Mile #151, Palms to Pines Highway

Since I’ve been writing many of these entries in towns or along roadside, you may have the impression that I’ve been bouncing from burger joints to hot springs.  The journey, though, has been far from easy.

 Yesterday I got a good dose of unobstructed, baking desert sun while walking just above Terwilliger Valley.  Lunch was cut short as I hunkered in the shade of a small bush after failing to erect my tarp for shade.  

Water continues to be problematic as it’s not uncommon to have stretches of fifteen to twenty miles without a water source.  Some local folks out here who are friendly to hikers have left caches of water where the trail meets roads.  I’m trying not to rely on them and, so far, have gotten my water from natural sources (creeks or springs) or from firewater cisterns maintained by the Forest Service.

Water Cache at Scissors Crossing
Water Cache at Scissors Crossing

The trail itself has been relatively monotonous, rising and running through low hills and brush since Warner Springs.  The treadway continues to be dusty and sandy, with well-graded ups and downs.  We’re all expecting more challenging terrain in the days ahead, as the trail moves through the San Jacinto Mountains with elevations reaching 9,000 feet.  Many are going into Idyllwild, a high mountain community located off a 2 1/2-mile side trail and a short hitch up the road.  With a Chinese food restaurant, movie theater, and cafes, Idyllwild has been described as a “black hole” for hikers.  I plan on passing it by (booo) in favor of Cabazon.

My right heel is close to being healed.  The blister on my left heel, after being drained in Warner Springs, is just slightly painful after being re-drained yesterday at lunch.  So, in general, I’m feeling pretty good and looking forward to some real mountain scenery in the upcoming days.

Dr. Bob is leaving the trail today.  He says he’s not having fun, but I’m saddened as he’s been a big help to me along the way.  

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