The Desert Adventure Continues

Peak Happiness

We officially hit 100 miles on day 7! Leah was ahead of me around the bend when I heard her shout “100 MILES!!!” “WAHOOO!!!!” I shouted back. I picked up my pace, while also being cognizant of my aching body. There were rocks placed in the shape of 100 to signify our achievement! Although this was a small portion of the trail, this felt like a big deal.

With a little more energy in each step, we hiked a few more miles to our campsite for the night. A storm was rolling in and I could see the clouds beginning to form over the mountains, giving warning to take shelter. I set up my tent quickly and made a dehydrated meal, beef stew! It was my first time using a rain fly since being on trail. The wind blew all night with some scattered rains.


We woke up the next morning and lounged in our tiny tent palaces before braving the less than ideal weather. After the hot sun though it was nice to have a change of pace. Today’s hike was a special one. We marched through meadows of waving wheat grass as the big fluffy clouds made their shadows on the ground. The best part was the special guest appearance of COWS. They wandered over the trail and “mooooved” out of our way as we approached them. The wind blew strong but it felt good against my skin and we kept our momentum to get to Eagle rock.

Eagle rock was a sacred site used for ceremonies and gatherings of the Kupa tribe. It really does emerge from the earth in a distinct and beautiful way. I was honored to walk the land that meant so much to its native peoples.

That day we made it to Warner Springs, my first resupply box would be waiting for me at the post office! That night, sleeping next to the local school, I woke up to frost on my sleeping quilt for the first time. I was cold, wet, and tired but happy to wake up to sunshine. A local lady even delivered breakfast burritos to the trail for hikers. What a special treat. After a delicious breakfast and full packs of food we were off on the trail again.

We hiked through canyons of boulders and ridge lines with vast views of the desert. Water was becoming sparse which means longer water carries. (extra weight=more pain) We stopped for dinner before making it to camp. Tonight’s dinner was a ramen bomb (my very first!) which is a mixture of ramen and instant mashed potatoes. This gave me an instant smile and a full belly. 


Highs and Lows

The next day was a 20 mile water carry to our final destination of the day, little bear hostel. The promise of pizza, beer, and a warm home propelled me down the trail. Little did I know how long the day would end up being. The extra water in my pack had me moving at a slower pace and the sun was HOT. We took a siesta and ate lunch to wait out the warmest hours of the day. I’ve noticed the first 10 miles come easy, it’s the last 10 I find myself working harder mentally to make it to the end of the day.

To make it to the hostel, we had to descend from the trail on a makeshift path that included navigating boulders and steep drop offs. After a 30 minute scramble we arrived at a house. Greeted by dogs, chickens, and a sweet family who graciously welcomed hikers into their home. After taking off my shoes, I realized the blister on my heal was now double the size and filled with blood. I showed the trail angels the damage and the Dad (Little Bear) immediately went to work, popping and helping mend my sad feet. I felt so taken care of and couldn’t stop saying thank you. My broken feet meant it was time to get to the town of Idyllwild for rest. Off to town we went!

We were able to get a hitch from a sweet woman named Jackie with an adorable van. Getting into town was exactly what we needed. Idyllwild was a woodland retreat, and we enjoyed the amenities of food and a bed! What a luxury. We also got to meet the Mayor Max who happens to also be a golden retriever.

We really couldn’t ask for a better way to enjoy town before heading back to the trail to summit San Jacinto peak. More on that later….

Until next time,


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Comments 1

  • Patty : May 16th

    Hi Emma,
    I am Leah’s auntie and want to thank you for your updates. You are a wonderful writer! I am learning so much about the culture of the PCT, and am amazed by the generosity of trail angels. I think of you both on this journey and wish you joy AND safety.


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