Hiked 29 miles today!
I didn’t mention this in my previous posts but I had to leave the trail at 151 to go to Idyllwild. Because of another fire closure later on the trail and the easiest way to rejoin the pct was to hike the devil’s slide trail (it’s named that way for a reason but I’ll get to that later) close to Idyllwild which brings you to mile 179 on the pct at Saddle Junction. I wanted to get out around 10 AM but I got a text from Pedro to drop by the coffee shop and say hello. Carlos was there. It was going to be hard to leave. Snapdragon told me that a friend of hers would be able to give me a ride in a couple of hours to humber park so I caved rather fast. After a lot of fun and laughs it was time to head out, me Carlos and Pedro planned on meeting at Ziggy & The Bear on monday and driving together to Big Bear Lake. So luckily our goodbyes were just temporary. At 2:30 PM I finally made it to the trailhead, hugged Snapdragon (I really hope I’ll see that girl again) and before starting my hike bumped into the man with the poodle again! From Mount Laguna to Idyllwild that retired hiker legend is everywhere! Again lost some time hugging his dog, Archie, to death. After lots of delays I was finally standing at the beginning of the Devil’s Slide Trail. A 2,5 mile trail that starts at 6000 feet and ends at 8000 feet. I knew this before I started but somehow the absolute horror of such a climb hadn’t really processed in my mind. That happened pretty fast. This was the worst of the worst. I thought Hauser Creek was bad but this one’s the absolute winner. I was convinced that at some point I was going to pass out, drop dead and that would just be the end of my pct thru hike. But by some miracle I made it to saddle junction.
Once arrived the fun luckily wasn’t over yet. Seabiscuit was hungry for more and that’s exactly what the pct gave her. 1,5 miles more hiking from 8000 feet to 9000 feet. That’s right. I started out at 6000 and the plan was to get to 9000. Snowpacks started appearing out of nowhere (isn’t this the desert?),
my ankles were burning to ashes, I couldn’t keep my breathing steady because of the altitude and my pace dropped to an extreme 0,2 miles per hour (like the racehorse that I am). The only upside was that when, ever so often, I found the strength to turn my head I did get to see some breathtaking views. (There wasn’t much breathing left on my part but still).
Then after looking on my guthook app for the millionth time I discovered that I was at altitude 9005 and the campground I was trying to reach was at 9004. I made it. The highest peak until the Sierra’s.
From this point the trail drops to 1000 feet. Bad for knees and ankles, great for avoiding heartattacks. I pitched my tent at another amazing campground and prayed that so high up my sleeping bag would proof it’s worth.