AsABat's Pacific Crest Trail - California Section B

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April 25-27, 2002, I hiked the PCT from Hwy 74 up the Desert Divide and down Fuller Ridge and the north slope of San Jacinto to I-10. A really spectacular trip. (At least the part I saw when it wasn't snowing!)

I spent the last 3 days doing the Desert Divide and Fuller Ridge from Hwy 74 to I-10. Weather was generally cool, with cold winds on Thursday and it snowed on Friday afternoon (about 1 inch or so). For what it's worth:

I left Hwy 74 about 7 AM. The trail starts out rather uneventful for several miles until it gains the ridge above Live Oak Spring. From there it mostly follows ridges over several peaks, including Spitler, all the way to Red Tahquitz. The winds were very strong, so it got cold when I stopped, but the views are spectacular, especially of Palm Springs at night. There was no water on the trail until Tahquitz Valley, and that was sluggish, but I didn't go down off trail to the springs below the Desert Divide, deciding to carry 5 liters instead. I hiked until 9 pm and set up camp in the dark near Tahquitz Peak after 26 miles.
Heading to Penrod Canyon
Don't take the second trail from Cedar Spring!
Lake Hemet Spitler Peak
Looking down to Palm Springs
The next day I took it easy, hoping for a PCT thru-hiker to catch up to me. He never did. I arrived at Strawberry Cienaga around 11:30 and gathered water. The flow is just a trickle, about 10 minutes to fill one liter. As I sat there eating lunch and talking on the PARC repeater, I noticed my altimeter said I was rapidly gaining elevation. Not a good sign (meaning the barometric pressure was dropping). Sure enough, a couple miles later scatter snow flakes started, and when I hit Deer Springs the snow was moderate and steady. (Water flowing ok at Deer Springs, as is one stream south of there and another stream about a half mile north down Fuller Ridge).
Tahquitz Peak
Starting down Fuller Ridge in the snow, I was unable to enjoy the views, and concerned myself more with losing altitude and finding a sheltered place to camp. All this while slipping on the occassional patch of ice (but no ice axe was needed). Arriving at the Fuller Ridge trailhead at 5:00, I found a large overhanging boulder to set my Silshelter (a cross between a tarp and a tent). Aware of possible hypothermia, I crawled inside my sleeping bag and made a large pot of chicken flavored rice soup with beef jerky. It really did taste great - and it was warm. Watching the snow slide off my tarp, I tried to hit the repeater for the hikers net, but couldn't, so I drifted off to sleep.
The Silshelter set up under a big rock - hiding from the snow
The next day was clear and sunny, and I headed down down down 16 miles to the bottom of Snow Creek, then across the desert floor to I-10. The hardest mile of the whole trip was the very last: 40 mph head wind with ankle deep sand below I-10, under the freeway, to my wife with the car.
North face of San Jacinto San Gorgonio
San Jacinto Looking down to West Palm Springs Village
Snow Creek Snow Creek water fountain
Thank you Desert Water Agency for some great water

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