May 7, 2012
First priority today is water. We hike one mile to the Eagle Spring trail junction then scramble down a steep quarter mile and 225 feet drop in elevation to the spring. The water is green and buggy. The filter takes care of that. Then we cook and eat the dinners we didn’t eat the night before.
We climb up from the spring and back on the trail. The trail climbs for a bit then drops and nearly 1,000 feet of elevation are lost. Some of the trail is over boulders and down steep natural rock steps. I’m thankful Natalie has lent me one of her trekking poles.
The trail climbs again from the Forbes Ranch trail junction to the Spitler Peak trail junction. Steeply, that is, with a gain of 1,000 feet in elevation. I utter unkind words for the trail designers and builders.
The trail climbs again to the Apache Spring trail junction. I find Blaze and Natalie there and a pile of other hikers. Some have already trudged the half mile to and half mile back from the spring. Some are gathering up the energy for it.
I sit down with Blaze and Natalie. We hunker below the brush and out of the wind as much as we can. My right Achilles tendon is complaining loudly. So is Natalie’s. Blaze is our hero and volunteers to walk the mile round trip and 500 foot drop and gain in elevation to fetch water.
She is gone a long time (it seems to me). I hike a few hundred yards down the trail and meet her coming up.
I’d like to camp right there, but there’s really no place to set up our three-person tent. We hike on. We walk a bit of well built trail that’s graded and nicely switchbacked. This is a welcome change. We find a place to camp on a ridge with incredible views.
PCT Day 20: 10.5 miles hiked. Camped near trail mile 170.5 past the Apache Spring trail junction in the San Jacinto Mountains.