I can’t believe it’s been a week already. I’m feeling great after the day off. Climbing into the San Jacinto Mountains I look south at the mountains I had climbed earlier this week. I was in a section of trail with no water for the next twenty miles so I carried a heavy water load as I climbed.
The little lizards skittered out of my path and hummingbirds buzzed me. I finally got pictures of each of these quick little creatures. As well as a gnarly pine cone.
This section of trail has suffered extensively from fire damage and fallen trees have been notorious trail annoyances. Further up the trail I encountered a trip of stalwart PCT trail workers. This work requires that all equipment ( including crosscut saws)be packed in on the workers backs. Sometimes as far as 30 miles. I’m the heavily damaged areas equestrian assistance is not possible. The crews names are Elonore, Liam, and Hannah.
Coming not many miles ahead was the rockslide. I had heard that some hikers had turned back, I hoped I would not be there alone, but had seen no other hikers all day.
Also noted during this time was the red light on my tracker’s power button. We had opted not to carry spare batteries since the tracker had this warning system.
I was almost to mile 173 and had not seen any sign of a rockslide. Was this the same as past, expected water caches and the “guzzling cistern” that never materialized?
Finally I saw it with three big competent looking men beside it. Were they posted there to help hikers pass
“Is there another way around?”, they called? Hmmm, guess they were not posted guides… I told them all I knew, hazardous,impassable for some. Turn back if not confident.
One of the three opted for the long hike back to the truck. Kevin and Ryan got past and Kevin nobly offered to take my pack through. I felt confident with the pack but gladly handed him my poles. I made a short video to honor these two trail hero’s.
Good news; I was past the rock slide and I had seen no Poodle Dog bush, and as I rounded the mountain water was frequent. Not as good, my tracker was now dead, my progress had been slow and now it was getting late, snow covered patches of trail and a cold wind blew.
I had hoped to get to mile 182 or 3 but fatigue got the better of me as sunset approached. I spent a chilly night on a windy slope vowing to pack warmer clothes and spare batteries for the next section.