PCT Mile 209 – Steady and Spirit

Before I recount the last few days hiking, I want to mention a story of our British comrades. Spoon and I were hiking during the end of a long day, and we had met a young British couple. Thinking the next campsite was small and one of the only spots around, we moved on to get there before them. Over the next two miles we hiked fast but it seemed like the Brits were always on our heels. Well, we made it to the campsite just before them, but they moved on to the next location a few miles down trail, and so our hiking fast was unnecessary. Anyways, we now speak of the incident as “The British are Coming.”
Well, from the last blog post we hiked some 35 miles from Idyllwild to Ziggy and the Bear’s over 2 and 1/2 days.
Idyllwild was really nice. We had pulled pork sandwiches, we went to a PCUSA church that is considering joining the ECO,   And we met a couple (Glen and Bobbie Gullickson) on Tour de Christ who are helping hikers and bikers as they go across the country.
When we left town we got a quick hitch to the Devil’s Slide Trail, a 2.5 mile trail with over 2000 ft elevation gain back up to the PCT. We made it up to Saddle Junction and then a mile more to camp for the night. It was cold and about 8 of us huddled up in a camp that looked like Everest base camp and had even had snow to match. The night was cold, but having a heated water bottle in my sleeping bag improved my night.
We slept in the next morning hoping it would warm up but it never did. I was the last to leave camp. I had bought new titanium tent stakes in town and used them to keep the tarp down. But since the ground was soft, in one spot I nailed the stake into a log. In the morning I could not get it out. And there was no King Arthur around to solve my problem. Refusing to give up, I carried the log with me slamming it against the ground every twenty feet until it broke apart. A half mile later I finally had my tent stake free.
The ice rain kept coming down and the plants were covered in a beautiful layer of ice and snow. We were cold! Luckily I had bought a jacket in town. I had some idea it would be cold up on San Jacinto mountain, but had no idea it would be only 25 F after our 80F days in the desert just a day before. We hiked hard to get off the mountain, but it took 8 miles before we had any descent at all. Then, over 9 more miles we dropped 4,000 ft.
The clouds were coming in and we again raced to a campsite. We got there, set up tents, and immediately a powerful hail storm came in with lightning and all. It hailed for an hour accumulating over 1/2 an inch in the ground. The wind was fierce and shook everything. One of Spoon’s guy lines broke. My tarp ripped where it was being held down by a rock that was too rough. We stayed mostly dry and fell asleep in exhaustion as if on a life raft in an ocean storm.
And by morning our storm had passed and all was calm. We hiked down and flat for 13 miles to Ziggy’s. We met more hikers in the way. Fireant, Matt from Minnesota, E.T., and another girl we all met at a water fountain in the desert. We hiked for a while with Bigfoot.
Getting back to civilization is nice. My foot is recovering from a nasty blister. Steady and Spirit and taking good care of us and are excellent hosts. Lots of food! And a day trip to Joshua Tree. We’re waiting for Spoon’s trekking pole replacement to come to big bear hostel. Somehow he snapped off the third section of his Leki pole in the ice on San Jacinto.
But that is all for now.