Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 15 - Climb Mt San Jacinto - town to mile 186.1 about 14.3 miles

Got a late start leaving hotel in Idyllwild. By the time the pharmacy was open (needed handi wipes) we didn't start until about 9:30. Yikes.
Start walking through the neighborhood to find Ernie Maxwell trail. Cookie lady pulled over frantic that we were walking and tried to make us get a ride to devils slide trailhead. So hard to hike a continuous route to Canada when well meaning locals and hikers with different goals try to stop our progress. We had missed our turn, but eventually got back on track and found this alternate trail. Up up up!

Got to devils slide trail, and it was steep up some more. Packs are freaking heavy with six days of food and water for 14 miles. Finally made it to the trail junction where we could go right and hike the alternate up to 10,800ish ft Mt San Jacinto, or go left and stay on official PCT. Our legs were soooo tired, particurally my right butt muscle (going- up muscles) as we had already climbed about 3400' and we were definitely not acclimated to the elevation (almost 9000 ft) but grant informed me that I would be pissed if I didn't summit, so we took the alternate.

Climb climb climb! Met tons of day hikers who ad taken the tram from palm springs up. Were told you could see all the way to the ocean from the summit, so that put a smile on our faces and made us pick up the pace a little. 1800 more feet later, we scrambled up the rocks to the usgs summit markers, and then scrambled up one more boulder to officially touch the summit.
View was breathtaking, and because of the previous storm a few days earlier, the trees were covered in ice. It was great. Another guy was there. It was his first summit, so congratulations all around. Some pct hikers were (probably illegally) camping in the emergency shelter so that was fun for them, but down we went. It was about 5:15 when we summited, and we had a ways to go to the legal camping area (we didn't get the permit or this particular area). Now to make our down-muscles work.
We stupidly passed up a water source as we had it in our heads that we wanted to get to the one at mile 186. Of course, we had to start hiking with headlamps, we were tired, and there was no camping by the water source. Grant saw a flatish spot full of logs along the trail, so we filled up, backtracked,moved a bunch of logs and rocks around and set up our little slice of heaven beside the trail. A little sloped, but I still slept like a dead person all night :)

Forgot to mention all the snow! Glad to try out our trail runners on snow early in the hike. Think they will be just fine in the high Sierra. Cheers!

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