Last Tuessday, after a day of rest, my leg still hurt. But biscuits and gravy first thing in the morning got me back to the trail. Along with Jim, Charlie, and Furniture, I got a ride back to the trail head, and prepared for a day in the snow. We walked 2.5 miles up hill back to the PCT where our Mt. San Jacinto and Fuller Ridge traverse started. The day began with complete snow coverage, then a couple miles of dry trail, then tons more snow and route finding. As we were a bit lost for a moment, Robbie, who hiked last year, caught us and we found the trail again for a short bit. Then it was back to snow navigation and very slow travel. My left quad was still hurting quite badly by the end of the day, so I was very grateful for a warm night, over looking Palm Springs to the east. It took about 9 hours to travel 12 miles, it was really tough, but I'm glad I didn't miss the section of trail.
Wednesday started with a waterless 15 mile descent from 8000 feet to about 2700 feet. And it was hot. I made it on less than 3 quarts of water and was very dehydrated at the end. There was a water fountain at the bottom, put in by the local utility company for PCT users. 6 of us huddled behind a small rock for the only shade around.
After trying to drink water and get down lunch, which the heat was making hard to stomach, Furniture and I were on our way again. 5 miles across hot, sandy, and amazingly windy desert. When surrounded by wind turbines you know its not gonna be a great place for calm walking conditions.
We went under Interstate 10 then started back into he mountains. We passed the Mesa Wind farm, and descided to go 6 more miles for a 30 mile day. When we got to the Whitewater River at mile 30.5, I sat in the river, washed my clothes and watched the sun set.
Thursday was my toughest day yet. Hot! I'm not so good at hot. On top of that, we walked up a creek in a recently burned box canyon. My feet were wet, then sand got in there, then they got hot, then I started to get blisters. This happened over and over as we crossed the creek 23 more times. It felt like at least 95 degrees and the water tasted slimy, so more dehydration was happening. When I left the creek it was a steep few 5 miles up to the pine trees and more snow on the trail. Furniture and I cooked dinner at 5:30 and started on the trail again by 6. We wanted to get as close as possible to Big Bear to get to the post office before they closed the next day. We encountered more snow, and it was steady 'til sunset, when we finally hit a dirt road with a flat spot to sleep. It has never felt so good to lay down.
Friday was sore feet for 20 miles into Hwy 18 then a hitch into town. Furniture and I made it to the Highway by 1:15 and got a hitch to town pretty quickly. It was straight to the post office for a new pack, warmer clothes, and my guidebook pages for the next 200 miles. And a nice lady named Martha gave me a candybar! After the PO we hitched across town to the Laundromat then a supermarket for resupply, and we found a 5 dollar footlong sub that was so big, two of us couldn't finish it.
Today I said goodby to Furniture and Ishmel as they headed back to the trail and I'm taking the day off. It has been great walking with them, and I hope to see them again up the trail soon. I got a breakfast burrito at the cafe with Jim and Lakewood, then headed back to the Big Bear Lake hostel. What a great relaxing day it has been sitting in clean clothes on the sofa by the lake.
I will leave here tomorrow for the 109 miles to Wrightwood. About 40 miles from here is a hot spring just off the trail. I'm planing to spend an afternon there, and I can't wait!
I sent the memory card from my camera home today. So soon you will all be able to see many good pictures and videos of the first 265 miles of my pct hike.
Ten Years Later
2 days ago