Day 110 (10/21/10)
: As usual, we don't sleep very well in civilization -- we camped in a nice, comfy, sandy wash, but heard too much traffic from the I-15 and trains passing through the night. When the alarm goes off, we hear drizzle outside, so we ignore the wake-up call and sleep in until 7am. By then, the drizzle downgraded to a fog, so we get ready to hike. It's windy today and there are clouds in the near distance all around us, but none just above. It's nice to be warm for a change! We aren't the only ones who are enjoying the weather -- Shirley finds three baby rattle snakes within 2 miles of one another.
None of them made any noise as she passed by, but one tried to strike...yikes, that made her heart skip a beat! By late afternoon, we make our way around Silverwood Lake and marvel over the facilities available for boaters. Not a single person out today, but it looks like the place would be a zoo on a sunny weekend. Somehow, even with all our breaks and late start today, we do 25 miles by 6:30pm and call it an early night. Day 111
: As we get to the entrance of Deep Creek, we face our first challenge of the day -- it is difficult to find where to cross the creek amid the tall, overgrown bushes and grass. We remove our shoes and attempt to make it across a knee-deep pool and onto a sand bank only to be stopped by the dense, prickly brush. We go back across the pool and head downstream, eventually finding the right place to cross with water just above Shirley's upper thighs. Now, we head into the canyon and hike above Deep Creek for about 10 miles along the canyon walls. Soon, the terrain changes from sandy hills and shrubs to pine -- a sign that tells us we are getting closer to Big Bear. We follow Holcomb Creek and end the day at 26 miles. We find a nice, flat place to camp with a fire ring, so we figure we might as well dine on HOT hot dogs for a change...delicious! Day 112
: We crank through the first 6 miles of the day so we can meet two friends from Los Angeles (Larry and Kevin) who are going to hike with us for the next 2 days. We get to the meeting point half-an-hour early, but they are early as well...and they've brought us fresh fruits and moon cakes, yum! The next 18 miles together fly by not just because we keep a good pace going, but also because we're having such a good time. We take some long breaks and try to kill time, but we still make it to our next destination early. We're at Doble Canyon Trail camp and it's not even 5pm -- we aren't supposed to be here until 6pm to meet more friends to camp for the night.
As Yannick ans Shirley wait by the road, some guys stop along the road and give us some beers for being PCT hikers. By the time Luke and Maren arrive, Kevin and Larry have a collected a big pile of fire wood and have an awesome camp fire going. We warm up the burritos Luke brought on the grill and feast. We hang out by the fire for a few hours catching up on everyone's lives, then hit the sack. Day 113
: Our party of six wake up at 6:15am and we are all in the mood to cover the 17 miles to the spot where Larry left his car for the shuttle. Luke and Maren originally planned on doing about 5 miles, but they couldn't resist trippling their goal and making personal distance records for themselves. Nice attitude! :) We all move at a good pace an enjoy lively conversations. Time flies when we're having a good time with friends.
At 2:45pm, we arrive at the terminus where we get to enjoy the "animal cages," as indicated on our maps. Lions, tigers, grizzly bears, cougars, and racoons put up a show for us. Then it's time to say thank you and good bye to our friends and continue to walk alone towards the Mexican border. We put in another 11 miles that afternoon despite the ever shortening daylight. The wind gusts get really stong that night and shake the tent violently. Day 114
: We wake up to a dense fog and strong winds push the tent walls against our bodies as we lay in our sleeping bags. One of Yannick's socks blew away in the wind over night, but he is able to find it in the bushes. As we start hiking, we begin to descend into a canyon towards the I-10 freeway. There is a creek running and we end up crossing it several dozen times throught the day, sometimes hopping over boulders, onto rocks, and through dense brush. Shirley gets her foot wet once when a rock rolled as she put her full weight onto it -- other than that, things go smoothly. Soon, we ascend back up the canyon walls and get great views of the terrain we just crossed as well as the town of Desert Hot Springs.
In the afternoon, we make our way down White Water Canyon and over another set of hills. The wind picks up and the sky over San Gorgonio looks threatening, but as we drop down into a wind farm, the clouds dissipate overhead.. We witness another beautiful red sunset as we near Cabazon. Hiking in the dark, we listen to coyote yelping close by. At 7pm, we set up camp a mile from the 10 freeway -- we are one day early and decide to skip doing a resupply and push on to Idyllwild instead since we have a little bit of food left.
We are now only 210 miles from the Mexican border. So close! Let's finish this!
On this 5-day (132 miles) section of the PCT, time went by quickly, which means we had a really good time. Our spirits were high as we had just left Shirley's parents that we met after crossing the 15 freeway and we were to meet friends around the Big Bear Lake area.