Mount San Jacinto
PCT DAY 8.. April 13th 10 miles Windy and cool..
Woke late at the Warner Springs Campground and headed into the golf club diner for hash browns and eggs! Picked up my resupply box of goodies from the Post Office and recharged phones etc before heading back to the campground and packing up.
Left Warner Springs around mid day and had a relaxed hike of 10 miles to mile 119.. camped at Lost Valley Spring.. 4300 feet up in the mountains perched on a ledge with an awesome view! Wind picking up.. and temperature expected to drop below freezing tonight as the cold front goes through?! Brrrrr
I must have unknowingly brushed up against a cactus sometime today as I was walking??! I won’t be ‘unknowingly’ doing that again!!! I spent the best part of a couple of hours picking fine cactai hairs and thorns out of my trouser leg.. boot and even my LEG??! Will definitely try to avoid that in the future as I’m sure there are still a bundle of hairs and spikes in place.. just too dark to see them!!
Papa Pacer not having the best time with his feet and will take it a little easier tomorrow.. so I’ll go on ahead.. Sad to part but has been a privilege hiking and learning from one who has completed the Appalation Trail (AT) and at 65 is now doing the PCT! You are my inspiration and I will sadly miss you! Happy hiking..
PCT DAY 9.. April 14th 26 miles -2C in the morning.. 36C during the day!
Woke at 5am to an iced tent! Breakfast and packed! Managed the biggest day yet as far as distance with 26 miles.. almost 47 kilometers!! Hard going up and down rough mountain terrain! First solo day since day 2..
More harsh dry desert scenery.. but beautiful.. flowers are out for the first time in years due to the wettest winter since 1983!Very peaceful! Dried the tent during a break for lunch and continued on to a water tank at mile 145.4.
PCT DAY 10.. April 15th 26 miles/47 kms Hot dry day!
Started from the Water Tank at mile 145.4 and hiked to Paradise Valley Cafe for breakfast and package pick up! (A box containing all my cold weather gear and crampons for Mt San Jacinto which had been posted from Mt Laguna on my shake down to reduce weight for the last few days!)
Paradise Valley Cafe was well worth the mile hike off track along the road.. and the mile back to the track! Everyone super friendly and the food great!
Then decided to hike through to the closed portion of the trail at mile 166.6 and the reroute on Forbes Ranch Trail! The closure is due to a fire some years ago and apparently that portion of the PCT is still unsafe so I am now part way through this huge reroute?! The mountains and the trail today were difficult will very little to say for the trail.. I guess most people miss this section as it is a HUGE climb and nil water sources! They instead hitch a lift to Idyllwild.. I should get there tomorrow! Almost ran out of water.. and finally located the only water source after the mountains.. a tiny trickle.. about a mile down the Forbes Ranch Trail!
Camped.. like the day.. solo.. at a tiny spot just as the light was running out! Quicky Ramen noodles for dinner and now in bed at 9pm!! A long hard slog today.. beautiful scenery but glad it’s over! This hike so far has been from water source to water source.. and when those sources are dry.. it adds to the stress of running out?!
Happy to be in bed.. n know I’ll sleep like a log! Looking forward to being in Idyllwild tomorrow afternoon! Goodnight..
PCT DAY 11.. April 16th 16 miles to the beautiful little mountain resort of Idyllwild
Got up at 5.30 and set off on the remainder of the reroute due to a forest fire closure! Very hot day and not too exciting as a good part of it was along the road!
Arrived in Idyllwild at about 2pm to be welcomed by Hiker Box… Motzart and Paul sitting at an open air pub as I walked by! Joined them and enjoyed a burger and beer! Stayed for a few hours as others also started to arrive.. though most had hitched a ride from Paradise Cafe rather than attempt the Forest Fite closure and reroute!
Camped the night with about 15 other hikers at the State Park Campground in Idyllwild.. showered and laundered clothes so feeling pretty good.. and certainly smelling more of roses than the sweat and grime of the last few days!
PCT DAY 12.. April 17th 10 miles
Started from Idyllwild at 12.15 mid day after resupply and packing up! Walked the Deer Spring Trail for approximately 6 miles and climbed from approximately 5500 feet to over 8500 feet! A two hour uphill climb! Reached the PCT and continued as the wind picked up to gale force and the snow gradually increased in both frequency and depth! Awesome scenery but extremely hard going! Eventually met up with Wade.. a section hiker from San Diego.. and we decided to pitch tents before the wind increased further (which it did during the night!) and the temperature plummeted! Ate dinner and was met by Motzart.. another hiker whom I’d met before and shortly thereafter by another 9 hikers who had joined forces for safety! It is extremely easy to get lost on the mountain when all trails are covered by snow!! Fuller Ridge tomorrow if the wind dies.. let’s see??!
