Day 21: mile 317.3 – 335.6
Elevation gain: 2,451 ft
Elevation loss: 2,238 ft
Ahhhh…it’s been 2 nights in a row now that I have slept with only one down jacket (so now I’m not really living up to my new trail name 😜). Putting on dry shoes was fabulous as well! We were both awake at 6am, agreeing that last night was the best night’s sleep of the whole trip so far…warmer, no wind, and the sleeping pad stayed inflated for some reason (not gonna ask any questions about that!). So we enjoyed just lying there, listening to the choir of at least 6 different kinds of birds that we could make out, plus a wood pecker. It was great. We felt totally rested and decided to get up at 6:30 so we could enjoy coffee in our little meadow by the tent instead of walking and drinking which was lovely. We had 18.3 miles today so we got hiking just a little after 8am. Not 5 mins into the day, we came to a river crossing…were we really going to have wet shoes SEVEN days in a row?! No way, Jose…we bush whacked, leapt, and scrambled till we found a way to cross this “seasonal creek”. Can you believe this is considered a “seasonal creek”? At least we stayed dry 😁
For the first 6 miles, the hillsides were still covered by these amazingly beautiful yellow flowering shrubs that we had seen for 3 miles at the end of yesterday as well. They coincided with the burned trees where a fire had obviously blown through a while back. They were absolutely everywhere for 9 miles straight, and then they were gone at the exact spot the burn stopped. We only saw a very few the entire rest of the day.
The next part of the day wasn’t in the wilderness at all…sometimes the PCT has to go down roads and random places when it has to connect to a different crest. Definitely not always amazing, but we gotta get there.
8 miles into the day we came across our very first lake (I know we walked by Big Bear Lake, but we were so far above it that we didn’t get to see much). On all our past backpacking trips, we try to stay each night near a lake whenever possible because it’s my most favorite part (besides a meandering stream cutting through a meadow). So I loved walking all around Silverwood Lake…it’s HUGE! It was 4 miles of walking, and that was only on one half! Of course it was a ghost town today because the whole recreational center is closed, but they have a marina, paddle boats, lots of picnic areas and beaches.
We had lunch near the lake, in a sheltered spot because it was pretty darn windy today. We wore our wind jackets most of the day which we used a lot during the last leg, but it was the first time wearing them during this leg.
This day was pretty darn uneventful, and we only had a 1/2 mile to the tent site where we wanted to stay when I turned a corner and..WHAM-O..LOUD RATTLING!! Bri said I jumped so fast and yelled an expletive, but I don’t even remember any of that. The 3 foot rattle snake was sitting on a rock waist high right next to the trail and I came around the corner so fast that he didn’t even rattle until I was right next to him…HOLY COW, that will get your heart pumping like nobody’s business! We feel like rattle snakes are definitely the most dangerous animal/reptile out here and I’ve been so happy not to have seen one till today. We are actually surprised we haven’t seen one yet since we know many hikers who have, but hopefully he is our last!
We are now at our tent site and the wind has died down quite a bit so hopefully that continues. We were about to eat our 1/2 dinner for the night when Ash walked up (he was one of the 7 hikers we camped with right before Paradise Valley cafe). We have only seen one other PCT hiker for the last 5 days so we were really starting to wonder where everyone went! We were sure he was way ahead of us…fun to chat with him.
We are very excited to see our friends Amy and Joe tomorrow morning when we get to Cajon Pass! It will be great catching up with them, and being home to see the kiddos and pup…oh, and showering and eating will be heavenly too! Thanks for reading, guys! Double Down