Date: Friday, 5 May 2017
Start: Idyllwild, 5609 ft
Finish: Campsite by small creek near Mile 194, 6340 ft
Daily Miles: 10.6 PCT, 5.0 other
Total PCT Miles: 193.9
Weather: Mild and mostly sunny
Accommodation: Tent by small stream
Breakfast: Ham & cheese omelette and hash browns
Dinner: Rehydrated macaroni cheese
Aches: None particularly
Highlight: Excellent hiking at high altitude on San Jacinto mountain in ideal conditions.
Lowlight: Bugs biting at campsite.
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
I left my cabin soon after 7am and then stopped in at the Red Kettle restaurant for a repeat of yesterday’s brunch, without the vanilla shake (which I’m regretting as I type this). Then with some directional help from a local fireman, I found my way to the Deer Springs Trailhead and began the long climb up to the shoulder of San Jacinto Mountain, 10834 ft, and the PCT.
Not only was my pack lighter after yesterday’s gear cull, but the hiking temperature was just right and the hiking up through the conifer forest was superb, despite the technical nature of the trail. I didn’t rush it and just savoured the experience. After four miles, I rejoined the PCT and headed towards Fuller Ridge, the highest point I would reach on the mountain at just under 9000 ft. Along the way there were increasing amounts of snow on the trail, occasionally requiring careful footwork, but it was beautiful country, with the strong scent of pine, and I loved it.
The descent along Fuller Ridge also had some interesting snow challenges and it made for slow walking, but I hadn’t intended to have a long day, so wasn’t feeling pressured to maintain a good pace. There were only a few hikers on the trail, and I shared several stops with a young girl from San Francisco who was on the second day of a two week hike along the PCT.
Around 5pm I found a campsite by a small stream where I was later joined by my German friend “Octane” and two other hikers I have seen occasionally. We had a pleasant evening comparing notes and went to bed anticipating that it may rain overnight and again on the weekend. We’ll be back down into desert country tomorrow and have to start watching our water again, despite the forecast rain.