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.