Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day Hiking The Southern California PCT: April In Southern California 2010 (Part II)

As I said in my Previous Post (April in Southern California 2010: Part I) I went to Southern California to see my dad. While there, I spent a lot of time hiking parts of the Pacfic Crest Trail. The day after I arrived I went up to Idylwild and hiked up to the Pacific Crest Trail just below Mt. San Jacinto. I had heard that the snow was heavy this year and long lasting. My intent was to go 20 miles each day, but this day I only went 8 due to the amount of snow I had to trudge through once I got up to the PCT. In normal years at this time there would not be any snow on the trail, or very little. Here are some photos of the trail in and around Saddle Junction, just 2.5 miles above the mountain town of Idylwild.



After the snow experience, I decided I'd better find portions of the PCT to hike which were at lower elevations. Another PCT access point not far from my father's home was the PCT cross point at Highway 74 just before it descends down to Palm Springs. The starting elevation was 4800' and I was able to get the 20 miles I desired. I went 10 miles in and 10 back, with an elevation gain of over 2000'. The wildflowers were wonderful and I wasn't prepared to see such beauty. But, this is spring and that is wildflower season in any Southern California year. Growing up as a young man in Los Angeles I never realized such beautiful flowering occured in the deserts of California. Of course, at that time I was more interesting in the size of my biceps than I was in the wonders of nature. Here are some pictures from that trail that day...






When I arrived at my turn around point, 10 miles, I met three young men taking a break very near the trail. I asked if I could take my break with them and they were eager to accept my request and talk with me. They were three Israeli soldiers who had just been discharged from there duties in Israel. They decided together to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and were amazed at the scenery thus far experienced. The other hikers who started out with them at the Mexican Boarder gave them the trail name, "The Israeli Gears", because they marched in step with each other and looked very mechanical. They invited me to keep up with their blog on line and to join them for part of the hike once they got up around Portland Oregon where I live.

From Left to right: Tom, Yashov, and Ishai.



As I headed back to the starting point I encountered a not too friendly Western Diamond Back snake on the trail. He was lying right in the middle of the trail and I just about stepped on him. He was oblivious to me until I turned around and faced him. Then, he coiled up, shook his rattle at me and tried to scare me off. Hiking in Southern California is not all glorious, but he was a beautiful creature, even though potentially deadly.



I spent my last full day in Southern California hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Interstate 10 up through White River Canyon. This was desert hiking at its finest. The weather was mild, the flowers were at there peak blooming, and I put in 21 miles without too much strain. I was sore by the end of the day, but not too fatigued. One month later and I would have been drained from the intense heat. Here are just a few of the photos I took that day...






21 comments:

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sage said...

in hiking the John Muir Trail, there was a squad of British soldiers hiking the trail--they were great chaps, hiking the high mountains as part of their training and looking forward to finishing the trail so they could go to Vegas a few days before heading back to Britain.

Good photo of the rattlesnake

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