Pacific Crest Trail Update: San Jacinto, The Rock Slide and a Well Earned Zero

San Jacinto: 

After taking a zero day (zero miles hiked) on day 9 outside of Warner Springs, we headed out again with a couple of friends who joined us on trail for a few miles. The next day we took a short break off trail to eat an awesome meal at Paradise Valley Cafe (a must-eat) then headed back out and up that afternoon. It was tough to get going again after a bunch of food but we forged on steadily, hoping for good weather up on San Jacinto. To get out of the heavy wind and to get water we headed off-trail 1 mile. I’m not a fan of extra trail miles but when water is needed, so be it. 

We then took three days to pick our way up, across, over, and down Mt. San Jacinto. Due to minimal water, lots of snow, and limited places to camp (very steep terrain) we pushed hard to get through and out of the winds. We wore microspikes on the Fuller Ridge section and in the steep bits I was quite happy to have them on. Once descending the crazy labyrinth of trail coming down off the mountain we headed to a zero day in Palm Springs. Oh yeah. 

I can’t decide if the climbs with multiple liters of heavy water in pack, the snow travel, or the 15-mile descent off the mountain felt more challenging. On our second day, we’d brace ourselves while walking across each saddle, as the 25 mph chilly gusts pummeled us. The burnt trees and shrubs were beautiful and eerie in the mist and wind.

What I loved most about this section was that feeling of being really small when up high on a jagged, steep, peak. That feeling that Mother N. is so significant and grand, and me – just a tiny speck. Looking forward to more of the same in the Sierra.

The Rock Slide on San Jacinto:

 Yes, there is a giant drop off the rock slide at about mile 172. And there is a good hand line attached to one of the giant boulders you crawl around. Guppy slid down about 6 feet to the first big boulder, while holding onto the line, and hoisted herself up and over. I carefully handed her our trekking poles.

My instructions to her, “Always keep one hand on the rope. DON’T DROP OUR TREKKING POLES. We are too old to hike without them!”

It’s useful to not look down. 

Right before she took these pictures I was momentarily stuck on my stomach laughing my ass off because my hips were so tight I couldn’t get my leg up onto the rock to turn around. My thought while momentarily stuck – looking forward to that massage in Palm Springs…


We were feeling kinda beat up so we took a Zero, then a Nero in the Palm Springs area. Our husbands joined us as we enjoyed the excellent food options and strolls through town. And of course, laundry, resupply and prep for the next section. Onward!

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