Pacific Crest Trail Update: San Jacinto, The Rock Slide, and a Well-Deserved Zero

San Jacinto:

After taking a zero day (zero miles traveled) on day 9 outside of Warner Springs, we left with a few friends who joined us on the trail for a few miles. The next day we took a short break off the beaten track to eat an excellent meal at Paradise Valley Cafe (a must see) and then set off again that afternoon. It was difficult to leave after a pile of food, but we continued steadily, hoping for good weather in San Jacinto. To protect ourselves from the strong wind and have water we headed off the trail for 1 mile. I’m not a fan of the extra miles of trail but when water is needed so be it.

We then took three days to ascend, cross, cross and descend Mount San Jacinto. Due to the little water, lots of snow, and the limited number of places to camp (very steep terrain), we went to great lengths to get through and out of the winds. We wore microspikes on the Fuller Ridge section and in the steep parts I was very happy to have them. After descending the insane maze of trails descending from the mountain, we headed for a zero day in Palm Springs. Oh yes.

Can’t decide if the climbs with several gallons of heavy water in the bag, the trip in the snow, or the 15 mile descent of the mountain was more difficult. On the second day, we prepared by stepping in each saddle, as the cold 25mph gusts hammered us through. The burnt trees and shrubs looked stunning and eerie in the mist and the wind.

What I liked most about this section was that feeling of being really small when I’m at the top of a jagged, steep peak. This feeling that Mother N. is so important and grand, and me – just a tiny little point. Looking forward to more of the same in the Sierra.

The Rock Slide on San Jacinto:

Yes, there is a giant rockfall fall about 172 km away. And there’s a good handline attached to one of the giant boulders that you crawl around. Guppy slid about 6 feet to the first large boulder, while holding on to the line, and pulled himself up and down. I carefully handed him our trekking poles.

My instructions to her: “Always keep one hand on the rope. DO NOT LEAVE OUR TREKKING STICKS. We are too old to hike without them!

It helps not to look down.

Right before she took these photos, I was momentarily stuck on my stomach laughing because my hips were so tight that I couldn’t rest my leg on the rock to turn around. My thought momentarily blocked – I am looking forward to this massage in Palm Springs…


We were feeling a little beaten down so we took a Zero and then a Nero in the Palm Springs area. Our husbands joined us as we enjoyed the great dining options and walks around town. And of course, laundry, restocking and prep for the next section. Forward!

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Virginia F. Goins