From mile 151 to my 179 there remains a fire closure due to a fire four years ago. The land just stays in a very ecologically sensitive mode for sometime after any big fire. We will actually go through one in the next 50 miles and it will be the first time anyone has gone through that particular area in six years since the last fire. At the point the trail reopens at 179 it’s a very high altitude and runs the length of Fuller Ridge. At this point in the early hiking season there remains a lot of snow, snow drifts and ice on most of Fuller Ridge above 8000 feet. We chose to keep it a little safe and take Black Mountain Trail Road up 8.2 miles and catch just the last mile of Fuller Ridge. We then needed to come down from 8000 to 1000 feet as much as possible so we wouldn’t get caught too cold up in the snowy area. We left half the family behind today in Idyllwild but hiked with Matt (Castiron) and Josh almost all of the day. These are two brothers that have been doing the trail barefoot or sometimes with sandals. Today was also the first time that either one of us had hit the hard scape and we both actually did. Mine was up on Fuller Ridge and as firm as I thought I was standing, the ice beneath my feet broke away just a few inches, but enough to put me on my butt and down about 20 feet of snow. Lacy wasn’t so lucky slipping on sand over a rock & falling on her side. She will have pretty bruises tomorrow on her knees and hip from it. We started with 3000 feet almost straight up for the first three hours of the day. The last two or three hours were very technical on a very overgrown path that has not really been used yet this season. It was rocky and challenging with tired bodies.
We stopped at a campsite in the desert where we wound back up after our descent. It never got very cool which was really nice because we got to make dinner and hang outside the tent without feeling rushed tonight. We could see San Jacinto mountain that we had missed today on one side of us with all it’s snow while sitting by blooming cacti. As Rob would say, nice juxtaposition. We were both sore and our feet were tired when we got done today. It was so much loss in elevation, so quickly, that we both felt it on different parts of our feet and legs than we normally do. I had carried a little whiskey from Idyllwild so we made a nice hot toddy to share and ate some Ramen I found in the hike box in town. (Hiker boxes are just that – a box or bin that someone leaves in an area populated by hikers in hiker season. This is a spot that one hiker will leave behind something he or she deems unnecessary for themselves, too heavy etc. and leave it behind. When another hiker comes by they can check the box and see if there is anything that they need or can just lighten their load. Its pretty cool. I scored the ramen, mashed potatoes and 2 instant Starbucks coffee with sugar that I used immediately). We were asleep very quickly, but not before laying in the tent and talking while checking out the stars together. After two weeks of this new adventure, we took the time to express specifically what we love about the trail and our temporary lifestyle. We both love the freedom we feel mentally from all the stuff we would have to deal with any other time (work, etc.), Love that every day is a new adventure, the unknown. Love doing this together and the people we meet.
The list goes on…
On another note, Rob has received a trail name, “Daddie Gizmo”. Is anyone surprised?! He is embracing it.