The San Jacinto Mountains

Almost Paradise

We left Mike’s Place and headed north toward the snow-capped mountains. There was limited water along the way through the desert. Thankfully Mary had a water oasis. Unfortunately, I found out her large water tank was vandalized and she has a much smaller tank that she has to refill quite often. People suck sometimes. We hiked 25 miles in 2 days to arrive at Paradise Valley Cafe on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately they closed early, so no burger and beer for us. But we did reach my husband’s car at the trailhead, so we drove to have Mexican food, do laundry and shower. Nothing feels better than a shower after a few nights on the trail.

Snow, downed trees, and wind, oh my!

Monday we had breakfast at Paradise Valley Cafe and then began our hike toward Mt San Jacinto. We hiked shorter miles to camp next to the water. We arrived first at camp and then many hikers joined us for the night. The next day we started our hike toward Spitler.  There were many downed trees which made the trail hard to navigate. Many times we were climbing straight up the mountain or over the trees. The trees caused new scars and I looked down to see blood dripping down my legs. Then we came across snow covered slopes. We put traction on our feet to ensure we didn’t slip. We finally made it to the Spitler junction and set up camp protected from the wind. We were tired from the day’s adventurous hike. We layer down in our sloped campsite to try to get some rest.

Running Out of Time

The group ahead of us took 13 hours to hike the 12 miles over Apache and Ansel. We had to make a decision to hike on or take the alternate and hike down Spitler. We had a zero preplanned in Idyllwild. Do we stay or do we go? We chose to exit the trail and head to town and enjoy our zero. We got to town, took showers, ate, resupplied, did laundry, drank beer, and enjoyed the company of other hikers. 

Fuller Ridge

After our zero we headed up the Deer Springs Trail with a group to go over Fuller Ridge. We hiked 4 miles in and camped at Strawberry Junction to prepare for the following day. We found another sloped spot that was snow-free. The following day we began our 8-mile snow hike. The snow was firm and our microspikes worked great. We traversed slopes, over rocks, off trail, sketchy sections, and finally after 8 hours, we arrived at the Black Mountain campground. We set up camp on a snow-free patch of dirt and rested our tired bodies.

But You Missed a Section

Yes, I know, I missed about 11 miles of trail. But I did cover the miles with Spitler and Deer Springs alternates.  I figure I can hike Apache after I complete the trail after the snow is gone since it’s close to home.

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