4/23/17 15.8 miles PCT mile 193.8
We were suppose to leave yesterday but the town sucked us in. The thought of being clean and well fed was too hard to give up. Idyllwild said hey, “why don’t you stay awhile, we have a lot to offer”. This town is a tourist trap and I know Darrell would agree that it is a knick knack nightmare. We have no business even popping our heads in these trinket stores as we have no interest in buying a single item.
The thought of skipping a section laid heavy on our minds as we kicked ourself for not bringing our microspikes that were in a box longing to be worn. The detour around Fuller Ridge was long and involved either hitching or hiking 8 hwy miles. Fuller Ridge is now passable without microspikes but we are no longer niave kids willing to risk injury. So we did what any sensible person would do and buy a second pair of microspikes.
We set off around 7am and walked a little over a mile before coming to deer springs trail. This 4 mile trail gained 3,000 feet of elevation before meeting up with the PCT. There were quite a few weekend warriors out for day hikes or quick overnight trips.
Once again we were in a different world, there was an abundance of fir, pine, cedar trees, and large white granite rocks. We steadily climbed for what seemed like the entire day until we reached the top of a north facing ridge that led us to several long stretches of snow. With the elevation nearing 9,000 feet stubborn patches of snow clung to the mountainside, making travel difficult and incredibly slow. For the first few snow patches we didn’t bother putting our microspikes on as you would have to immediately take them off.
A 30 year Italian woman followed us through most of the snow. At every view point she would ohh and ahh and remark how awesome it was. Apparently, she says this phrase frequently because it has become her trail name. She was quite scared of the snow but did just fine and would make in audible uff every time she stepped down in the snow.
We all fell several times when the snow became slushy in the late afternoon. We lost the trail several times when we blindly followed others incorrect footsteps. Then out of nowhere “Socks” appeared. He is back with a brand new pair of shoes and breezed through the snow with no microspikes. Two other Israeli hikers showed up and I called the four of them foreign exchange students since they all glommed together sharing a general dislike of American food. I sympathized with them as I often have a hard time with the food when I visit foreign countries. I couldn’t imagine what I would do for food if I was to do a thru hike in a foreign country.
Awesome when offered some food said, “I’m full I had a wedding lunch.” When I gave her a quizzical look she said, “oh that’s not a saying here.” I guess it means you are so stuffed from all the food you had at a wedding that you can’t possibly eat anything more. The foreign exchange students camped at a great spot at mile 190 complete with a fire. We decided to push on to try and get out of the wind.
As we wound down off the ridge we could see what our future held. A long barren windy desert valley. We started to leave the beautiful forest and were once again welcomed to cactus and open faced ridges.
We got off trail to get water and saw some people we knew from the week before camped next to a small stream. We decided to call it a day and camp with them. The wind started to pick up and everyone was in their tents by 7:30. I tried to dine out for the evening but the wind drove me back to the tent where Matt was dining alone.