Mile 41 - 71 | Windiest of all winds.
We had a lazy morning as we couldn’t go anywhere until the post office opened at 9. Waking up in a protected campsite with bathrooms and a table to sit at felt a bit like cheating but we decided to enjoy it while it lasted because it was a luxury! It was an easy decision to go for breakfast at the Pinehouse cafe and tavern before getting our post. We were so eager for eggs and coffee we were gathering out the front before they even opened. A small crowd formed as we weren’t the only ones with the same idea!
Anyone that knows me, knows I like eggs for breakfast, this place delivered! There were other things on the menu but I didn’t even make it past the three egg omelette with a choice of three toppings. I went for cheese, spinach and avocado! It was dreamy!
They took everyone’s food orders and we gave our names to be called up to pay and get our drinks. We’d read comments that this small town (about 5 buildings) was unfriendly but they were nothing but welcoming to us! I can’t even guess how many eggs they had to cook and they were busy right from the get go! The only thing that was a little amusing was that you couldn’t have more than three toppings on your omelette even if you wanted to pay for more! I had a great old time feasting away and chatting with some new faces and a few familiar faces.
It took some will power to leave the cosy cafe but we had miles to hike and post to pick up. We sent a a few bits of food to Mount Laguna store because we heard it was pricey to resupply there (they weren’t kidding!!) It also cost $5 to collect our box. Luckily Claire and I had shared a box! I also had massively overpacked for the first section so had more than enough tuna and ramen to keep me going!
We made use of the facilities one more time before heading out. It was almost as if we had forgotten how high up we were because it was a nice surprise being up in the mountains again! We could see so far ahead of us, just mountains after mountains. Were those bigger than the one we were on? It was quite windy too, we wondered amongst ourselves if we would be coming down at all today to get out of the wind to camp.
The terrain was different again, this time there was less brush and trees, it was quite easy hiking terrain with gentle switchbacks to take us round the mountains. We spotted some snowy peaks in the distance and later confirmed that it was Mt. San Jacinto we could see! We’ll be climbing you soon!!
The wind was incredible on the view point we had walked out to. We caught up to a lady who i’d chatted to briefly in the bathrooms at the camp ground, we were equally impressed and appreciative of the views. As she was heading out she took a tumble in the wind, turns out she’d broken one of her carbon trekking poles and it had given way. Mary, I hope REI sorted you out with new poles and that you’re alright!
We were heads down into the wind and almost walked right over the 50 mile mark! This was the furthest I had hiked continually, it was a bit of a hobbits leaving the Shire moment! If this is how good crossing 50 is, how amazing is it going to be crossing 100, 500, 1000? It was a real moral boost!
We stopped at a picnic ground that seemed to appear from nowhere for lunch. It was so windy I had to sit on my socks and I lost a bit of ramen to the wind! We passed a few other hikers and the word on our lips was WIND. It was so windy, where will you camp? How will you camp? Shall we cowboy? (Sleep without a shelter).
The trail suddenly turned onto what looked like a gravel road, it didn’t seem right but Guthook (the navigation app) said it was the way. The gravel road got increasingly more narrow and the drop on the right got bigger and deeper, before we knew it we were shimmying along a very windy edge of a mountain. It was breathtaking!
Apologies for the gif, the video just doesn’t do it justice. Our voices were lost to the wind and to the view, I was quite emotional. We could see where we had walked from, we could almost see where we were walking to. We are on the PCT, we are really doing it.
It didn’t take long though for the elated feelings to turn to concern about the wind. It hadn’t died down and we had no signal to check the forcast. We found a drainage ditch that ran across the trail and walked down it a way. It was very windy still but at least there was space to pitch tents. I tried to put mine up but the ground was too soft and the stakes were whipped out as soon as any wind got under the tent tarp. We ummed and ahhhed about what to do and did a team vote on hiking through the night or cowboy camping. The consensus was to put Claire’s tent up for me and Claire with my tent pegs and Miles, Pyro and Matt get into Matt’s tent. The clouds were racing over ahead, it looked like it would rain. They were moving so fast it was like watching a timelapse of the sky.
We chucked on every piece of clothing we had, all we could do was batten down the hatches and try to sleep. I didn’t even have dinner!!
We surfaced bleary eyed and thoroughly sandblasted. My legs were spent the night being lifted every time the wind smashed through the tent, everything was covered in sand. Well, we survived!
The wind was all but gone as we charged through the miles. More mountains side snaking, round and round with views everywhere we went.
We saught shade and found a dry river bank and devoured our lunches. I hadn’t had dinner or breakfast so I was fighting hard not to eat everything in my food bag. We met Christopher Robin and Zero here who went off in search of some water (the wrong way, easy to do as the comments left about water were ambiguous). Christopher Robin earned his trail name due to his Winnie the Pooh bear tucked into his backpack, Zero got his due to every item of clothing he was wearing was by the brand Zero!
We didn’t stop for water here and instead pushed on in the heat of the day to a water pipe that we had read was still running
There was a big rusty looking tap but that did nothing if you turned it, just to the front of the faucet there was a little black switch. A guy who was there before us had filled some of the bottles left behind as it was reported that the tap wasn’t always on so it was a mini water cache for thirsty hikers.
The final section of our hike was my most favourite yet. It was hot and seemingly endless but it was beautiful. More edge-of-the-mounting shimmying, loads of flowers and miles of views and visibility ahead of us. My favourite thing is when the trail sneaks up and round and looks like it drops off into oblivion.
We collapsed into the flattest campsite we could find and slept deep and heavy! As if we couldn’t be any more jammy, the sunrise was unbelievable!