Although I got a good early start on getting up and was happy to see my shorts were dry, after collecting and filtering water and filming a long video documenting the hot springs and packing up, it was 9am before I started hiking.
For the next nine miles, I was just clearing following the creek upstream through the long and winding cabin. Eventually, the trail reached a bridge over the creek and starts to climb up toward Big Bear Lake, leaving the creek behind. I stopped under the bridge for lunch.
Four miles later, the trail dropped into a shallower ravine, following Holcomb Creek for a few miles. Three miles upstream, the trail comes near the creek for the last time, the last place to collect water before Big Bear Lake. I stopped and filled my water bag all the way. The sun was on its way out when I started climbing again.
The trail now entered a wide valley floored wall to wall with sandy/rocky buttes like frozen ocean swells brushy with shrubs. Despite the deepening twilight, I could easily see the white sandstone trail without a headlamp for another hour. The temperature was dropping, though, and I eventually stopped to put on a coat and a headlamp.
Six miles from the creek was Little Bear Springs Camp, an established trail camp with a picnic table, a corral, an open air solar-power-vented privy, and a water faucet with no water to provide. I cooked at the table while setting up my tent in the nearest thing to a level piece of clear ground available on the hillside, then made my way to bed.
Total distance: 22 miles