Five challenging days

At some point this gets easier, right? Right? These last days have been full of challenges. Luckily, I’ve had the perfect commiseration buddy (sorry for the sufferfest Dad!).

On Sunday, we summited Mt. San Jacinto (10,800 ft), and then proceeded to lose all of that elevation and descend to the desert floor. The descent was surprisingly tiring, turns out hiking downhill for 10 hrs (including several miles in crampons on snow), is quite hard on the feet and knees.

The following day we battled extreme headwinds across the desert to reach the I-10 oasis (a highway underpass stocked by trail angels with cold sodas and water).

The best was yet to come though. To climb back up to the Angeles crest, we ascended the Mission Creek drainage. The trail was mostly destroyed by major flooding in February this year, so our day consisted of dozens of stream crossing (yep, just leave those shoes on), and scrambling/bushwhacking through steep loose boulders. Finally we regained real trail only to find that our last 2 miles of our 16 mile day also included 1,000 ft of elevation gain.

At last we reached a little easier hiking and cruised to our rendezvous spot where my sister and her partner brought us a feast of banh mi and some much needed water (there are 10+ mi stretches of trail here with no water at all). My sister is the best, by the way. In addition to feeding me up, she also carried my pack on the access trail up out of Idyllwild!

I made it to Big Bear yesterday, hopping off trail at mile 266. That’s 10%, friends! Amazing to have made it this far, and a bit daunting to realize 90% remains. Onward and upward! Or rather downward to the desert for the next 100 miles before climbing up again to Mt. Baden-Powell.