Day 11 – 5/2/16
Deer Springs junction 183.45 to campsite 190.53
PCT miles 7.08+3.94 Deer Springs side trail+1 road walk
Total miles: 12.02 miles
Leaving the nice warm cabin was hard this morning. I could have stayed there for a week. I got up around 6:15, packed up my pack and we were out of the cabin by 7 am.
It was a mile walk through town to reach the Deer Springs trail that meets back up with the PCT at mile 183.45. The road walk was easy and there were only a few cars that we had to step out of the way of.
The Deer Springs trail starts off at around 5,500 feet of elevation and climbs to 8,050 feet in 3.94 miles. It was very steep and I was worn out by the time we got back to the PCT.
On the way to the PCT we came across the best rock formation ever.
Luckily it was only 3 miles to the water source and 4 miles past that to camp. The 3 miles to water was also almost all uphill somehow even though it was only a 900 foot climb to 8,930 feet.
The water source was the north fork of the San Jacinto river and was flowing down the mountain. I wish it was a hit warmer so that I could have stayed awhile longer and enjoy the sound of the running water.
The next water source is a water spigot about 20 miles, down at the base of the mountain. It is a long and exposed trail for about 10 or so miles while heading down to the desert floor. A lot of people run into problems by not expecting it to be so hot since it was so cold up in the mountains around Idyllwild for the last couple days. I filled up 6 liters of water and was not a happy camper when I heaved that bag onto my shoulder. Water is so heavy!
The 4 miles after the water source were pretty rough. The trail went up and down a lot but had a gradual decline overall. The trail was pretty rocky and patches of it covered in snow. Thus section is known as Fuller Ridge and can be quite hazardous if there is a lot of snow since you are walking along the side of a very steep mountain. A thru hiker died a couple years ago when he slipped and feel to his death. Apparently it took a year to find his body. Needless to say I was very careful while crossing the snow patches.
Since the trail was declining in elevation, snow covered, and rocky my mph dropped from around 2.5 to about 1.5. My knees were pretty sore by the time I got to the campsite and I was super happy that we were doing a fairly short day of about 12 miles.
The campsite was pretty nice, wide open spaces with plenty of tent spots under trees, and a picnic table. Definitely a hiker luxury to camp at a spot with a picnic table.
Jim, Justice, and I sat at the table and ate as much of our food as possible since our packs were so heavy because of all the water we had to carry. Jim and I may have crushed Justice when we told him there would be no way he could carry enough food to meet the energy demands of his body. The average hiker burns about 6,000 to 8,000 calories a day and can only realistically carry about 4,000 to 5,000 calories.
After our late lunch, at 2pm, the sun was hidden by dark clouds, and then eventually dropped behind the trees. It started to get really cold so I went in my tent to journal but I didn’t even write a word. I fell asleep for about an hour until I woke up to some loud hikers walking by.
I got put of my tent wearing all my clothes and with my sleeping quilt around me to talk to Jim and Justice. Justice ran off to take care of some business and Jim set to work on a Jim original. A hiker and a “woodland creature” of your choosing.