Total Mileage 14.5
I woke up nervous about finding a hitch and nervous about the weather rolling in. The whole town lay covered in fog and light mist and I was not looking forward to hiking that day with a forecast of high winds. The lodge had an awesome breakfast with lots of other hikers milling about, all of us dreading the idea of going out in the rain/wind/fog. Josh and I packed up first (at the late late hour of 8am) and moseyed down to the gas station where I got us a ride down the mountain in about two seconds from a local fireman. Keith was awesome! Made us buckle up and told us all about how he made the decision to get into his career. He seemed to really respect fire and have a calling to be a protector and public servant in a way where he could still be outside.
We stepped out of the car back at mile 77 and the wind was whipping across the desert floor. We could see clouds pouring over the mountains headed toward us and we started up the trail. Somehow we walked 14.5 miles to the next water source and it went by in a blink! I was feeling great. The day was cooler and the wind wasn’t even too bad. It felt like a little friend as we wound around the mountains catching it on the windward side. The water cache was pretty cool too, it’s a spot maintained by some locals who bring water in by the pallet up a dirt road in a notorious dry stretch of trail. Thank you, whoever you are!
As we filled our bottles, a slow drizzle started. We had passed some great sheltered campsites just up the trail and decided to head back there and post up for the night even though it was only 230. I was still anxious about the wind and the other campsites farther along the trail looked like they were higher up on a ridge that could be very windy all night. I’ve heard tales of people losing their tents to wind in this section and I didn’t want to risk it even though it means a longer day to Warner Springs tomorrow and it might be rainy.
We spent the rest of the day holed up in our tent as we heard other hikers roll in and set up, and we pored over our maps for the next section of trail to Idyllwild. Cooked in our tent vestibule: a great trail meal of hatch macaroni and cheese with bacon bits. We treated ourselves to a podcast, Welcome to Nightvale, as we fell asleep in the rain.