Ask for forgiveness.
If you get caught, bite the bullet. If you don't get caught, celebrate.
That's how I approached this latest fire closure.
Every hiker I met seemed to offer some speculation the week leading up to the I-10 crossing. After I-10, a big chunk of the PCT was listed as closed. The advertised fine for crossing the closed section of the PCT was $2,500.
Ultimately, in my estimation, 10% decided to hike through in spite of the potential fine. Another 10% road walked around.
About 15 miles of the 90 PCT miles between Idyllwild and Big Bear Lake were encompassed by a forrest fire last year.
Logistically, this fire compromised about 50 miles of the trail for thru-hikers. And we'll say about 80% of hikers decided to take the shuttle from Ziggy and the Bear's near I-10 up to Big Bear Lake to skip those 50 miles.
Ziggy and the Bear are a retired couple who have been taking in hikers since 1996 (they politely declined a photo).
Let's call Ziggy and the Bear a full scale operation. They take your photo, give you a visitor number, and order Little Ceasar's pizza every night at 6:30pm.
About 40 hikers were there with me the night I stayed. As of that night, 900 hikers had passed through. We all slept on the carpeted backyard. And after all was said and done, only myself, the German, a man from Holland, and a couple from England decided to take on the fire closure.
We ventured into the unknown with artificial confidence. An article, from a couple weeks ago, stated that no one had been cited yet.
If I know one thing about this world, it's pretty darn tough to be the first person to do anything, including getting fined.
To inflate our confidence further, different locals of Idyllwild assured us that we'd get through undetected.
So we went. By the time we set up camp at the very edge of the fire closure we were joined by 5 more hikers that were previously a day behind.
The fire closure closely resembled the regular trail. The added risk was from the half dozen or so trees sporadically blocking the trail and the threat of a "widow maker" (a randomly falling tree brach).
I saw no one.
I escaped unscathed, and I assume the others did as well. I was last in line.
Time to celebrate. The walk from Mexico to Canada remains in tact.