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Posts Tagged ‘San Jacinto’

The entire reason we went into Idyllwild was to celebrate Dead Animal’s birthday per his plan, however, he was lagging behind due to our Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which lasted well past hiker midnight (9 p.m.).  Hop-a-long, Inspector Gadget and I got a ride into town fairly easily and began our town routines which included grabbing mail drops and bounce boxes from the post office with our food for the next few days, then grabbed some hot food at the pizza place with a delicious chocolate porter.

Most of the rooms in town were full by the time we got there, swamped with hiker trash, so we found the $3 campground which ended up suiting our budgets much better.  Inspector Gadget had Dead Animal’s number and he mentioned maybe not making it into town since he still had 6 miles to go.  We told him to suck it up, P.S. happy birthday.  Our next move went to the laundromat where I sat there charging my phone and iPod wearing, my scarf on top and shell zipped up around the bottom having the arm holes coming out from my waist.  I felt bad putting clean clothes on when I hadn’t showered, but whatever.  We found the token machine for showers not long afterwards and cleaned up properly for the first time in 10 days.  At least half my tan washed off and turned the floor into a mess of layers upon layers of dirt and sunscreen.

Dead Animal did manage to suck it up and got in around 8 p.m.  Since no other restaurants were open, we met up at the only place in town still open: the liquor store.  As Dead Animal put it, “at least they have their priorities straight –  we can get beer.”  We got some beer and snacks then went to Spork and Chimp’s room to watch tv and celebrate.  That went well past hiker midnight as well.

In the morning, our early start kept getting delayed until eventually we waited until the heat went away.  By that time I had the brilliant idea to eat an entire bag of ruffles potato chips.

Eventually, Hop-a-long and I escaped the town vortex and began hitching our way back to the trailhead at highway 74.  One sketchy dude turned around and told us we were hitching from the wrong spot, so we opted not to get in with him and keep waiting.  Then another truck turned around with a bunch of hikers in the back including Moxie and the Israeli with the hurt knee; Lawrence the spring man had shuttled them in and was taking them further into town.  Finally, a nice retired man picked us up and took us to the trail.

Upon setting off into the steaming afternoon heat, I noticed that my brilliant potato chip idea was not so brilliant as they did not seem to digest, but rather sat as one large lump in my stomach.  A large group of horse riders passed us going back to the road which meant horse poop all over the trail for at least several miles.  Great.  They always seem to want to poop exactly where the most convenient spots are to put your feet.

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We wound in, out, and around large rock piles that seemed so likely to have sat on the sea floor a million years ago.  Between the heat and the potato lump lodged in my stomach, both of us had slowed down.  We plugged on beginning to ascend for miles and miles to the first ridge in the San Jacinto Wilderness.  For a bit we had the usual switchbacks, but occasionally it liked the throw an east coast number in there and just go straight up.

By the time we got near the top of the ridge it was pretty dark,but we caught the tail end of the sunset and the amazing amount of lights coming up from houses far, far below.  We popped up on Challenger who had camped about 2ish miles from where we wanted to be.  It felt good to be on top of a ridge again and not just winding up and down on one side of it, but when Hop-a-long and I started talking out loud to coax our feet into moving, it was about time to call it for the night.

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About a half mile before where we wanted to camp, we found a sweet spot with a bench.  The bench sold us and we plopped right down to cook.

In the morning, we headed toward Eagle Spring to get water and then eat breakfast.  A whopping 3/10 of a mile down off the trail, we came to the piped spring with maybe 2 or 3 drops per second coming out into a rusty metal tub with some bugs floating in it.  Knees had gotten down there just before us and we all looked at it, debating what to do. I had aquamira and Hop-a-long had a steripen, but Knees let us use his awesome sawyer filter. It worked fantastic! Now I want one hahaha.

After a long breakfast, we got moving again, but soon took a break when we found Lawrence the Spring Guy three miles down the trail handing us either donut pastries or dried pineapple rings!  We asked him if he knew why lizards do the push-up routine and he thought it was something to do with depth perception since their eyes were on the sides of their heads.

Climbing up again, we stopped a few miles later for lunch and realized how slow and distracted we were that day.  The next 8 or 9 miles seemed to go on forever and we kept thinking we were further than we actually were due to the crazy switchbacks.  I kept thinking how terrible it would be to be on a horse through that section when a few times I could only fit one foot on the trail – not both together…so how is a large horse supposed to fit four?

Beautiful, sweeping views went everywhere and I felt like I was in a plane looking down and the square town areas so far below.  A few times the entire ridge became so narrow that it might have stretched 10 feet wide total.

We ran into Gypsy Girl and Hamburger who decided to hike sobo back to the highway.  Gypsy had thrown away her trail runners that fell apart after 150 miles and got on the sandal train, going with the Tevas.  Later on, we ran into Dead Animal and Shags also sobo-ing and we circled up with a nice 24 oz Mickey’s that Dead Animal had packed up.

Finally, we got to the stream which flowed magnificently and cooked dinner.  Gut Feeling, Sunset, and Knees stumbled up later, overjoyed because they had run dry on the last stretch.  We hiked on two more miles to saddle junction over a few patches or snow here and there.  It said on a huge sign not to camp in the saddle, so we hiked up a hundred yards or so and camped there.

We managed to get going fairly early but our legs didn’t want to climb two more 1000 foot climbs.  Plus, you know it’s going to be hot when you’re in a tank top, shorts, and sandals going through snow patches at 9000 ft,  at 7:30 a.m.

The water sources for five miles flowed excellently.  The problem: six of them in five miles, then 20 miles dry. We knew we weren’t going to do 27 miles that day, so we loaded up, cooked lunch, then headed down the trail for the last two bumps and then a whopping 8,000 ft descent.  We met Wildflower and Nips having lunch who mentioned that Mellow Yellow had somehow gotten behind me, which made me laugh.

Beginning the descent, we were excited until the switchbacks made it seem like we weren’t going anywhere.  It seemed like whoever made the trail just made you see one view, then walk a ways to the other view, then back and forth, back and forth.  At times, I felt like I was walking in circles, not actually going down.  Then the damn plants!  There is one suuuuper prickly one that just hurts and scrapes you up something fierce!  It has pretty flowers from a light blue to light violet to make you think it’s nice, then it just scratches you endlessly.

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We found a campsite a little after mile 200 to cowboy.  In the morning, we were both up by 5:30 a.m.

“I slept like shit,” Hop-a-long said.

“You took the words right out of my mouth,” I said.

“Every time I rolled over, something went numb,” she said.

“I couldn’t breathe out of my nose and I was too hot,”  I replied.

At 6:20 we left and ten minutes into the morning I already saw a snake.  Great.  We had a few thousand more feet to stumble down.  I found Andrew the Australian with only 200 ml of water left and I gave him half a liter to drink since he looked desperate.  About half way down I heard buzzzzzzz buzzzzzzz. Shit! Bees! Run! We bolted down the trail from the large amount of bees in a rock by the trail.

The water faucet at the dirt road was a welcome sight and our knees were overjoyed not to descend anymore.  A security guy named Bob drove his truck up.  “Any ya’ll get stung by bees today?”

“No…” was the answer from me, Hop-a-long, Andrew the Australian, and Ninja.

“Oh good! Those bees up there are Africanized and aggressive.  A hell of a lotta hikers got stung yesterday!”

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