It’s been a while since I’ve written again, but it’s because I’ve been busy cranking out miles and hanging out with a new Tramily.
Last I’ve written I was camping for the first night with Union Jack and GPS. The day we awoke we hiked 19 miles to mile 134.8 and then hiked 17 miles the next day to Paradise Valley Cafe. It turns out we are a pretty great group. We have deemed ourselves “Team Tie Dye” and I have also been renamed “Google” because I have so many bits and pieces of random information stored in my brain.
GPS taking a siesta outside of Paradise Valley Cafe.
From Paradise Valley Cafe we yellow blazed it to the town of Idyllwild, skipping the trail closure. Jacob was kind enough to give the three of us a ride there and I got to spend some time with him, which I was grateful for.
GPS and Union Jack had gotten a cottage and offered to let both Jacob and I stay there as well so we could all split the cost. Jacob had to go home but I took the couch, grateful to be able to sleep on something soft.
We took a real, full, zero and didn’t do any miles for over 24 hours. We spent both Saturday night and Sunday night and relaxed after finally crushing some bigger mile days. GPS cooked us an amazing breakfast, dinner, and breakfast again on Monday morning and we also went out for coffee.
A sign we found in the middle of Idyllwild…GPS wrote “Friends”. Bittersweet moments.
The service at the Seven Pines Lodge was phenomenal. The woman who runs it washed our clothes for us and gave us a ride to the trail head Monday morning. It felt good to have taken a complete 0 day and relax. Not to mention, Jacob came back up on his way back to Indio and I got to see him again. It really does boost my morale.
GPS needed to get off of trail for a bit and so our plan for the day was to take Deer Springs back up to the PCT. From there we would all hike on together until the junction for San Jacinto Peak. GPS would summit the mountain and take the tram off the trail while Union Jack and I would continue on to the water source and then find a place to camp.
Deer Springs gained elevation steadily. Thankfully I had brought 3 liters of water because I ended up drinking more water on that climb than I have during any other stretch on the trail so far.
When it came time to part ways it really was quite a sad moment. Together we ate a snack before sending GPS on his way up the mountain. We took a photo, hugged and promised to keep in touch and possibly meet up again when he gets back on the trail.
Google, Union Jack and GPS. Together we make up Team Tie Dye!
After he left, Union Jack and I ate lunch and spoke to a couple other thru hikers before getting on our way down Fuller Ridge to the North Fork of the San Jacinto river which was our next water source.
Snow covered tiny bits and pieces of the trail where the sun was blocked by a big rock, tree, or perhaps both. We made it to the water source and began filtering out 6liters of water for the next 19 mile dry stretch. The river cascaded beautifully down the mountain as a small waterfall and it was quite easy to fill up bottles with.
Views looking down into the forest from the North Fork of the San Jacinto River.
After filtering our water we scouted out a campsite on the Guthooks app. Just 4.7 miles ahead there was a campground with fire rings. Being a Monday night we guessed we would be the only campers there, and we were correct.
Fuller Ridge was mostly flat but did make a couple few hundred feet elevation gains as we made our way to the campground. The gains were tiring with 6 liters of water on my back, but we continued on steadily up the trail. It was nice to be in the mountains as there was a lot more shade than the desert floor and the weather was cooler as well.
It seemed to take quite some time to make it to the campground. Having climbed up Deer Springs during the peak heat of the day I was already exhausted by the time we got to the water source. The last mile to camp always seems to be the longest.
Finally we made it to a clearing. The campground was empty, aside from a backpacker we had met on the trail’s car. There were fire rings and flat tent sites everywhere. You can tell people come here quite often to camp as there is a lot of garbage lying around, but the soft pine needles laying on the ground would certainly make the perfect tent site.
Union Jack and I began setting up our tents. We had a nice picnic table to sit at and there were no fire restrictions posted in the campground. Also, in this area if there are fire restrictions they will lock the grate with a sign. I had yet to spend a night with a fire and it sounded so nice.
After I finished setting up I started collecting dry pine needles and whatever I could find as kindling. It was hard to find small and dry pieces of wood so the pine needles would have to make do. Someone else had already left firewood at the site we chose. I set the needles on fire with my lighter in several places and they soon began to burn hot. I used that heat to ignite two bigger pieces of wood and finally one piece of hardwood.
The fire was amazing! Union Jack and I both cheered and pounded knuckles at the sight of it.
We both cooked up a dinner and I also drank a hot chocolate with an added breakfast essential in it. The Mac and cheese was not enough to satisfy my hiker hunger and the chocolate milk topped it off well.
It was a little lonely without GPS but we had a good time standing around the fire talking as it got dark. It’s only 8:15 right now and we are both in our tents getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we wake up at 6am and plan to get 15 miles to the next water source before finding a place to camp for the night. We will have passed 200 miles at that point and I’m getting stronger every day.