Miles today: 12
Total miles: 163
When we woke at 7, it was still raining. The forecast called for snow and rain all day, so we weren't sure what to do. We didn't want to take another zero day in town, but we didn't want to be caught on the ridge in bad weather, either.
We packed up, donned our rain gear and decided to mull it over at breakfast. When we stopped in the Red Kettle for food, we found the slack pack group already there: the boys Cookie Monster, Sneaks, Rub-a-Dub, Coincidence, and Lunchbox, and the girls Kiddo and Rotisserie. Cookie Monster came over to eat with us and he gave us some good advice about hiking the ridge in the weather. His confidence made us feel better, and we decided to tackle it.
We caught a hitch back to the trailhead and the first six miles were nicely graded and surprisingly pleasant weather. We met up with Hitch and her friend Chris along the trail, though Giddyup and Wocka Wocka were ahead of us.
After the first six miles, the trail began to climb pretty steeply, gaining elevation from 5,000 to 7,000 feet. As we got higher, we started ridge walking and the views down into the valley were beautiful. The wind up high, however, was fierce and there were dark clouds hovering above the mountain tops. It was a very chilly 34 degrees up high, a drastic difference from all the 90 degree days we've been having! I had to put on my gloves, hat and jacket, and I was glad I hadn't mailed them home like I was planning to.
Twelve miles in we came to a spur for water and we decided to descend off the ridge and camp for the night. We found a beautiful little campsite surrounded by pine trees and we set up the tent against the elements. Despite the ominous clouds and wind, however, it never rained on us, and we felt quite fortunate to have evaded the bad weather with a zero in Idyllwild.