May 8, 2012
The trail follows the contour. Happy morning. But only for awhile then we climb again higher into the San Jacinto Mountains. Much of the trail is chiseled out of the mountainside with incredible views and steep drops below.
It’s windy today. Gusts are pushing me around. With my pack on, I weigh over 200 lbs and the wind is pushing all of me around. I wonder how the girls are faring in the wind up ahead, especially Blaze. Unlike me, she doesn’t present a lot of mass. At least I haven’t seen anyone blow past.
Eventually we ascend another 1700 feet in elevation and encounter our first snow of the trek before dropping down to Tahquitz Creek and water. We hang out with the self-proclaimed herd: Peels, Extra Credit, Mellow Yellow, and others. A couple more miles walking and we’re on the 2.5 mile and 1,000 foot descent to Idyllwild on the Devil’s Slide Trail.
We’re not interested in walking the paved road from the trailhead to town. We walk as far as the main road where we can hitch. Larry-the-Spring-Guy (he cleaned lizards and rodents out of the pipes at Barrel Spring this hiking season) passes us. He says he’ll get us on his way back to town. We stop walking and wait. No bonus miles if we don’t have to walk them, especially when they are on pavement. Larry picks us up and we fit ourselves in the back of his truck with three other hikers.
We claim space in the hiker sites at the Mount San Jacinto State Park campground. Blaze heads to the post office to pick up a letter she’s sure is waiting for her there. Natalie and I head to Ariba’s for Mexican food. House specialty margaritas are two for the price of one at Happy Hour prices. Happy us. Dinners are buy one and get a second for half price. Happier us. We feast.
The margaritas go straight to our heads. Blaze joins us. “I’m gone for twenty minutes and when I come back my family is drunk!” Well, not quite. But one margarita is all any of us can handle this evening. We head back to camp for a food coma.
PCT Day 21: 12 miles hiked. Camped at Mount San Jacinto State Park.