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So I wrote my blog last night, set my apps to update over wifi overnight and went to sleep. I woke up and reached for my phone to see what time it was. My phone was completely unresponsive. I pressed the reset buttons and the white screen and apple logo appeared. I waited and I waited. I went to the loo. When I came back it was still on the logo screen. This didn’t look good. I tried not to panic. I tried to reset it. That didn’t work. I tried not to panic. I tried to go back to sleep. But I just lay awake, panicking.

How will I communicate with anyone? How will I write? How will I put money on my card? How will I navigate? How will I know where the water is? How will I stalk my future husband on instagram? How will I know what the time is?!?

I am so dependent on my phone. It’s utterly terrifying.

I lay awake for over an hour. The knot of anxiety swelling inside me. I heard Catwater get up and even though it was still dark I said ‘I’ve got a huge problem’. I was able to use her phone to look for a solution online, and when nothing worked I called Apple, who told me I had to connect to iTunes. I told them it wasn’t that easy and they said there was nothing else I could do.

So after a few phone calls and some more panicking I was told the UPS store has a computer and they are very hiker friendly. They didn’t open until 8:30 so we went to get breakfast. The knot of anxiety – which I could not control despite trying really hard – controlled my appetite, I wasn’t at all hungry. I made myself eat eggs and potatoes.

We found the UPS store and the man was super helpful, he let me download iTunes to the PC and I connected my phone. Nothing. I called Apple again. They tried a few things but it still didn’t work. ‘You have to go to an Apple Store’ they said. Shit.

Catwater says, ok we’ll rent a car and drive to the nearest one and get it sorted out. The anxiety knot was now in control of my face too. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her to help me. On the way to the rental place (which we couldn’t find) we saw two hikers we saw yesterday afternoon and they asked us if we wanted a ride back to the trail. If we had been going back to the trail that would have been awesome but of course we weren’t. When we got there they had no cars. Oh this day just gets better and better! But Jose was wonderful (if he hadn’t have been I would have cried) and he made a call to someone who was late bringing their car back and we were on our way within about 15 minutes.

We went back to the hostel, chucked our stuff in the boot (I left my nutritious smoothie in the fridge, bugger) and set off for the 40 mile journey to Rancho Cucamonga. Catwater drove (I mean technically I probably could have hired a car, but I don’t have my glasses and I haven’t driven a car for over 18 months, so this probably isn’t the best time to start, what with America driving on the wrong side of the road and all that). The road was very wiggly and I was worried that I was going to get carsick but I held it together. As we descended from Big Bear to LA it got hotter and hotter and by the time we arrived at the enormous outdoor shopping mall we were hit with a wall of heat as we stepped out of the car. It’s like 90 degrees down here. I had been psyching myself up in the car to be prepared to have to buy a new phone.

We found the Apple Store and like every Apple Store in the world it was packed full of people. I joined the queue and explained my problem to the man. He was AMAZING. The wait to be seen was 3.5 hours but he told me he would get me seen in the next 10 minutes because I was travelling. I didn’t even ask, he just did that for me. I was seen within 5 minutes. He plugged my phone into the computer, reset it back to factory settings and then restored it. Thank god I have everything backed up to iCloud and and the only things I lost was my text messages which I can live without, and yesterday’s photos which is annoying but not the end of the world.

All my photos and contact and emails were still there but I had to then reinstall all of the apps I needed, log into everything, re-download everything – podcasts, books, maps… but at least it was working and I still have some money!

The knot melted away. Just like that. I also had to remind myself that it is just a phone and that was much easier to fix than a broken leg. We found somewhere in the sprawling mass of glass covered shops to have something to eat. Truly delicious blackened shrimp taquitos, one of the best meals I have had since I’ve been here! We made a quick visit to REI before we left as it was just across the street and I nearly got sucked into buying the brand new Jetboil MightyMo and an Arc’teryx waterproof jacket but I restrained myself.

We drove away from LA, away from the noise and madness of the shopping centre, away from the Christmas songs and the intense heat, back to the quiet and coolness of Big Bear. And tomorrow we will be back in the woods. Phew.

We decided, well Catwater decided that we would stay at the Holiday Inn rather than the hostel again. The hostel, run by Sarge, is a great place for hikers, he has everything you could need. But the beds were quite uncomfortable and it was pretty noisy. This was a good decision. The beds were covered in princess pillows and we didn’t have to leave our room to go to the bathroom.

We still have the car so we go to the shop to buy some extra bits and pieces and then out for food of course! We went to the Big Bear Brewing company and had another really good meal. I’m semi relaxed, but still anxious about my phone going tits up overnight again. I’m super tired but not sure how well I will sleep.

I did everything I could. I showered, moisturised, at a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys and sunk into the the wonderful pillows.


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.