Day 11 (Pete)

Day 11 was hard. Night time 11 is going to be windy.

We got up with just a peek of light, packed up quick and headed out. After about a mile of descent we decided assuredly that we were going in the wrong direction. Lo’ and behold, our camp was named Strawberry Junction as it is the junction of the PCT and the Marrion Ridge Trail. Only four miles shy of accidentally stumbling into the tiny town of Idyllwild for a breakfast of pancakes and eggs, we turned back. Resuming our treck back on the appropriate trail for several miles we stopped to each eat our six ounces of granola and a meager portion of our ever dwindling powdered milk. We were high up on Mt. San Jacinto and there was plenty of snow on the ground. My hands got really cold from filtering water from the snow runoff stream we parked it at for breakfast. A small patch of emerging sun provided a little solace for breakfast break. I turned casually to gaze down hill and was shocked to see a bearded man standing about four feet behind me. “Walkin’ Jim.” He was a super friendly guy despite his stealth introduction method. He, like us was planning to walk to Canada yet with plenty of short days and little side trips. Jim told us he does a walk like this every year and has done so for the past twenty two years logging over 22,000 miles. A coast to coast walk and a 500 mile loop entirely in central Nevada were two that he somewhat reluctantly mentioned when we pressed. The great majority of our day, however, was comprised of a descent off the north side of Mt. San Jacinto. Its probably five miles strain down but the trail goes too and fro. Two mile long switch-backs cut laterally along the mountain side dropping imperceptibly in elevation. Twenty miles of the same boring desert view made for a mind numbing and torturously frustrating time. We are still two to three miles above San Gregornio pass and the beginning of the San Bernadino mountains. the wind is blowing HARD and we are BEAT.

Just 10 minutes before setting down to write this I stood on a rock facing east. Out before me stretched Interstate 10. From L.A. to Palm Springs and beyond. Little tiny lights going back and forth. Further East was a cluster of lights designating the edge of said playboy desert hangout. Surrounding each on all sides lay immense areas of blackness. The lights were so small and huddled. Falsely secure it seemed in relation to the imposing void of desert. Four days to Big Bear and the *FESTIVAL OF CALORIES*. Our bodies reserves are dropping and we are both hungry all day. I guess I knew that this would be part of it. Well it is something that must be felt to really know. This can be a hard life.

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