Well the last 100 miles have flown by! We left Warner Springs last Wednesday feeling rested and refreshed after a hot tub, showers, huge dinner and a day of lounging in the shade. We hiked out around 6 miles and had an early camp next to a small spring. It was a campsite that reminded us both of the East Coast and home, it even had mosquitoes!
The next day we hiked around 20 miles from water source to water source and ended up at our most crowded campsite yet. The “herd” is in full swing and we seem to be right in the midst of it. Before getting to our camp site, we spent a few hours hanging out at “Trail Angel Mike’s” out in the middle of a dry section. When we got there we were given cold water, strawberries, epsom salt foot baths, and vegetarian tacos! We have been on the receiving end of so much trail magic so far! We have been consistently hiking with a few other people and have gotten to know a bunch of hikers around us. Lately, we have been meeting more and more people that we are catching up with and have been lucky that almost everyone we met have been awesome and interesting people.
The day after Hermes and I left our crowded campsite we hiked a long day with a big downhill section before we would get to mile 151 where there was a road and an easy hitch to Paradise Cafe to be found. I was having a tough morning and was slogging down the final few miles of downhill with my knees feeling each step when we caught sight of the road and a big tent set up at the trail and road junction. It was more trail magic! Dr. Sole- who helped me with my blisters at Kick Off- was set up with shade, sodas, beers, and his foot triage station. We took full advantage of this after we got a quick ride to Paradise Cafe where I had a giant burrito while Hermes and most of the other hikers there ate huge bacon covered burgers.
After leaving Dr. Soles we hiked a few miles and found an early campsite for another 20+/- mile day. We got up the next morning and started climbing, and climbing and climbing. We were nearing the San Jacinto Mountain region. The higher we climbed, the more the landscape changed. We started noticing pine trees, jagged mountains ahead of us and steep cliffs lining the trail. We had a beautiful day of hiking where we got up over 8,000 feet for the first time. We switchbacked and climbed all day through the forest. Hermes and I had a goal of going about 12 miles before we reached our next water source and where would would take our mid-day “siesta.” When we got there, there was a note from our friend Noah saying it was a steep and rocky climb down to stagnant green water. Hermes ended up making the climb down to get us another two liters of gross mothy water, but at least we wouldn’t be stuck without water. Late that night we camped in a windy campsite just a few miles short of Idylwid- where we were headed for our next resupply.
The next morning we hiked two miles before we hit the Devil’s Slide trail- 2.5 miles of switchbacks down to town. On our way down the trail we met other hikers who were just leaving Idylwild and who were full of tips on the best places to eat and where to go. We met up with a few of our other friends and grabbed a cabin for 7 of us in town after eating a huge breakfast. We did a quick resupply shop, I got new shoes, and we hung around our cabin with other hikers for the evening and made a big pasta dinner.
We decided to leave Idylwild the next morning, even though we kept hearing reports of weather coming in. We had planned to hike San Jacinto and hit the peak at 10,000+ feet, with the weather reports though we decided to skip the peak and stick to the trail where we would approach 9,000 feet. We hiked out with our friend Chad and had a cold and rainy start to the morning. Chad and I made some rain skirts out of trash bags and hiked in those. We spent the next 7 hours hiking non-stop in the freezing rain, through the clouds and with big gusts of wind. Every time we would stop hiking one of us would get too cold and we’d hurry on ahead.
We finally went up and around Mount San Jacinto and started the descent onto Fuller Ridge- which has about 20 miles of switchbacks descending into the desert. As we came across Fuller Ridge, Hermes and I started singing and hoping for the sun to come out- we finally got some blue sky and eventually some sun. As soon as we got up and over the ridge and started going down, we were out of pine trees and back in the desert. We caught up with Chad and the three of us found a campsite that we thought “wasn’t that windy” at first. Hermes and my tent only collapsed twice in the wind last night and after the second collapse every time the wind gusted we thought it would just blow away.
This morning we finished the hike down Fuller Ridge and came out onto a very windy flat desert area with wind farms lining the ridges. We hiked 12 miles to Ziggy and the Bear’s- two amazing trail angels who sat us down and gave us foot baths as soon as we walked in. We are spending the afternoon, and maybe the night, here and hiking on towards our next resupply at Big Bear. OH! and I got my trail name- Lotus!