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!
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.
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.
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.
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.