It was a wonderful change today. We had an entire day of hiking near water so we hardly had to carry any! When our bottles were empty we just had to get one liter to fill up. It’s a huge change from carrying 8 heavy liters in the hot dry sections. We have entered the San Gorgonio Wilderness and have been climbing up all day. It’s such a sneaky trail… It was just a gentle incline all day and before we knew it, we had climbed 5000 feet!
We stopped at a stream crossing for lunch. Derek has dubbed this four day section “sandwiches everyday” since we have planned delicious sandwiches for each day’s lunch. Today’s was great. (See, we don’t just eat junk all day everyday!)
During lunch Derek tried to sun his belly a little. His legs are getting quite the tan, but not much else.
As we have mentioned, water is really important out here and knowing where you’re going to find it is key. There is a water report available online that hikers on the ground regularly update that tells you which sources are flowing and which are not. It’s really helpful because it prevents you from hiking to a stream you see on the map, anticipating water, only to find it dry. A fellow hiker had written on the water report to look out for a plant called Poodle Dog Bush (Eriodictyon parryi) in the area. Poodle Dog Bush (PDB) is a nasty plant that will give you a horrible itchy blistery rash similar to poison oak if you touch it. So needless to say we were really cautious. There is a plant we saw Everywhere that we thought was PDB so we painstakingly tiptoed around it for about 6 miles or so… Adding that plant dodging to the climb in elevation was exhausting!
Right when we couldn’t take the plant dodging anymore we ran into a log with a message written in sharpie that said PDB↗️ with the arrow pointing right at the actual poodle dog bush. What we had been dodging all day had been a crazy lookalike. So now we learned something today that we won’t forget because not only do we know what it looks like, but it has a very striking smell similar to marijuana. We won’t mistake it again!
When we reached camp tonight, there where 5 or so other hikers camped at the same spot. One of them has her dog “Charlie” with her! It must be tough thru-hiking with a dog, but Charlie seemed happy enough! Her owner said keeping her paws from splitting and just generally wearing down is the biggest challenge. She also has to carry all the water and food for the dog. You also have to worry about getting poison oak and PBD exposure from your dog that will unknowingly walk right through it. For all these reason, most people leave their dogs at home. The trail is really tough on dogs, but some do make it.
Anyway, we are at about 8000 feet tonight and it’s cold! We were pretty tired as we trudged into camp. I’m pretty proud of us for doing that climb as fast as we did. Tomorrow we will be up in the trees and not gaining or losing much elevation, which should be much easier.