Strawberry Fields to Water Faucet
Mile 182.6 – Mile 205.7
I knew today was going to be a big descent day leaving the high San Jacinto Wilderness and arriving at the desert floor where Interstate 10 cuts through near Cabazon
I broke camp early and enjoyed a cool, quiet forest, the winds of the night having fled. Yet again, part of the challenge today was water with the last reliable source, the North Fork of the San Jacinto River, crossing the trail around mile 186. That was it until the water faucet at mile 205 so I loaded up four liters.
At about 11:30 the valley floor, I-10, and the wind farms came into view. They would remain a fixture all day, never seeming to get closer despite my continued plodding. Little shade and an uneven, rocky trail added to the difficulty. There was no stopping with limited water so it became a bit of a death march toward the end.
I could not bear to check progress on the GPS because I could see where I needed to go. What should have been a highlight, crossing Mile 200, lost some of its appeal because it told me I had another 5+ miles to water.
I’m told the ascent and descent of San Jacinto ranks in the top 5 toughest days on the whole PCT. I have no way of knowing whether it is true but you will forgive me for believing.
Just as I rounded the last corner, there was Zach aka ‘Pickles’ to greet me. Hailing from Philly, Zach and I have crossed paths several times since Julian. It was good to see a friendly face but even sweeter to guzzle some cold water. Other folks are night hiking across the valley floor to avoid the heat but I am spent. Camping near water is a good thing and means I can go out early tomorrow fully loaded.