Day Fifteen

Today's miles: 21
Total miles: 201

It was another beautiful day in the mountains. As usual, we spent the day climbing to high elevations and oogling over the pretty views. Besides Hitch and Chris, we haven't seen many hikers these past few days. Most of them either slack packed this section so they are ahead of us, or they are behind us and taking time off in Idyllwild. Being alone out here makes the trail seem more mysterious, somehow, and more peaceful. But it will be nice to catch up to our friends again in a few days.

By lunch we had hiked 10 miles and had arrived at the infamous Fuller Ridge: a 15 mile descent from San Jacinto down to the desert valley below. It went from 9,000 feet to 2,000 over those 15 miles, and was a series of slow, switchbacking loops downward. I didn't mind the downhill, but the trail through this section was frustrating. It had shrubs overgrown so thickly that I earned my trail name twice over today, with a rocky and steep cliff that had to be carefully avoided.

To make matters more interesting, a storm had decided to crop up and was quickly making its way toward us. The wind got very strong, and pretty soon we were running down this craggy mountain face trying to beat the storm down. I had to stow away my hat or risk losing it, and put on my raincoat as we started getting pelted by raindrops. The ridge we were on had no cover and no campsites, so we had no choice but to continue as quickly as possible down the mountain.

The trouble was, we had already hiked 18 miles and I was nearing exhaustion. My feet were tired, my body sore, and I was running and limping my way to safety. Fortunately for us, the storm blew over before it could get bad, so we were able to find a safe campsite just past the momentous 200 mile mark and set up our tent out of the elements. It was a windy night, but not a rainy one, and we finished out the day with a beautiful view and a rainbow.