Miles Hiked: 20
Total Milage: 197.8
I didn’t sleep super well last night and I’m not sure why. Regardless I packed up all of my things and hit the trail by 6am. Today is the day I would climb San Jacinto! It’s the first major peak that PCT hikers have the option to add as a side quest. It’s very hyped up since it often has snow and requires spikes and an ice axe in the early season. Luckily conditions sounded like I didn’t need any equipment so I went to find out for myself. It was almost completely snow free and the exposure was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. Honestly it was an incredibly comfortable hike for someone who is scared of heights. My quads were burning when I got to the top. I got my picture taken at the sign and enjoyed the cool cloud inversion below me. I could also see the desert floor and where Palm Springs CA is. There is a hike here called cactus to cloud where you hike from the desert floor to the top of San Jacinto in one day and then take a tram down the mountain. I think I’d like to be able to hike a lot faster up it one day. It’s an insane amount of vertical gain. While I was at the summit I also checked out the creepy emergency shelter where they keep rescue supplies. I believe a PCT hiker died around this peak two years ago.
After summiting the peak I took some time to sit down in a sunny spot to eat breakfast and stretch all my leg muscles. Today was the first day I felt very sore. I slowly descended to meet back up with the PCT. It was a total of a 6.6 mile detour but it was worth it. I was taking a break at the junction when I joined Fried Green Tomato to hike 0.5 miles to the next water source which was gushing over granite rocks. A lot of hikers were hanging out there. For the rest of the day I descended all the way to camp. It hurt my knees but I tried to take it slow. The views were absolutely amazing. There were more of my favorite trees (Coulter Pines) but this time less burnt. I did notice a heavy amount of smog in the valley that seemed to increase the later in the day it got.
While I was making my way down the mountain I listened to The Hobbit Audiobook. I don’t normally listen to audiobooks or read fiction but I’ve decided that I want to read more on this trail. In the hiking community there are a lot of references to the Lord of the Rings series so I finally decided to see what it’s about. So far the audio version of the book is going a lot better than the first time I tried to read the book. We will see if I finish it.
I was relieved when I finally got to camp. I counted myself lucky because I showed up at a crowded campsite and got to pick one of the last decent spots. The next camping options were way down the mountain. My knees ached way too much to keep going. Although today was easy hiking it was tough on the body. I fell asleep before I could write my blog. I can’t seem to catch up!