My wife and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary in big bear on the weekend of 3/9/13 in Big Bear, CA. We had a great time! It was her first time in Big Bear and I hadn't been in 7 years so it was good to escape to this southern California gem.
It had snowed during the week and the entire place was white when we showed up, the streets were clear unfortunately
but everything else was covered in snow. It was beautiful. We didn't go for skiing or boarding, my wife is too chicken. We just went to get away, go shopping, sight seeing, hiking, wheeling(not planned, I'll explain later), and playing with wolves. That's right wolves.
So without further adieu, we started our vacation in Lucerne Valley at the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary on Saturday. My wife works with a volunteer so we got some sweet access.
Introducing my self to a 10 month old timberwolf pup
The only problem with them is we couldn't take them home
My wife and I
They were so much like dogs it was hard not to drop your guard. Even though I felt safe around them as they had been trained, I was standing next to and offering my appendages to an animal with approximately 2000 pounds of bite force...
The man petting there is Three Feathers, he trains the wolves. He was with them from their birth. They loved him and you could tell. Their tails were wagging like crazy as soon as he walked in.
My personal favorite picture of one of the pups eating a carrot.
Three Feathers disciplining one of the pups for not sharing the carrot with the other pup.
Our friend who volunteers there hadn't been there in a month and they both missed her. They wouldn't stop licking her when she was near.
They took to me quite well
This is in a different cage, she was the only arctic wolf and a real lovebug. I was told not to pet her stomach since I'm a male and she would bite me thinking I'm trying to go for her ::ahem:: hoo ha, as it were.
Funny story here. I was petting her chest in front of her leg, but she lifted her leg and put it over my arm as if to say, 'no, pet here'. So, I went back to her chest and sure enough she moved her leg over again. It was hillarious.
The Alpha, we weren't allowed in his cage. He's potentially violent to strangers and he only trusts the people who work at the facility. He was scary.
The Omega. She was very timid and scared when we entered the cage. She was pacing a lot and didn't come near me and my wife. The owner of the facility said she might have been abused by a man as a puppy so she won't go near men. In fact, it took our friend 5 months before the omega would come up to her. This time it took about 30 minutes before she was comfortable.
2 videos and I'm done with the wolves I promise.
These are the wolves howling. The first video is one of the hybrids(half wolf, half dog) they had there reacting to the howling.
This wolf always had to have the last howl, you can see that in the video, very funny personality quirk.
Okay, after that we headed up the back way on the 18 highway to Big Bear. My wife surprised me when she said let's go off roading and take some pictures. I happily obliged.
Navigating this deceptively treacherous rock garden. It doesn't look like much here but to the side is a 50 foot drop.
Went over that particular section a few times because it was really fun, and then we headed up to Big Bear.
On Sunday, we did the usual breakfast, shopping, playing in the snow, and then my wife said she wanted to go to the Holcomb Valley mine. I had my fun now it was time for her fun. For those who aren't familiar with the area, Holcomb Valley is on the North Shore of Big Bear near Fawnskin. I didn't know it at the time, but it also has a lot of Jeep trails. So, we looked up how to get to the Holcomb Valley mine and we ended up in the middle of nowhere off a dirt road next to a YMCA campground. It wasn't where we were supposed to go apparently but it was a beautiful view. It was so nice, we went hiking.
It was warming up and the snow was melting fast. The dirt road that we took to get there was a slush fest through mud. It was really fun. Then we stumbled on this mud bath. I had no choice
Feeling thoroughly pleased with myself
After that we went back down the road to find a local to give us some directions. It wasn't very helpful. So, I found some different directions online which told us to take 3N17 I believe. I can't remember the trail numbers exactly I'm going off memory here. It might have also been 4N38?? Sorry, I was having too much fun to remember. Either way we never saw the mine, but I think based on what I saw we were in the valley.
This was at an open area where a lot of 4 wheelers were stopped. I decided to take in the view...of my FJ. My wife thought I was such a dork.
Beautiful views of Big Bear Lake from this trail. I had no idea there was a network of fantastic trails up there until my wife FORCED me to go off roading.
I believe this was Holcomb valley. I'm not 100 percent sure, but the people we were following said this was it.
A well earned break after a hard days work. What started out as seeing a mine turned into off roading with my wife. She loved it, I loved it, and we had a great time.
Things I learned from this trip:
-My wife loves off roading because she gets to see beautiful places.
-My love for her grows every time we do things like this together.
-A stock 2WD FJ with locker is very capable, I was able to go places I didn't think I would be able to go. Anytime I saw a tough obstacle I said, 'what the heck, let's see' and we made it.
-The tires I have aren't all that bad in the mud. In some places it was pretty thick, but we just kept on truckin
-I definitely need a roof rack, it sucked having all the gear and shovel rattling in the back.
-I should probably get some recovery equipment and a compressor.
-Big Bear is great for off roading