PCT 2007 Day 43
Day 43 / 5-7-07 Cowboy Camp
Idyllwild – View of Fuller Ridge
19.7 miles (2.5); 198.3 (9) total miles; 2033.9 trip miles
Sunny, wind, 80
What a night’s sleep I got in the cabin we stayed in. I slept wonderfully. U.B. gave me the queen bed since my feet hung over the edge of the twin.
We got up at 6 AM to pack and enjoy the short time we had before the owner of the cabins came at 8:15 to pick us up. I went to the store for snacks and a Gatorade but forgot the Gatorade. We did go back later and I got the Gatorade and some olive oil. The bad part was I had a postcard for Sam I got back in Big Sur I was going to finally send and I lost it while walking through town. Maybe some nice person will drop it in the mail.
We got our ride to the Devil’s Slide Trail and started our ascent back to the saddle we left the day before. It was a 2.5 mile hike. It got the blood pumping, with the 6 days of food we had in our packs. It was the heaviest its been yet.
Once to the saddle we had to climb more, finally toping out at 9030′, which is the highest I’ve hiked yet. We spent most of our day above 8000′ until we dropped off Fuller Ridge later in the day. As we descended from our high point, we traversed over to Strawberry Cienaga and had the most incredible views of Suicide Rock and Tahquitz Rock. They are both sheer cliffs rock climbers climb on.
We passed the Marion Ridge Trail just after we stopped for lunch. We were both pooped and needed a boost. Lunch didn’t do much to help relieve the weight of our packs. When we got to the North Fork San Jacinto River, we debated about whether or not it was actually that. We went on to only figure out a tenth later, it was. We had another water option before the next 20 miles dry stretch but went back the tenth just to be safe. The water was super cold, which was a plus. Now our packs weighed 8 pounds more.
The traverse of Fuller Ridge was tough. We thought it would be mostly downhill but we kept having to cut up and switch back up just to go back down again. It was really frustrating and the heat didn’t help. It was the toughest part yet due to the weight in our packs. Once we crossed over the ridge, we descended for good. We passed the Waffle King, and then took a short break.
After the break we found that we were just a tenth of a mile from where we thought we were miles from. That cheered us up. Just as we stopped, I heard voices and thought they might be day hikers and suggested we catch them and hope for trail magic. Since the road was right there, we didn’t stand a chance. It turned out the voices were of Brandi and Jared the couple we met coming out of the Paradise Cafe.
We stopped to cook dinner and Brandi and Jared passed us. We ate dinner in a sandy wash. It was just Lipton Sauce and Noodles but it was damn good after a long day. We packed up to put few more miles in.
We continued to descend on the notorious switchbacks we heard so much about. We were warned of these switchbacks and how they just kept going around the mountain and barely lost any elevation. Brandi and Jared camped just before these.
We are camped in what was low brush just below the switchbacks. This area was burned by a fire and the plant life is in the process of growing back. Below us we can see the windmill farms that we will be walking through tomorrow. We had some great views throughout the day. As I was told, everyday out here you see stuff that takes your breath away.
Scatman 2011- This was long tough day. Besides a lot of climbing and a heavy pack it was hot. It was the first time on the trip I had carried so much food at one time. Mt. San Jacinto which we hiked around for the last two days is a 10,000′ plus mountain. There’s a trail over the top and some hikers hike up and over.
Get out there!