Interstate 10!!! – Nobo 209

This post is from November 1, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

Made it to my section goal I-10! Woohoo! I then hitchhiked 14 miles to Palm Springs where I am now.

It was very cold getting up this morning. I was actually wearing my ski hat while I broke camp.

Here are a couple of views early in the descent. I-10 may be visible as a thin line in the valley in some of these photos, many hiking hours away:


After a couple of hours, I met a masked Taiwanese young woman who pulled down her mask and asked: “You section hiker? Can you give me some food? I not going to make it over mountain today.” It worked out perfectly to be YOGIIED as by then I knew I was going to make it out so I was able to safely give her most of my remaining food. She was more cheerful after that, as you can see:

She also took a photo of me. By that time it had warmed up enough that I had stripped off the Gortex jacket:

More views during the descent – now the thin line of I-10 becomes clearer:

Passing Nobo mile 200 (FYI – there generally are NO mile markers!):

The long-awaited water faucet marking the end of 29 waterless miles:

Four miles later, the water cache underneath I-10:

Now to figure out travel home.


Unnamed tent site – Nobo 193

This post is from October 30, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics for the Devil’s Slide spur trail can be found at:

My elevation profile and performance metrics for the PCT north of the trail closure can be found at:

I had time for a real breakfast of toast and eggs at the RED KETTLE restaurant in Idyllwild before my ride, Terry, from the Idyllwild Inn, picked me up at 7:45. She drove me to the Devil’s Slide trailhead. This 2.5-mile 1500’ vertical ascent would allow me to regain the PCT just north of the Mountain fire closure, at Nobo 179.

I started ascending with a very heavy pack – enough water for nearly 2 full days – 6 liters. As the air got thinner with the altitude I really felt that load.

Once I regained the PCT, I had another 7 miles of going up to 9000’ and back down to 8000 twice as I traversed around Mt. San Jacinto.


Even after I began the long, long descent, the terrain was so irregular that there many strenuous climbs during the descent.


This poster did not encourage a night of peaceful slumber in my nearby camp:

I am now camped at about 6700’ at this site on the flanks of Mt. San Jacinto, seen in the background of this photo:

I arrived at camp with maybe a liter more of water than I had estimated. I attribute that to the much cooler temps that I experienced today than any of the previous days in this section.

Idyllwild Inn – Nobo 168+

This post is from October 30, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics for the PCT this day up to the trail closure can be found at:

The profile and performance metrics for the Spitler Trail spur can be found at:

Today was a logistically-complicated day that involved 22 miles of hiking. The first 17 miles were on the PCT in the last 5 miles were on a spur trail “Spitler Peak Trail” leading down from the PCT. This was all necessary because of the Mountain Fire closure which has closed the PCT from mile 168 to mile 100 and 178 since that fire in 2013. This is a picture of that enormous fire:


The reason for the + behind the 168 in the blog title is that the one 168 represents where I left the trail but not the additional miles I did getting down from the trail. And usually, when there are trail closures there is some well defined alternate route that the PCT establishes. However, in this case, a subsequent fire in July 2018 has disrupted their alternate route and now they’re recommending that hikers avoid the dangerous road walk that would otherwise be entailed on Route 74 and Route 243. This is the recommendation from the PCTA website:

The Cranston Fire burned near Idyllwild in July,  2018. It didn’t burn the PCT. It did, however, impact the detour for the Mountain Fire. The Mountain Fire Closure for the PCT is still in effect. Those wanting to detour around the Mountain Fire (going from North to South) should exit the PCT at Saddle Junction via the Devil’s Slide Trail. This will put you at the Humber Park Trailhead which is on the outskirts of Idyllwild. Many hikers chose to walk into town. From Idyllwild, there is no longer a dirt road walk option to avoid walking on the dangerous Hwy 243 south out of town and then turning east on Hwy 74. The previous detour had a dirt road option but that area was burned by the fire and is closed. You can get back on the PCT at the Spitler Peak Trailhead on AppleCanyon Rd.

In any event, my ride back to mile 151 of the PCT picked me up this morning at 7 AM and I was hiking by 7:30. Here are some photos of the views along the trail:






I met two hunters at about mile 165 during the steep uphill climb and I spoke to them for a bit. They warned me that they were many mountain lions and I should be careful not only when camping but even just when walking on the trail. I personally don’t put a lot of stock into that concern. I think they like the thought that they might be attacked by a huge predator because they had big caliber hunting rifles with big scopes on them and it made them feel better.

