had hitched into town already and were driving her rental car back. I sat with the remaining three, turned on my phone, and saw a message from Coach and First Class, who were 6 minutes away. Amazing timing. They appeared with beer, watermelon and car space, just in time to help ferry in a few other hikers who came down (Terrible, Horrible, and some unmemorable couple). We all sat telling stories for a bit, then the drivers divided up the passengers and Far Out and I were shuttled to the Motel 6, since the hostel was full. There was pizza and bad TV and worse cell reception.