Day 10 – Pacific Crest Trail (28 miles)
It was a warm night on top of San Jacinto until the wind picked up around midnight. Because I was too lazy to set up my tarp, I opened my umbrella and jammed the shaft under my sleeping pad. It stopped the wind to my upper body. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
At 4:30 I became quite cold from the wind. It was so close to dawn that I curled up in the fetal position behind the umbrella and went back to sleep again.
I woke up a little later then usual at 6:30. Missing sunrise but getting an hour more sleep, I set off.
Due to the snow patches, I constantly lost the trail back to the PCT. Once on the PCT, I filled up my water bottles and headed along Fuller Ridge, one of the highlights of the desert.
It was fantastic walking between fir trees and huge granite boulders, all the while alternating between views of San Jacinto Summit and the valley floor / San Bernadino Range.
Then came the decent. The PCT is known for its easily graded trail, but this decent takes it to another level. Switchback after Switchback – some that don’t even descend.
As Douglas Adams would have noted if he went down:
This decent is long. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly long it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to the decent from San Jacinto.
Once down, I sat in the shade and drank as much water as I could. I would be camping dry tonight.
I set out across the desert valley. It’s 5 miles of deep sand can be very slow going. I found it fun trying to scout ahead for slightly crusty sand that would support my weight.
I was going to press on into the hills again to get away from the wind, but ran into the crew I ate with at the Paradise Cafe a few days earlier. It was a windy campsite, but I decided to eat dinner and camp with them.
Over 10,000ft (3,000m) decent today!