Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eleven Mile Jaunt

I always forget how my sleep is affected at elevations of 8,000' or above. True to form I didn't sleep much but I was out in the woods so who cares? Oh yes, and that moon spotlight was an extra bonus. But I did sleep some and didn't get up till after 7 am. That's a first. 
I slowpoked around and got to hiking at 8:15 or so, only to climb up to 9,000' in the first couple of miles. The trail was nicely graded so it wasn't too difficult, even for a flat lander. This was my view all morning. 
I had an early lunch/snack at Saddle Junction where the Devils Slide Trail makes a sharp right turn and switchbacks 2.5 miles down to the trailhead at Humber Park. Another hour or so and I was back in "civilization", such as it is. 

I attempted to text Trail Angel Stacey but couldn't get through so I took off walking down the road. In less than five minutes here comes Stacey with her dog Scout! They were planning to hike up to meet me but I got there early so no hike for them. Off to the Red Kettle for a salad
and a bottomless glass of iced tea. My favorite all service resturant in Idyllwild!

Some good news is that my shoulder had improved overnight and it continued to stay that way all day. Carrying less food and water helped I reckon. So hopefully it will continue to heal, as long as I'm not carrying too much weight in a pack. 

The not-so-good news is I am back in the lowlands now and the temp is projected to be 105 today. I'm sitting outside in Mom's golfcart, having a cup of coffee and enjoying the cooler morning air, but soon it will be too hot to be outside at all.

It is amazing to me that people can live with these temperatures. They move between inside airconditioning to car air to store air, trying not to bake in between each environment. I've only been back here for a couple of days but already I've got cabin fever. I can't wait to get home to moderate temperatures where I can be outside whenever I wish. 

Here are a few random images from my two day jaunt. 

The oak gnats were trying to get into every facial orifice. I foiled them with my trusty head net!

Pine Trees and Boulders

I do believe the San Jaciento Mountains are one of my most favorite places to backpack, at least in Southern California. The backcountry is remarkably close to civilization (I'm only four miles from a road) but I'm 2,000' higher than that road and it takes a bit of effort to get here. Just that factor alone thins the crowd out a bit. 
Plus, there are these junctions. Who can decide which way to go? Up, down,'s very hard to pick which way to go when all of them lead somewhere beautiful. 
The pine trees and boulders are amazing here. Tall, tall trees and rocks the size of small houses. 
Certainly much bigger than my home for the night. 

It's been 20 days since I had a pack on and it feels wonderful to get back into the quiet again. No billboards, auto sounds, loud human voices. Only the distant, almost imperceptible sound of a far off plane now and again. 

What doesn't feel good is my shoulder where the strap on my pack presses against the front of the joint. Humph! While I was home in Santa Cruz I got an X-ray so I know nothing's broken, but X-rays don't show soft tissue damage. I wonder how long this is gonna take to heal? I hope it feels better in the morning. 

In the meantime it'll be a bright night tonight as the moon is just past full. Too bad I don't have those little eye thingies to keep out the light!

Monday, September 8, 2014


It's been threatening rain here for a couple of days. Unfortunately it has rained everywhere but here so we are stuck with humidity and heat, but no rain.
The good news is that cloudiness has helped keep the temps down into more tolerable levels and I don't want to jump off a cliff into an abyss to deal with the heat. 

Tonight after dinner I took off in the golf cart to see if I could find some nice images but I'd passed the sunset hour. I went all the way over to the horsie area where the wealthier folks hang, just to smell something earthy for a bit. Riders were finishing their evening rides and I chatted with a young woman leading a beautiful, and very large, horse. I guessed the horses size as 17 hands and was only a couple of inches off. A silly kind of pride I feel in being able, after all these years, to guess a horses size. Big, really big. 
Not the same horse but another going back to the barn. Lucky critters. 

The story of my life right now. A full moon rising over some power lines. I'm thankful for Mom's golf cart which allows me to get outside and feel the wind on my face. Soon, very soon, I'll be in the woods for a few days.