Thursday, June 11, 2009
Having finished the 39 miles, we decided to take the scenic route back to San Diego. So, Monday morning we got up and drove south through the Anza-Borrego desert, crossed the PCT a few times, checked out the Mexican border in Jacumba (and border patrol checked US out!!!) got a room in SD, had more Mexican food in Old Town San Diego and then went to Ocean Beach to round off our Mtns to desert to sea tour! We flew home on Tuesday, all smiles, full of Mexican food and already thinking of our next PCT "fire miles section"!!
Great night sleeping, heard a deer snorting at one point, beautiful full moon when we woke up. Walking before 6am and quietly passed by Strawberry Junction where all the campers were still warm and cozy in their sleeping bags. Great view into the valley of clouds as we made our way to Fuller Ridge. Another cold morning walking with our winter hats on! The 5 miles along Fuller ridge were just one beautiful sight after another, definitely a highlight of this section as we meandered along below the towering peak of San Jacinto, lots of nice little spots to camp on and a river....waterfall almost at the beginning of the trail (coming from the south). Looking to the north and far below, we could see I-10 and the windmills we camped under last year, it was funny knowing exactly what the trail looked like ahead, but we where wouldn't be going this time. :( We got to Black Mtn Rd (officially connecting the dots from last year) and started walking down the road. About 4 miles later, we saw Steve and Kathryn driving up the road to pick us up! This great couple Neighbor met through a San Jacinto hiking board and they arranged to pick our sorry butts up and bring us back to our rental car (waaaaay back where we started the 40 mile hike)! Great feeling knowing that we didn't have to try to hitch on the side of the road for endless hours! We all went out for Mexican in Idyllwild and then back to our car. It was great meeting them and you never know......we just might see them again someday!! After this full day, Neighbor and I drove back to Idyllwild and crashed in the State Park. What a great 3 days back on the PCT!!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
After quite the windy night, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise over Palm Springs area, packed up and got walking northward again. Cold morning, no one else on the trail, just amazing views all around, walked through the small section of trail that was on fire last year (1 mile out of the 39) near Apache Peak. Didn't go down to the Apache spring as we didn't need water and we heard it was quite the elevation drop to get there. Meandered along, following the trail, enjoying every step of it. Came to Saddle Junction around noon, lots of hikers here, had a bite to eat and decided to keep walking. Found a great little spot to camp around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and called it quits for the day. 15 miles for the day only left us 8 to get to Black Mtn Rd in the morning.
We were up bright and early on Friday, drove to the trailhead and started our 39 mile walk to Black Mtn Rd. Chilly morning, but we moved right along, taking lots of pictures and enjoying being back on the trail again. As we climbed higher up the ridge the views were awesome, we could look back and see the trail to the south, peaks all around, the Saltan Sea, just beautiful. The wind picked up in the afternoon and made it cold on the shaded side of the mtn, but still roasting on the sunny side. We stopped at Fobes Saddle for water, Neighbor got us 4 liters with no problem, I stayed with our packs at the junction and flipped through the trail register of whose been through the area, fun to see all the 2009 PCT hikers and their comments. We noticed another message for today's date and come to find out "Nitro Joe" PCT 2008 was out here hiking also hiking these missed miles from last year!! Small world. After the climb out of the saddle, we hiked a few more miles to Spitler Peak and found a great camp spot off the trail, with a nice view of San Jacinto and all of the Palm Springs area. Had some dinner and called it quits, quite early for the day (around 3pm.......but we were trying to stay on east coast time!!) Made it 16 miles for the day, not too bad!
It was finally time to head back out west and hike a few of those miles of the PCT that were closed due to wildfires last year! We decided to start with the 39 miles around San Jacinto/Fuller Ridge area. So, we flew to San Diego on Thursday 6/4/09, picked up our rental car with Enterprise (Neighbor and Dave the Enterprise man in photo) and drove north to Idyllwild to camp in the state park for the night. Long day of travelling, I think we were sleeping by 6pm (west coast time......would have been 9pm for us!!)