Jackrabbit Hikes: PCT Day 14-15
Day 14 – Trail Magic Oasis (mi 210.5) to Mission Creek tent site (mi 230.5)
I opened my eyes to the overbearing sound of the wind blowing everything around me. If I weighed 100 less pounds I’d probably have blown away too. I looked around me and there was no one to be found. Everyone else took shelter on the other side of the house in the night, so I was left to endure the wind alone.
My ears were under assault but my eyes smiled across the valley at San Jacinto looking back at me. Like a knight fighting the dragon, there was a mutual respect from me and the rocky peak gazing at me. The morning sun gave me one last glance at the first giant I conquered on this trip. I packed my things as the wind fought me every step of the way. Till next time San Jac.
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I finished up the hike out of the windy open plain and into the safety of the next mountain valley. I was at the base of another giant mountain range. Like a fortress, the snowy peak nestled in the middle of the range was surrounded by jagged smaller peaks. The crown jewel capped in ice stood staunch peering 360 degrees across the entire desert valley, eye to eye with San Jacinto. Another giant.
However, it’s not mine to conquer right now.
I hiked through the valleys making my way up in elevation as I progressed. The Whitewater Preserve Visitor Center lay nestled right in the river bed of the mountains and I happily took the .5mi side trail for some shade and a bathroom. Yuge plumbing guy.
Me, Squalo, Graham, High Life, Chef and Speaker all linked up at the preserve. We shared lunch and some laughs as a troop of 10 year olds beside us reigned chaos on any adults that tried to wrangle them.
I hiked the rest of the day in the heat of the day. I tried my best to use my sunbrella where I could but the wind was still so unpredictable near the Sand Blaster.
I didn’t care; it was a fantastic day.
The end of the day proved exhausting as we navigated the tumultuous miles up the Mission Creek river bed. It was damn near impossible to keep the trail and the river bed was made up of everything that wasn’t flat or soft. It was debilitating. Mentally and physically. A lot of “Fuck Me’s” were said in the last few hours as I lost the trail over and over.
Eventually I caught Squalo and we called it at a tent site we couldn’t pass up. It was the most tired I had been on trail; even more exhausted than the 30mi day through San Jac. The other guys caught up to us throughout the evening, each one happy they found friends they could use as an excuse to stop. We were all absolutely spent.
And we wouldn’t have had it any other way. I got set up and ate and was asleep before the sun went down. About 45 minutes after I stopped hiking I was passed out cold. And about 45 minutes after I wake up the next day I will be hiking again.
Some call it crazy, I call it living the dream.
Day 15 – Mission Creek Tentsite (mi 230.5) to Arrastre Trail Camp (mi 256.2)
Oh man. I slept like a rock in our little hidey hole we had last night. I woke up knowing I had the rest of the climb out of the riverbed immediately ahead of me.
I didn’t mind. New day, new me.
It was just one of those days where your legs keep going. I grabbed water from the only source until camp and I was on my way. I continued the ascent up the San Gorgonio wilderness and finally out of that damn riverbed. That thing kicked my ass.
Finally, I was on the ridges. It was windy but the temperature was amazing. Water was no longer a concern for the rest of the day. I felt like a new man on the ridge.
I stopped for lunch at Coon Creek Cabin with Squalo. We chopped it up while we aired out our feet and got ready for phase 2 of the day. I usually hike half to two-thirds of my mileage for the day, stop for a big lunch, and then knock out the rest. Not a lot of stops in between the big lunch break besides to get water. Squalo did the same.
He got a head start off the ridge and we were off. The past few days had been so brutal on my legs the mileage on the ridge was like a dream. Pine padded trail, cool breeze and temperatures, all under the canopy of the trees.
Me and Squalo knocked out the next 10 miles under 3 hours. We set up camp around 5:00 and hung out with some hikers at the picnic table while the sun set.
We all cowboy camped in a corner of the camp site and talked about what we were going to eat in town the next day. Everyone had their eyes on a giant ass breakfast and we talked about all the fixings.
I think everyone dreamt about pancakes and waffles.
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