PCT CA Section B

Nov. 29: A difficult descent

Another one of those days where I just couldn’t get started. Late wake up, slow pack up, groggy. I think it was after 9, probably close to 10, by the time I was hiking.

The trail started out easy enough until I came around the top of Red Tahquitz and onto the sharp side of the ridge.

The trail was rough and rocky. I expected big miles given the all downhill profile, but I was met with things like poodle dog bush invading the trail and fallen boulders completely blocking the trail with ropes tied around to make climbing down below them more safe.

I had many reasons to stop along the way. One major detour was going a half mile down the hillside to a spring to collect more water. This was the nearest water to the trail all day long and I needed it. The side trail itself was easier than the PCT so it didn’t take long. Since I was stopped anyway, I made and ate lunch while it was filtering. This was around 2pm, a late lunch compared to my typical. It wasn’t particularly cozy on that particular part of the ridge—the cold wind was back and cutting. I had to get out my coat to keep hiking.

As soon as I finished my afternoon drink, I put some water in my Nalgene with a package of the Mahatma rice to soak for the next few hours until I got to camp.

Although I was moving a bit faster as the trail got less intense at lower elevations, it was clear I wasn’t going to get anywhere near as far as I had hoped I would. I kept going a few more miles after dark before finding a clear sandy spot between the little rosaceae bushes along the trail. The moon was well up and I had been hiking without a headlamp to this point, and figured I met as well set up camp by the light of the moon as well.

I was able to get the rice to a much more acceptable texture this time around, though I did have to boil it twice, adding more water between. Apparently, the pre-soaking had mostly solved the problem.

It was probably 9 or 10 by the time I got to sleep.

Total distance: 14 miles

Trail progress: 13 miles

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