04 May 2008

Fuller Ridge Remote Camp to I-10


Last Wednesday’s news about Apache Peak fire was an unavoidable invitation to flexibility. It seemed reasonable to switch my recently added side trip to Joshua Tree to this past weekend and hope the PCT would be reopened by then. The unforeseen hook has been an increasing challenge to make plans as more heads and desires are put together. See after joanne, andrea and I were picked up by cathyn, we were now four, later caitlyn’s partner made five. So I’ve felt a wee bit trapped now by my past choices.

Thursday in Joshua Tree, CA

After taking care of business of laundry, cleaning and a visit to the local library, my go-go attitude struggled to settle to the unknowns. “Will the trail open in 3, 5, 7 days, more?”, “When can I finalize my chore list of shopping and shipping?”, “are we going climbing in Joshua Tree Natural Park?”

On Friday, getting news the fire was only 25% contained, skipping 40 miles seemed most reasonable. I felt comfortable at the time with this decision and I think this helped ???? to quick of our mounting options my group kept imagining. Now in motion to climb at Joshua Tree and then return to Idyllwild I expected greater sense of ease. Instead about an hour later I felt deep disappointment at having a hole in my PCT hike. Not until hours later, climbing and looking at the wondrous landscape in Joshua Tree did I have much inner peace.

Climbing at Joshua Tree is almost a religious mecca. Mom and Dad had generously taken time to search for my climbing shoes and harness then mail them to my host. My foot work and body felt strong. And Nico (Caihlyn’s partner) was an excellent guide.
Later that night we arrived back in Idyllwild. We were heading for pizza when I saw Gazelle and the ever-witty sasquatch in the parking lot. The seven of us enjoyed beer, pizza and laughs well past hiker’s midnight [9pm or sunset whichever comes later].

Saturday, unwound itself slowly. My usual early rising self, joined sasquatch for breakfast in town at a small diner, the Red Kettle. Inside the place was hoping with hiker’s bottled necked as a result of fire. Soon a new, vibe energized conversation. Reports were out that ½ the closed trail would be opened by noon. “Ah, now what? Shall we change our plans?”

Thinking through options, our plan to ride up to Fuller Ridge Remote camp and hike north to I-10 still was wisest. Sasquatch offered a ride for andrea, joanne and I up Black Canyon road. At the pull off, we crammed in Canadians—Collin, angela and partway up an 8 miles of jeep trail we picked up Trail dude. The ride was slow, however Sasquatch kept us entertained with his reported big foot encounter in 1996.

I didn’t start hiking until almost 1:30 pm and made camp @ 7pm. The continuous descent didn’t wear on my knees too much, but I do have new blisters on my feet. In my mind I kept imagining, how I might hike on and somehow, hitch or drive back and fill in the 40+ miles before I enter the Sierras. Thankfully the switch backing trail, jarred my mind into the present moment with stunning raw views of snow covered head wall of San Jacinto.

Sunday (today), I have only a few miles prior to our pick-up at I-10 (so I’ve been resting for several hours). I’m a bit troubled as joanne reported she desires to take several days off to spend with Caityn. I’m confused by my reaction as I have plenty of wiggle room in my schedule, but I have some wish to hike-on ASAP. Part of it for me is that I enjoy moving and hiking as much if not more than scenery and accomplishment.

A positive of this additional time is maybe the PCT will re-open and I can summit San Jacinto sooner rather than later and have a continuous thru-hike.
Thankfully for all this logistical angling(?) of plans the weather has been light and breezy, making the exposed sandy open trail more bearable.

May we all be at peace with our thoughts,

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