Day 11 – Mile 159.7-175.4

Elevation gain: 4,948 ft…WHAT??

Elevation loss: 2,947

This was our elevation profile from today…yikers!

Really cool terrain today…the trail weaved in and out of rocks with big pine trees most of the day. Crazy amount of elevation gain today with a steeper grade than we have seen since the start. That definitely made it tough, but since the scenery was so varied and interesting, the miles went by so much faster. I really liked the whispy clouds today so tried to take a few “artsy” photos:

Today the wilderness dealt us a crazy obstacle course…there was some of this:

And A LOT of this:

We knew today and tomorrow would have quite a bit of elevation gain since we are supposed to summit Mt St Jacinto tomorrow at 10,800 ft. Because there have been a couple recent storms, this mountain has gotten a ton of snow and has been quite treacherous. A 22 y/o PCT hiker just lost his life on this Mt last week which has made for a lot of somber conversations amongst all the hikers we encounter. Many don’t have micro spikes because they usually aren’t needed until the Sierras, but Brian and I have taken every precaution and are always extra cautious when it comes to crossing snow. We have been carrying our micro spikes this entire time just in case…and today was the day that the extra weight really paid off.

So the obstacle course continued with micro spikes on, then off. Walk…on, off, repeat. But we felt secure and safe even though this took more time, it was definitely worth it.

The next obstacle was put in after a recent rock slide occurred. Someone has secured 2 ropes around this huge boulder for us to use as we scurried across this gnarly drop

We weren’t sure if we would have water at camp, so we decided to stop a mile from the possible site to boil some snow in order to make dinner. We made it right in the middle of the trail since we knew we wouldn’t be seeing anyone else today (have only seen 3 other hikers all day and ours were the first tracks in the snow today!). Then we melted 2 more liters of snow in order to make hot chocolate tonite as well as coffee in the morning.

Tonite should be interesting…crazy wind and we are in a fairly exposed spot (not much to choose from up here). Bri made a great rock shelter around one side of the tent and we have a boulder and tree on 2 other sides. But even as I’ve been typing, he’s already had to redo 2 different stakes that came loose. Could be interesting… Also, Brian and I absolutely love all your comments on here, btw! When we have service, it’s definitely a highlight to be able to read them…keep ‘em coming! Amy