May 21: The Escape From Idyllwilds’ Vortex

The last few days have gone by in a blur. But like it seems to be that on the PCT, it also seems like a few days has been forever ago.

After descending down into the sleepy little woodsy hamlet oh Idyllwild, I decided to ride out the storm that was passing through for a couple days. This gave my feet time to heal & rest up, and also some time to load more journal entries & videos. (Apologies for not being 100% up to date on the videos, depending on the WiFi setup, the transfer to YouTube can take a while. It doesn’t help that I have a lot of footage I shoot every day!)

The storm dumped a good amount if snow & ice on San Jacinto & Fuller Ridge, both of which lay between me & the San Gorgonio desert area on the other side of Interstate 10. Despite a few sometimes comedic “Three Stooges” style wrong turns in the forest, Night Moves, No Pain, DJ & Dillon were able to get on track, then it was essentially “See ya at the bottom!” we all hiked at our own personal paces, dictated by confidence with the snow, energy levels, or injury. I fell while traversing down a snow pile, which just ended up with me traversing down the snow pile on my butt. There were other times a loss of footing would have meant potentially far greater ramifications; thankfully, I stayed mostly upright and on the “up” side of the hills. When the only thing below you that will stop your slide is a tree or a rock…one chooses their footing and pace carefully.

Finally made it down to the desert wash basin leading to the tunnel under the I-10 freeway, and it was a tough 7,000+ foot drop. Descents aren’t bad now that my body is used to them, but that one was silly long!

Fresh piped water waited for hikers at the bottom, and after a short road walk the dirt began again, but not until devouring a delicious orange from a box of oranges left by a trail angel. Thank you!

Opened my eyes to this sunrise...

Another Mecca of trail angeldom was underneath the I-10 freeway bridge…ice cold sodas (Mtn. Dew, how did you know!) and even beers on ice. Really? I rested my feet, took my shoes off, visited with a few other hikers, and snacked. One thru-hiker was actually from Folsom, very close to where I live, and went by the name “Dream Crusher.” (if you read this, I hope your knees are doing better).

I made my way through West Palm Springs, with it’s acres of unfinished lots and streets that go nowhere. Up into the hills, through the Mesa Wind Farm windmills whirring away in the breeze…an interestingly lonely sound, especially given the desolate, lonely terrain.

Mesa Wind Farms

I decided to stop by the Mesa Wind Farm office, as they had signs promoting fresh water and shade. It was about 2pm, and I was ready for a break. Four other hikers, including Momma Bear & Little Bear were there, and I promptly flopped down in some unclaimed shade & ate trailmix, drank water, and at some point napped. It felt amazing! A few others stopped in about the time I was getting ready to go (Little Buddha & another hiker from Israel). Little Buddha is from San Francisco & has hiked the PCT before.

Under the I-10 Freeway

About 2 hours after getting back on the trail, I was really moving along pretty well. My feet (the common hikers hot spot) were actually feeling pretty good, and I was in a good spot all around. Unfortunately, the rattlesnake (Mr.Rattles, again) was not in such a good spot. Well, not for a sleeping rattlesnake, at least. He was sitting dead center of the trail around a little bump in the trail, and I came up on him so fast that we were both pretty startled. I nearly stepped on his tail, which sent him flying down the trail, and I had been chugging along so fast I ended up following him down the trail fir a couple steps before I could stop my momentum. The whole time he’s high tailing it down the trail rattling away, but looking back at me…I’ve never seen a snake do that! It seemed like Mr. Rattles was so startled he didn’t know whether to run or stand his ground, so he was doing a little mixture of both. The whole scene was pretty comical altogether, more so since myself nor Mr. Rattles were hurt in the fracas.

My Yama Mountain Gear 'Bug Tent 1.25' All Set Up For The Night...

I made it into Whitewater Nature Preserve just before dark. I had time to wash some clothes in the sink, lay out my bed, make some quick food & journal a little. I was so tired I nearly fell asleep journaling. The Whitewater Preserve was fantastic. Lots of great camping spots, shade, grass, I didn’t even set up my tarp, just fell asleep on the ground, it was great! I didn’t want to leave. I repaired my broken trekking pole, soaked my feet in the trout pond, and started off.

Across Whitewater Creek

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6 Responses to May 21: The Escape From Idyllwilds’ Vortex

  1. luz torres says:

    Great idea to stay and enjoy Idyllwild and wait out the storm, I kept looking at the mountains and the weather did not look too pleasant. And all the time I was thinking and hoping Rawhide is staying warm 🙂
    And I agree Whitewater Preserve is an amazing place, I stumbled upon it on a random backpacking trip and the place was not even open so I was so lucky to stay and enjoy the bighorn sheep 🙂 but I am sure you see plenty of wildlife on your trails, aka Mr. Rattles.
    But I cannot believe I missed you on the cross underneath the I-10 tunnel.
    But I am planning a hike to Deep Creek this weekend and hopefully we will meet 🙂 you have definitely inspired me to live your life with passion and purpose.
    Take care of yourself and you are doing amazingly well and hiking your hike

  2. luz says:

    I am so glad to hear that you are doing well and decided to ride out the storm in the warmth of Idyllwild.
    And I agree Whitewater Preserve is an amazing place and I cannot believe I missed you and I just live a few miles from the preserve and it is one my most favorite places 🙂 🙂
    Hopefully we can meet up this weekend if you are anywhere near Deep Creek. I am planning a weekend backpacking trip.

    Thank you again for inspiring and living your life with passionate and purpose
    many blessings and hopefully I can join you on some portions of your hike

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