This is a shot of where the PCT is closed going north for 10 miles from the 2013 Mountain Fire:


I continue to feel well and look forward to my camp with the mountain lions tomorrow night.

Highway 74 – Nobo 151

This post is from October 29, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

Although today was only 19.6 miles compared to yesterday‘s 24 miles in some ways it felt more difficult. I think that had to do partly with the fatigue from yesterday plus the fact that the trail dropped into deep canyons several times today just to climb right back out and then to drop down in again. That continuous up and down was more reminiscent of the Appalachian trail than what I am now used to on The Pacific Crest Trail.

Some thoughtful hiker with more time on their hands than I have left this message where we passed the 150 miles north of Mexico point:

The most notable thing about the past few days has been the total absence of water. It is so very dry here. Your whole hiking strategy revolves around making sure you have enough water to reach the next guaranteed source which is almost invariably a man-made source.

After 42 miles without seeing any paved road, this view of Route 74 and the end of today’s 19 miles finally came into view:

I needed to hitchhike to the town of Idyllwild and I was quickly picked up by a PCT section hiker and Idyllwild resident and sometimes trail angel trail named Dr. BILL. We had some great conversation in the car and eventually ended up meeting at the local brewpub for a few beers and my steak supper and some more great conversation.  Thank you, Bill!

Unnamed tent site – Nobo 132

This post is from October 28, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

I was walking by 7am today. I had a one-mile road walk just to get back to the PCT from my hotel. Once I hit the trail there was Tarman’s sunrise shadow cast across the dry range for about 20 minutes. If you look closely at about 1 o’clock with respect to my shadow, you can see a white blob on top of the mountain. That is the historic Mt. Palomar Observatory where a lot of groundbreaking astronomy occurred.

Midday, and after a very long climb, my views on the trail had changed dramatically:


At mile 18 I reached my planned water resupply for both the rest of today as well as tomorrow’s 20 miles, the renowned MIKES PLACE. This is a house in the middle of freakin’ nowhere whose owner allows PCT hikers to fill up from his water tanks. This the fill-up area:




This is a view of the house from about 1.5 trail miles north looking back:


The access to this water in this dry 41-mile stretch is a godsend. I left $20 in the donation box.

Later in the day as I descended toward’s my night’s camp after a 23-mile day these were some of the views. The 23 was actually 24.4 if you count the road walk and going to and back from Mike’s.

This was my camp for the night, as usual, inches from the trail:


At this point, I have to say I am feeling pretty good physically. My artificial ankle is not bothering me and I am not fighting any foot blisters so mo fooling around with duct tape on my feet like in the Sierras this past August.

Warner Springs – Nobo 109

This post is from October 27, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

I was hiking this morning by about 7:45 AM trying to get some miles in before the heat became intense. After hiking down about six miles I came to Barrel Spring where I got a nice cool drink. It was nice to drink water that was not hot.

The rest of the day was 8 miles of traversing this fairly level valley floor. It was hot.



When I got within 3 miles of the 425 square mile hamlet of Warner Springs I began to see day hikers headed for Eagle Rock. They were the first day-hikers I have seen in this section. I asked one set of them to take some photos of me.


I finished early today and have been icing my ankle in anticipation of some long days to reach my next town Idyllwild by Tuesday. Today was a fairly easy 14, except for the heat. Much of my mental energy now is spent figuring out my water strategy for the next, dry, 50-odd miles. There are a few artificial water sources but they are few and far between.

Un-named tent site Nobo 95

This post is from October 26, 2018.

My elevation profile and performance metrics can be found at:

My ride back to the trail never showed and then it took me forever to hitch a ride so I did not start hiking until 9:25. There was a big climb right at the start and it was already hot. How hot was it? When I stopped for my midday break my vaseline was liquid and my M&Ms melted in my hand, not my mouth. These views were a great distraction from the heat, though:


There was a wonderful and very needed water cache 1/4 mile off the trail at mile 14 today. This is the only water in a 32-mile stretch starting this morning. This is what the cache looked like:



A PCT thru-hiker from Maine who was taking a break from the heat was sitting next to this water cache.  He was the first hiker from Maine I have met on this section.  He looked cooked.  He took the picture of me next to the cache.

I put in 18 miles today despite the late start. My ankle is not bothering me at all and I would say that the heat seems to bother me less than the other hikers (all SOBOs) that I meet, including that young thru-hiker from Maine just mentioned

This is my tentsite tonight.  I am inside that tent in the dark now composing this post.