Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 16 - North Fork San Jacinto river - mile 184.9

Sunny again.  Its getting a little old.  It's ok when there is tree cover but its often very sparse to non existent.  Like today.
Everything started well.  Short switchbacks got me across Fuller Ridge and soon the trail began its 25 mile descent to Interstate 10 below.  Below the treeline again there was no shade.   The temperature increased as I went down.  And down. And down.
All of the switchbacks got annoying after a while.  You could see the valley floor and your next water source but the trail would cut across the rocky hillside almost a mile only to lose 100 feet.  I started seeing other hikers out of water.  Some were crouched up against rocks or the tiniest shrubs seeking shelter from the sun that beat down mercilessly.  Someone said it was 115 degrees on thier thermometer!
When I finally reached the water faucet - put there especially for hikers - it was in full sun!  I gathered with other hikers behind a medium sized rock in an attempt to avoid the sun.
The security guard that watches over the grounds offered rides down the hill towards the trail angels house.  I jumped at the chance and soon found myself crammed in the back of a small pickup with 4 other hikers and 5 packs. We even went on the freeway like that!
When we got dropped off just north of the freeway, I went under the bridge just up see who was around.  I saw Skeeter, Blade and Whodie there and drank some ice cold beers courtesy of the local trail angels.
After a while I became uneasy about skipping the 5 miles from the faucet up the I-10 bridge.  I decided to catch a ride back so I hike that segment.  Call me a purist.
I set up the tent in the wind and had a sleepless night.


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