Day 8: Ice in the Desert

Memories from April 28

I’d slept I my hiking clothes and down jacket so I was up quickly and was all packed up before anyone but Fre’ek had made an appearance. There were small ice crystals on the tents and a cold fog though there wasn’t any frost.

When we started out of camp for the last mile before the PCT was closed, it was immediately obvious how sheltered our camp had been. An icy fog was blowing through and the plants had up to 3/8ths of an inch of ice on them. It was a beautiful and mystical, if cold and wet experience.

I need to get pictures of it all from Freya, Scott, and Fre’ek, especially sign warning of fire closure which had been iced over.

Eventually we got to the bottom of the hill and out of the park via a side trail. We found beer and Coke cached just before we hit the road. There was also a sign warning to be prepared for hazardous conditions. Where was that sign going up from the other side?

We’d been low on water since breakfast but the only on-mountain water would have been a two mile hike out if our way and with the cold and wet, we weren’t exactly drinking a lot. However, once on the road, we trespassed on to an empty Girl Scout Camp and asked a mechanic where we could find a spigot. As we were about to start filling up, another caretaker opened the door next to the spigot and let us get water from his sink.

At the end of the road there was a T intersection where I waited for Fre’ek, Freya, and Scott. Splitter had overtaken us and I’d hiked with him for a bit. He’s Australian which immediately made me regret calling Kate and Rip Snorter “the Aussies” as though they were the only ones.

We were joined at the intersection by Fruit Cup and The Australian Terminator. Fruit cup had been known for hiking in orange colored long pants and for the first time, on this cold, wet morning, he’d switched to shorts. The Australian Terminator (Terms for short) was notable for the great speed at which he hiked. I tried to keep up with him as we departed for the Lake Hemet Store a little over 3 miles away. After cheating with a jog step every once in a while, my calves gave up and I let him go.

After lunch and loitering at the Lake Hemet Store, Scott, Fre’ek, and I decided to rent a trailer home at the campground for the night. Gear needed drying, the weather wasn’t making up it’s mind, and I was beginning to feel like my body could use a chance to catch up with the accumulating strain. Freya hitched into Idyllwild and so forwent the option to have a “continuous footstep” trip to Canada.

The Lake Hemet Campground where we rented a spacious single wide trailer with glorious hot showers also had laundry facilities and WiFi! I’ve always underestimated the morale boost of clear skin and clothes.

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