Mile: 183 to 190.50
(Plus 4.00 miles Deer Spring Trail and 4.6 miles St. Jacinto climb)
If I told you that I’m hunkered in my sleeping bag, cold still, typing this entry with gloves on, and that snow is battering our tent, would you believe me? Just two days ago we complained about the heat. I guess we got what we asked for. Little cooler weather.
When we left Idyllwild this morning, it was a nice day. Sunny, little cool, just the perfect hiking temperature. About 0.25 miles from our hotel was Deer Spring Trail which was the easiest way to reconnect with PCT so we took it. Right from the start hiking the area had a feel of the Sierras with pine trees, fantastic rocks, and plenty of water. The trail was not too difficult on its own, but with 7 days worth of food we broke some sweat.
It was around 9 am when we arrived to the PCT. In 2.3 miles the trail took us to another intersection. Here we had a choice to follow PCT down on Fuller Ridge or take a side trip to St. Jacinto Peak. Not all PCT hikers climb the peak since it’s not directly on the trail but many do. It provides a rare opportunity to get above 10,000 feet in Southern California. I’ve heard Fuller Ridge was awesome and I was looking forward to hiking it but it was only 10:00 am and we thought we had a time to enjoy both.
It was a hard climb to reach the summit of St. Jacinto. We haven’t been in altitude for quite some time and like always it kicked our butt.
When we finally made it to the summit around 1:20 pm, the view was amazing. We could see into the brown desert where we would be eventually descending and we were also above the clouds covering Fuller Ridge. The clouds made me nervous. We knew storm was supposed to come in later in the day and we did not spend much time at the summit in order to beat it.
The short story – we didn’t make it. Neither did about 30 other PCT hikers that were on the ridge with us. We walked in the clouds and at first the fog was adding a beautiful element to the scenery. Then it started drizzling. Then it started to rain. Than the wind picked up and from there on the walk was rather miserable and left us soaking wet. (Dave more than me, I was smart enough to keep my rain gear handy and I wasn’t stubborn to put it on).
When we arrived at camp at 7,700 feet, plenty of tents were already erected behind large boulders for wind protection. Local guy who was camping here also had fire going and we spend few minutes chatting with him while we warmed up a little by the fire. Then it was our turn to find a rock and set up a our tent behind it.
What a day!