Last week I went to Big Bear Lake with most of my coworkers for a retreat. We rented out a six-bedroom house right on the shores of the lake and spent three nights in the 6,752 foot atmosphere. It was invigorating to be above the thin haze of LA smog, walking in the crispness of the cool February mornings. There was some snow still packed hard into shady hollows but I still climbed the hill behind the house in flip flops and a light jacket–the paradox of California, where the adventurous can almost ski to a sunny beach and immediately get on a surfboard and swim out past the waves.
As the name would suggest, Big Bear does have bears. Despite my desire to encounter one they were as elusive as the bald eagles we searched unsuccessfully for. The only wildlife I actually saw were smaller birds and some chipmunks. One afternoon I walked along the shore of the lake to a double-deckered dock, resisting the temptation to borrow a canoe that was tied there, and went to the top floor to enjoy the beauty. Four large pelicans stood in the still water to my left, shining brilliant white against the deep blue lake.
You can actually watch the eagles live through a camera set up at one of the nests. Two baby eagles hatched in the days following our visit. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/LNdo6wu_Xug