May 11, 2012
It’s very cold outside the tent in the morning. We delay getting out of our sleeping bags. Eventually we get moving.
Hollywood, Phil, and a hiker whose name I don’t remember stop at the stream near our camp to refill their water. We chat a bit but mostly watch. We watch them and they watch us. It’s not rude or anything. We call it watching TV. A new daily reality show of sorts. For some reason, it’s more interesting to watch others do the same things we do every day: get water, eat, pack up, mess with gear. Maybe something to do with familiarity and routine of the people you’re with day after day. Our favorite TV is day hikers, car campers, and Boy Scouts.
We stop at the North Fork of the San Jacinto River to refill water. We hang out awhile and enjoy the little waterfall tumbling over the trail. The trail continues up until we reach Castle Rock then we descend. There’s a lot of snow in the shade under the forest canopy. Sometimes it covers the trail so we just follow the track of the hikers ahead of us through in the snow until it comes to snow free tread.
We reach a parking lot next to some picnic tables. Break time. Hollywood and company are already taking a break there. So are a number of other hikers. Damsel and Lucy (the dog) arrive. Damsel says they took a wrong trail and went part way up Mount San Jacinto. Highlife rolls in. He says he took the wrong fork at a trail junction and also went part way up San Jancinto. I don’t feel so bad about my geographical confusion yesterday. At least I stayed on the Pacific Crest Trail with my backtracking.
We hike down Fuller Ridge through fir, drop through pines, and then walk in desert again. Back to pushing through thorny ceanothus, avoiding cactus needles, and keeping eyes and ears alert for buzzing snakes. It’s dusk and still eight miles to water and the bottom of Fuller Ridge. We camp and set up for sleeping under the stars until bugs are crawling under my shirt and in my sleeping bag. We hurriedly put up the tent sans rainfly, and shoo out the remaining bugs.
PCT Day 24: 12.4 miles hiked. Camped near trail mile 198 on Fuller Ridge.