Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 14 and 15, Up Then Down

On Thursday I started out around 7 am at the campground.  On my way out of town I had a guy offer me a ride up to the park where the Devil's Slide trail starts.  That saved me about an hour of walking.  Going back up that trail took a bit longer than coming down.  A couple miles after reaching the top the trail splits, the PCT goes left and another trail goes to the top of San Jacinto Peak.  I decided to go up the peak.

It was a beautiful day and I wasn' t rushing up the trail at all.  I stopped for a while at a place where several springs are flowing out of the side of the mountain in an open area, almost a meadow.  There was some snow on the climb up, mostly on the North-facing slopes.  It wasn't too bad though.  A couple men in their 70's were doing it, though not all the way to the top. 

Near the top was a stone shelter with a couple bunks and a bunch of random emergency supplies left by climbers and hikers. I would have liked to spend the night there but it was barely noon so I'd be wasting half a day stopping.

The top of the peak is about 10800' and has a great view of the valley ahead. I cooked some ramen and enjoyed the view for a while. I only planned on hiking to the end of Fuller Ridge that afternoon which was only 5 or so miles plus a couple from the peak back down to the PCT. Unfortunately there was a lot of snow obscuring the trail so it took forever to get down. Much of the snow was packed hard enough to walk on, but I'd still break through in spots and end up with snow up to my knees or hips. I eventually left the trail and just fought my way straight down toward the PCT. After a lot of sliding down a steep slope in 3-4 feet of snow I made it the first 2 miles for that afternoon.

The rest of the day was spent on steep switchbacks and big patches of snow. I made it to the end of the ridge and a primative campground, just before sunset.
Friday was all downhill. The trail dropped several thousand feet for the first 15 or so miles. From where I camped to the road at the bottom is only about 4.5 miles, but it takes 15 miles of walking to get there. For the last couple hours I could see the spot we were headed to but it seemed like I just wasn't getting any closer. It got pretty windy near the bottom. At the road was a "water faucet" which turned out to be a drinking fountain. It was quite challenging filling my water bottles from a fountain in the wind. Wish I'd have taken a picture. There was also a big rock giving about enough shade and wind shelter for 3 or 4 people.

After eating lunch I pushed out across the flat valley. It was extremely windy, fortunately not enough to kick up the dust though. I headed for the freeway crossing several miles across the sand and sagebrush. I got there just hoping for a bit of rest from the sun and wind so I could dump the sand out of my shoes and get a drink. Turns out there was some trail magic waiting under the bridge. There was a cooler of sodas, water, oranges and cookies. It was a nice surprise.
I decided to cut my day a bit short and stop at some trail angels' house just a mile or so past the freeway; Ziggy and the Bear.

1 comment:

  1. Bless the trail angels! This adventure is taking on a quite different aspect than I realized. It is not just about hiking alone along miles of trails. It also includes new people to meet, each with their own story to tell. And surprises in the most unexpected places.