Day 11: Rollercoaster Ridge

11 April 2021
Highway 74 to Red Tahquitz
PCT Mile 151.8 to 174.5

What a day! I am spent.

We started this morning by picking up Goose at his B&B and then headed to Pine Valley Cafe to see if I could find some things I lost under a tree there. No such luck, but I had duplicates so no big deal.

The trailhead was just another mile down the road and Half Cookie dropped us off and we bid adieu.

The first 6 miles of the hike were rolling and easy through green scrub forest and beautiful boulders.

Here we go!
Eremocarya
Pringle’s Manzanita
Wooly Indian Paintbrush
Cone from a Coulter Pine
Looking back on the first few miles
Carrotleaf desert-parsley

Then we stopped for water at Tunnel Spring. It’s a long climb down to Water anywhere on the ridge, but this one seemed like our best option since it was only about 300 feet down. It was good water, but the trough was buzzing with life and covered in algae.

Want some salad with that drink?
California barberry

Back on the ridge, we proceeded to climb then descend, then repeat as we slowly increased our elevation.

Distant Mount San Jacinto
Brewer’s rockcress
Up, up, up
Unknown species from hydrphylloideae
Recovery from the Mountain Fire in 2013

We took a break under a gorgeous shade tree at Palm View Peak, where we later saw our first snow at 7,000 feet.

Lunchtime!
Oh snow!
Jacinto, getting closer!
White-flowering currant

We had to descend 1,000 feet before climbing up Apache Peak. At the saddle Goose ran into some hikers he met a few days ago.

Goose and friends
Entering the wilderness!
Made it to the top (for now)!
Spitler Peak
View from the Spitler Peak Trail saddle
Chugga-chugga

Soon we were at a part of the trail that holds snow late into the season right where there are steep drop offs. If we had come a week earlier, it would have been slow going, requiring spikes for our shoes and an ice axe. But today we were able to carefully walk in established footprints without extra equipment.

RIP
Sketchy part where Trevor died
Glad there’s no ice here!
Starting to look like the Sierra
Pumice alpinegold

Three miles later, our next challenge was a class 3 climb around a large rock that has fallen that completely blocks the trail where there is a steep drop off. A rope was placed there for extra security, but I didn’t use it.

The South Peak rockfall

Two other challenges: there are many downed logs that have not been cleared due to COVID, and these can be tough in steep terrain.

Tricky log crossings
But some great views!

And did I mention the poisonous plants? Poodle-dog bush creates a blistering rash that occasionally sends people to the hospital. After the rockfall, the trail is full of it.

The dreaded poodle-dog bush
Navigating poisonous plants and a sheer drop

At this point we already hiked 20 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain. We were spent! But there was no choice but to continue since there was no place to pitch a tent for another 3 miles.

Beautiful rocky ridge, but we’re exhausted!
Home at last!

I feel like we packed two days into one. So so tired. But now I get to sleep!

Today’s Hike-U:

San Jacinto Ridge
Sixty-five hundred feet:
That’s how many feet we climbed
Before passing out

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay Harrison says:

    I really, really like the unknown species.

    Liked by 1 person

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