Friday May 19
Yesterday, involved an afternoon flight into LAX then shuttling with a crew of four other PCT 2016 hikers over to I-10. Our mission was simple…hike the remaining 40+ Miles from Ziggy and The Bears up to Onyx Summit. The ONLY section of the Pacific Crest Trail that was left incomplete due to the previous Lake Fire Closure last year. I had thought about hiking it earlier this Spring and decided it would be the perfect way to get my “fix” this season. The trail speaks to me on so many levels and I missed it deeply. Having the opportunity to connect with old Trail buddies and make miles just felt right. All of the “shoulds” in my life with work, money etc. were just distractions from what my heart ❤️ desired. “You belong outdoors.” Just the thought of shouldering my HMG Windrider Pack again and setting foot on the trail was enough to get me excited. As night approached and a quick Inn & Out stop resulted in full bellies we arrived at our camping destination just after 9pm. A quick consensus resulted in cowboy camping and gazing at the night sky. Staying up way too late with crude jokes, counting over half a dozen shooting stars and trying to get some rest. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the “cowboy” just don’t feel as relaxed and usually results in poor sleep.Waking up at dawn the early morning colors reflecting off of a snow covered San Jacinto was a welcomed sight. Packs were organized and we set off just before 6am. So much time has passed and yet it felt like I never left. Walking out here just feels natural and I’m sure it would take no time to settle back into the “Thru Hiker Groove.” The Southern California Desert offers it’s own beauty once a hiker adapts to the heat, sun exposure, and water carries. My pack felt incredibly light since it would only be a two day trip. The plan was to hike 20-25 miles today. Some might question the simple act of returning to complete this portion of the PCT. Why Not? I love being on trail and having to shuttle around this stretch in 2016 was a bummer. But, I didn’t want to be “that hiker” and try to sneak through a fire closure. Plus I get an opportunity to hike with my boys. Luckily the wind was pretty mild in comparison to the gale forces descending down from San Jacinto last season. I remember thinking why on earth would anybody want to live out in this desolate landscape. Funny how you look back and think hey that wasn’t so bad after all was it?
After a quick stop at the Whitewater Preserve junction it was clear that the afternoon heat would be testing all of us. I’d already downed over 3L of water and was filling up at each crossing. Climbing made me feel sluggish but after topping out on a ridge with views down to Palm Springs my stride opened up. With the gentle breeze blowing it felt as though I could very easily adapt and keep hiking. After being social for awhile it was time to hike alone. My favorite part of being in the wilderness is soaking up the Solitude. I even managed to call my Amigo Kilo which I often enjoyed doing last season. As I hiked into the late afternoon I just felt happy to be back out on the PCT. All of the logistics of planning a quick section hike were seamlessly falling into place. After stopping for a lunch break all of us agreed to continue on up the Canyon to camp. Surprisingly charging on and making a 25 mile day. Not too bad for a group of Section Hikers, eh? The temperatures mellowed and a slight breeze made the miles go by quickly. Although, the final two miles seemed to drag on for far too long.
Once our group arrived at camp we began the usual evening chores. Pitching the tent ⛺️ was surprisingly easy and it wasn’t long before the sun began setting. Three more Thru Hikers rolled in and it was a cozy little abode next to the trickling creek. Before finishing up with filtering water and dinner I set off to dig a cat hole. One side of the creek was far too steep and the other option of doing the “rock n’ roll” method doesn’t appeal to me. So I set off down the trail. Finally, settling on a group of bushes with some much needed privacy. It was a toilet paper graveyard unfortunately. I pack an extra zip lock to pack out trash found on the trail and it also works great for TP/Wipes. Please do your part and pack it out. Now picture this here I am in a full squat enjoying the sunset and then turn around to discover two tents further up the hill. One hiker staring at me while I’m finishing up. Look both ways before ?. Back at camp the mosquitoes came out and laying down in the sanctuary of my tent was glorious. I feel asleep to the sound of running water and getting heavy eyed while blogging. It’s amazing how just one day back on the trail can bring back so many memories.
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