Day 8Mileage: 21.7
Total Distance: 201.1
Camp tonight is at a random spot off the trail on the way down San Jacinto. I’ve been night hiking for 2 hours and for the last thirty minutes felt like a zombie moving slowly in the night. I am beyond exhausted and having another night feeling weak and broken trying to fall asleep in the desert heat. Five minutes before crawling into bed I killed a massive spider in my bag with two huge front legs that looked like scissors.
- A great view of San Jaconto to close the day.
I woke up begrudgingly again this morning at the state park and tried to shake the sleep off before a day of confusion. I got my things together and went for coffee at the red kettle before heading up the 2.5 mile road walk to a side trail that connects to the PCT. the heat was off my back 6,000 feet up so my spirit was high when I start the next 2 miles on Devil Slide Trail. The trail runs through a gorgeous pine forest and overlooks a rock face with amazing climbs on it and a place where trad climbing really got its start in the 30’s.
Eventually the trail meets the PCT and there is still more climbing to be done. The junction was around 7,000 feet and after 3 miles it took me up to 9,000 where it peaked out. The views off the ridges were gorgeous with amazing scenery of the valley below and the small town of Idyllwild nestled in the notch of the mountain. It felt good to hike in pine trees so high up without the sun on my back, but it took forever to make the six miles before the trail descends off the mountain and rushes right back down into the desert.
Around 2 pm I was hiking uphill in search of the last water source before the 20 mile section down the mountain and found myself on the wrong trail 2 trail miles from the water source I was hoping to find. When I made it to a stream I thought I had found the water source and spotted snow so I began prancing around taking pictures and making snow balls to throw at roadhouse when he caught up to me. Finally he did and I pegged him with a snowball and he showed no reaction of approval. He was really bummed about something and dropped the news that we were off trail. He wanted to turn back, but I knew the stream we were at would eventually hit the pct 500 feet below us so I proposed we river walk and see what happens. After some convincing he agreed.
- So many beautiful bouldering opportunities.
River walking is an amazing experience that I wish I did more of like I used to in Missouri. Every section of the river has something new to get excited about and I feel like it gets more and more beautiful as it goes on. My legs got all cut up by some spiky plant on the way down, but it didn’t even phase me as I jumped from rock to rock laughing while roadhouse stomped down the trail griping and moping as he walked. Finally we hit the trail and sat to drink water for an hour before starting up again.
- Playing in snow. No idea we were of trail. Until:
- Back to the PCT and celebrating water.
Descending down the mountain was my favorite part of the day. The pine forest was so magical and the terrain reminded me so much of Maine, which felt romantic and nostalgic altogether. Once we got some exposure we could see the mountain behind us towering over us with pockets of snow wedged in the crevices and hiding from the sun. The trail was smooth and winds around the inner pockets of the mountain as you slowly but surely descend off the cliffs. I took a million pictures on the walk and finally stopped around 8 to make dinner with an incredible view of the desert floor and the sun setting behind the ridge we just came down. San Jacinto stood with flavors of purple dressing its makeup.
I got started hiking again just as it was getting dark and got my head lamp to begin the 7 miles of night hiking. Almost immediately the entire trail changed. Brush came up everywhere with tight wedges to pass through and scratching my legs up from top to bottom. Trail became slanted with pockets of dirt the caused you to slip a foot or two down the hill and causing you to pull yourself back up on the trail. My legs began to burn like they had been hit by the sun directly for hours. I tried to dismiss it but it kept getting worse and worse and finally when I pulled into camp I looked down and my legs had almost doubled in size. There were swollen areas and puffed up regions that all connected to make a massive swell on both of my inner thighs down to the back of my calves and they were both tomato red. I freaked out. I smeared cortisone all over my legs immediately and sat for five minutes while my legs burned and debated on just laying in the sand and passing out without getting anything out. Finally I got my stuff out and made my way inside my bag to find a spider and a couple other bugs trying to cuddle up for the night. I killed a lot of insects tonight.
- Hitting mile 200!
My legs have started to cool off, but the mosquitos have turned on for the night. The difference from my morning to now is insanity, but a wonderful thing to experience. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Thought of the day:
Am I gonna die???