SORRY GUYS, BEEN WITHOUT SIGNAL!!! UPDATING ALL ENTRIES ASAP! THANK YOU TO ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG FOR HANGING IN THERE!!
Today was probably the most difficult terrain I've done since the beginning of this thing. Having said that, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Only went 12.1 miles today but it was intense and made that much harder because of the elevation. We were up early, I was glad to have zero condensation on anything. Waking up at seven thousand feet wet would not be ideal.
Still below freezing and waiting for the sun, I packed in a hurry so I could get moving and get warm. Joes water bottle had actually frozen in the night.
As I scarfed down food and broke down my tent the sun broke over the mountains and warmed my bones and it was the best feeling, like standing in front of a heater. Its funny how sometimes out here you're cursing the sun and sometimes you're so grateful.
Today we entered the San Jacinto Wilderness, and the scenery was amazing. We went from expansive desert vistas to a literal winter wonderland. At certain points I felt like I was in the Alps.
We had our first snow traverse across a sketchy angle today. There was no warm up period, just walked around the corner from our campsite to the North facing side and BOOM. Steep, icy snow. Glad we stopped where we did. Got to try out my microspikes ( lightweight crampons or spikes for your shoes) for the first time, they were awesome and made the snow and ice traverses way easier.
It was a long, grueling day.
After that first traverse, we pushed up and around three mountains through patches of snow to a saddle that was clear at 8228 ft where we made camp at mile 175.6.
We were exhausted both due to the climb and the altitude and Joe was feeling really ill so I agreed to make the run to Cedar spring and back to refill our water to take us through the night and the next day. It was only supposed to be a half mile there and a half mile back so carrying about 7 liters for the two of us wouldn't be that bad. Or so I thought.
The trail ended up going almost straight down that half mile and I lost most of the elevation I had just gained in the last few hrs to get to the spring. The trail was rocky and strenous and right before the water it cut into a dark wooded crevice of the mountain. It was kind of a creepy place to be alone late in the day as the sun barely cut through canopy of ancient cedar and pine trees..I felt like something was gonna pop out the whole time I was purifying the water. It was worth it though- cedar spring had the most clean and clear and FLOWING water since the border. 100% floatie-free!
That night was cold but clear and the moon lit the meadow just enough to see around our camp. I tried my best to angle my tent in case of wind but that high up there's not much you can do past tucking in below a ridge or feature that blocks most of it. Suprisingly it was a quiet night, until about 4:30 in the morning when the wind came wailing through so hard against my tent walls it was actually pushing me over in my sleeping bag. I slept fine. :)
Trail Angel Dave warned us that these San Jacinto Mountains seem to have a mind of their own, that they could be dangerous. He made them almost sound mystical even. He told us that the last guy who died here, his body wasn't found for a year. He was only found because two hikers got lost as well. They lived because of the supplies in his pack.
It's definitely isolated out here. I'm being extremely careful. We'll see if these mountains live up to their reputation.