It was windy last night. We are both tired from two weeks of hiking without a break. I’m not motivated to get out of bed, but eventually I find it. The air hisses out of my sleeping pad as I squeeze it like a tube of toothpaste.
Today we have more elevation to gain. We will see snow. We will see views of the desert. This can be expected.
Once our home and amenities are nearly packed onto our backs, our feet again express their resilience, propelling us into the trail, further upward. We emerge from the trees onto a sun exposed ridgeline. I immediately need to delayer. I’m overheating. Shortly thereafter the wind smacks us in the face. It’s a cold wind, carrying the chill of the remaining snow patches we spot on the mountains all around us.
The palm desert spreads out below us like a lightly used canvas.
The San Jacinto mountains feel steep. Looking back from where we came it feels like we’ve all of sudden emerged out of the desert and into the alpine. Rocks and boulders border the trail and provide obstacles for our feet. We find a place on the trail that dips below the ridge outside of the wind, on the west side. We plop our bags down and make coffee and breakfast. An older couple crosses our path, stopping to talk. They are section hiking section B of the PCT. Their names are Pringles and DTS. They are nice. They’ve done some PCT sections in WA and hope to return this summer.
A few miles in we come to the cedar springs cutoff. This is our water stop, or we wait five miles. Since we’re low on water we opt for the 1 mile hike to cedar spring. It’s all down hill. Cedar spring is in a beautiful cedar grove, and we fill up our water bottles sheltered from the sun and wind. The climb backup is all up hill. Our legs feel full of led and water. They are tired and the trail is steep. At the top we drink more water to lighten our load and hydrate.
Thus far the San Jacintos are hard. Water is never on trail, and always seems to require a steep descent and climb. I admire Palm Springs in the distant valley below. So close, yet so far. I look forward to resting there soon. Tacos. A margarita. Icing my feet. Mending my wounds. The saddle sores on my sides from wearing a pack for 14 days are sore and need rest.
We eat lentils for a late lunch, with bacon bits. It rejuvenates our spirits, and we thrust up another climb, crossing our first icy snow field.
Over the course of the day we hike about 10 miles, bobbing over mountain peaks, San Jacinto always dissapearing just beyond the next ridge, or peak, elusive to our eyes and feet. We end our day setting up camp near the Apache Creek junction, on top of a ridge in the sunshine. We setup our tent without the rain fly and enjoy basking in the afternoon sun before dinner. Our legs appreciate the break.