PCT DAY 13.. April 18th 25 miles -5C in the mountainsWoke this morning to a howling gale above us.. luckily we were somewhat sheltered on the ground behind a few boulders near Fuller Ridge at 8500 feet! Clear morning but below freezing!
Up and off without breakfast as Wade.. Motzart and myself wanted to catch the frozen snow and ice crossing Fuller Ridge that morning.. very little post holing as everything was so frozen.. but DEFINITELY needed crampons and spikes to avoid sliding off the Ridge! Spectacular scenery but obviously VERY slow going till we’d made the other side a couple of hours later.. and then spent the rest of the day descending San Jacinto mountain from 8500 feet to 1500 feet.. and back to the baking desert!
Camping in a gully about a mile north of Interstate 10.. still howling a gale but the chill has disappeared! 8pm and off to bed!! Pretty exhausted but one of the most exciting days yet.. with spectacular scenery and awesome views! Thanks Wade and Motzart!
PCT DAY 14.. April 19th 16 miles.. HOT.. dry and arid!
Left camp at 6.30 and labored through the day! Hot.. hard and sore feet! Got into an idyllic little camp at the bottom of a ravine by Mission Creek at 3pm and I was done for the day!!
Seems like we’ve (Motzart and myself) been climbing one enormous switchback after another just to descend the other side?! Never seems to end and tomorrow we’ll be climbing this ravine non stop for about 13 miles/20 kms before we reach the top around mid day tomorrow.. we’re starting at 4am to try to beat the intense heat of the day!!
Wade left us this morning as he has completed his section hike.. (just on 100 miles) and is heading back to work in San Diego..
Early night as off to bed now at 7pm.. listening to the gurgle of water over rocks just feet away! Pretty shattered.. and hope tomorrow will be a little better??
PCT DAY 15.. April 20th 20 miles.. Night hike from 4am!
Woke at 4 to get as much of the uphill complete before the ferocious heat set in! Night hiked with a head lamp till about 6.30am and managed to cover a good 4 to 5 miles before the sun came up.. made the top of the climb by mid day as had hoped!
Motzart sprinted on and I met up with Wookie.. a retired vet from Afghanistan.. and we hiked the rest of the day together.. through the Lake Fire Closure.. (though it is now open) and stopped at a pretty amazing ‘yellow’ Creek to top up water supplies and have lunch!
Made camp near Coon Creek Cabin at 8600 feet up in the mountains at 4pm.. now well within the doable 20 miles tô Big Bear City tomorrow! Dinner with Wookie (Gary) and into tents to keep warm by 7pm! Blowing hard outside.. and getting pretty chilly once the sun goes down! No problem as I’m wrapped up in my fleece sleeping bag! Hard day.. but a good day.. and looking forward to getting into Big Near tomorrow for my first ‘off’ day!
PCT DAY 16.. April 21st 20 miles Literally a walk in the woods!
After waking.. packing up and breakfast.. Wookie and myself pressed on with the determination to make Big Bear by the end of the day! I think at this stage too.. we were both spurred on by the thought that just over the horizon lay all our ‘food’ dreams!
We passed through some beautifully wooded mountains and valleys and more patches of snow until we descended to the lower elevations and approached Big Bear! Again.. some stunning scenery looking south towards the ‘north’ face of the San Gorgonio mountains.. still firmly covered in snow.. and the pristine beauty of pine and birch as we passed through the forests before this finally gave out to the drier desert below!
Once we reached Highway 18 we quickly found a lift for the 6 to 7 mile ride to Big Bear Lake and decided to share a room at Snow Bear Lodge to cut costs!
A beautiful day.. and Wookie’s first 20 miler on the PCT! I think that might in part be due to the fact that he had a ‘Rattler close behind.. THE WHOLE WAY into Big Bear?!!
PCT DAY 17.. April 22nd 0 miles!
Today is an ‘off’ day.. or what we call a ‘zero’ day here on the PCT.. one to relax and recuperate.. wash clothes.. shower and resupply! But mainly ‘zero’ miles.. and a good rest!