Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 14 - Milestones

I started my day at 7,786' and ended it,13 hours later, at 1,608'. Today represented the largest elevation drop on the whole PCT and it took 14 miles of veeerrryyyy long switchbacks to accomplish the task. It was overcast till late afternoon which made the walking easier but still, quite a long, relentless downhill day to get to water at the faucet. 

Once down we decided to continue on another six miles, supposedly all flat, in order to get to Ziggy and The Bears place in Whitewater. I was already hurting due to the long downhill day but I valantly started out, into the hot, late afternoon sun. The first mile was asphalt and steep. Finally we got to trail tread and within a mile the sand started. If I was to tell you I was hating life right then would that convey my feelings about those last four miles? I was swearing like a sailor. Or maybe worse than a sailor if there is such a thing. We did get here but I was seriously dragging my ass the last few miles. I was very cranky. Where is the milestone part? Well it was my first 20 mile day. One which I don't wish to repeat anytime soon. 

I wasn't able to take many photos today as my solar charged battery is on the fritz and I didn't have much juice. I'm not sure what to do as I use the phone for all electronic stuff. Photos, blogging and of course, as a phone. I guess I'll try tomorrow to order a new one and have it sent ahead.

Oh yes, the final milestone of the day?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 13 - San Jacinto Mountains

It is a bit after 1pm and I've just lunched at the junction of the PCT and the trail coming down from San Jacinto peak. 2 Bubbies went the way of the peak and I went the official PCT route, my choice being one mile shorter and slightly less elevation gain. But only slightly. 

Our last words to each other were that we'd meet at this junction at noon. After we parted ways it became clear to me that I would never be able to hike 4.5 miles in two hours but I certainly did make the effort. As it turned out it took me three hours and I imagined them sitting about, waiting for me. But when I got here they weren't here. I don't know if they are still walking to this place or if we've missed one another. For now it's a wait and see game. One of the downsides of splitting up. 

Mile 191 - Fuller Ridge Trailhead. 
I have no idea how I thought I was going to be able to do 16 miles today. Most of the morning was climbing, mile after mile. Then after lunch (they arrived soon after I wrote the above) we tackled the Fuller Ridge Trail, five miles of traversing numerous ridges. Up, levelish, down, up, get the idea. Most of the trail was easy underfoot but sometimes I felt like I was walking on ball bearings. Part of the trail is on the north side of the mountain, with very steep dropoffs, and there was still snow in spots. Now I understand why people sometimes bypass this area. Spooky. I only sipped and fell on the snow once - no harm, no foul.  

We are dry camping tonight so five miles back I had to gather three+ liters of water to have until tomorrow when we arrive at Snow Creek where there is a water faucet. Of all things! I believe this will be 16 miles from this spot. All downhill. We originally hoped to get to Ziggy and The Bears place tomorrow night but there is no way I'm going to walk 21 miles if it isn't necessary. And it isn't necessary!
Trail Angel Stacey got us to the trailhead at 6:30am this morning. I managed to get some photos. 

12.5 long miles today. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 12 - Ready, set, go!

I am so ready to be back on the trail. So ready. Last night, after that long walk, everything I owned hurt. When folks asked about my toe I realized I didn't even notice any pain, at least from my toe. That seems to be a good omen. Finally I'm gonna get back out on the trail. 

Today we did try to drive up to the top of Black Mountain to drop off some water for ourselves but after two rough miles by road, we found the way blocked with a locked gate. Winter blockage, even though there isn't any winter to be seen anywhere abouts. So that means for the latter part of tomorrow we will be carrying a full load (4+liters) of water. From mid day tomorrow till the next day, there will be no water to be found. Such is life on the old dusty trail. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 11 - 19 mile slack pack

Phew! After not walking for a week I spent the day walking from Idyllwild to the Paradise Corners with TC and DBG. Because of the Mountain Fire of 2013 big chunks of the PCT are closed to travel so people are finding all kinds of ways to deal with the issue. Some are just by-passing the section all together and hitch hiking from the junction to town, others are finding creative ways to piece together a route on the ground. We took the second option and made a wandering path from Idyllwild to Paradise Corners, downhill and widderskins. 

Along the way we swung by McCall horse park and came across three folks at a picinic table who are doing the same kind of thing, only going the standard direction. It was Halfmile (of the Halfmile's Maps fame), his wife Deb and another hiker named All Day Long. We exchanged info about the trail in each direction and parted ways. 

Nineteen miles is a long way, especially when half of it is on roads. We had hoped to be at Paradise Crossroads by 5pm but when Stacey pulled up by me (being the last in line) we were still not quite there...I'd say less than a mile remained but I was happy to park my sorry self in her vehicle. Dang it was good to be off my feet. The good news? We managed to link together something that will make the ban of walking through the burn area more tolerable. Boots on the ground!
Road walking. 
Trail carnage. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 10 - Getting ready

The Bubbies have arrived!

Our current plan is to slack pack (walk a distance without all one's gear, getting dropped off at one point and picked up at an end point) the section between Paradise Cafe and Idyllwild.  AKA, 'traveling light.' We'll be heading off in the morning and will see how far we get. 
More fun to come...