When Huell Howser came to Big Bear a few years ago to film his “Road Trip” series, the whole town was buzzing with excitement. I never caught that first airing of the Big Bear episode so when I saw that it was going to be shown again last week, I had to watch. I have to admit I’ve always liked Huell’s homespun approach to travel journalism and I was truly impressed with what he did for our little burg.
The day started off with a trip to the Discovery Center for some general information and then he got into a jeep to take a trip up to the Butler Peak Lookout. If you’ve never been up there to see the view you’re going to have to put that on your bucket list. On a clear day you can see all the way to Catalina and the Mojave Desert. Truly amazing!
Next, Huell took a boat tour and canoe trip on Big Bear Lake and received a lake history lesson from Captain John Saunders, a local institution himself. From there he went up to Snow Summit and rode the Sky Chair to the top of the mountain to film the mountain bikes cruising down the hillside. You don’t have to be an expert rider to enjoy the trails that Big Bear is famous for. Many are beginner runs, just like the ski slopes, and the views from up there are breathtaking.
No trip to Big Bear is complete without a visit to the Moonridge Animal Park. Huell and his crew spent a few hours checking out the mountain lions, grizzly bears, and dozens of other fascinating animals. Most have either been injured or become so used to people that they would potentially get into more trouble if they were re-introduced back into the wild. Next door the animal park is the Bear Mountain Golf Course and Huell walked over to say hello to a group of golfers on the first tee.
The day finished up at the Big Bear Museum for another history lesson and a tour of an authentic mountain cabin. The docents have done a great job of putting together some very interesting displays of period furniture, tools, and equipment from Big Bear’s rich mining past. It really makes you appreciate just how difficult the conditions were up here and what people had to endure to survive.
The episode closed with extra video footage of the various activities and sights that Huell experienced during his stay with the Mel Blanc song “Big Bear Lake” playing in the background. Sometimes we need to see what we have through someone else’s eyes to fully appreciate it and I have to thank Huell Howser for showing me just how lucky I am to live in Big Bear.