tiffany's pct journal

California Section C: Interstate 15 (Cajon Pass) to Interstate 10 (Cabazon) - Part III.

Days: 135 - 136.
Dates: November 15 - 16.
Trail mileage: 2387.0 - 2443.6.
Distance: 56.6 miles.

We got to see the sunrise from the trailhead. When I started walking, I realized very quickly I had accidentally left my hat and sunglasses at the house, so I called him up really quick. The trail crossed Onyx Summit trailhead about 14 miles out from where I was, and DOCK was kind enough to drive those out to me when I got there. When I got there, we sat around for a while, and he refilled the water cache there. Thanks, DOCK! You're the best.

view from the tail
Some nice views that morning

I tried to get as close as I could to the infamous Mission Creek section that night so I could do it first thing in the morning the next day. I messed up, though, and mis-judged how early it would start, so I ended up running into a couple of washouts before camp. Trying to navigate one of these washed out sections in the dark (what I wanted to avoid doing in the first place) before hitting camp, I fell on my knee and hurt myself pretty badly.

Hiking into the night was a bad idea that night, but the sunset was nice

I was bleeding quite a bit, and had to fashion a bandage out of duct tape and a tissue. I actually needed to make 2, because I bled out the first one so it wasn't adhering to my skin anymore. Oops! I was so happy to get to camp.

Mission Creek sucked just about as much as I expected it to. I got lost at least 10 times, and as a result, I was incredibly slow. I had to be constantly vigilant, because some parts of the trail still existed, but sometimes it would just become washed out and impassible, and you'd have to backtrack to find the trail cairn or post that marked where you were actually supposed to head.

trail washout
Had to watch my step or the trail would just disappear

Most of the "trail" was just footprints in the sand other hikers had made. It took me 12 hours to finish this mostly flat, slightly downhill section. And by the end of it, I was mentally totally exhausted.

lots of sand, footprints, and cairns
Following the cairns and footprints

I kept hiking after, and there were some brutal climbs. There were some cool views of a city in the distance from up high, though. I was going to get as close as I could to Mount San Jacinto, so I could focus all of my energy on the mountain entirely, which was our last huge climb on the trail.

The hike down to Interstate 10, a few miles before the start of the San Jacinto climb, was tough. Even though it was downhill, I was hiking the whole thing in the dark, and the trail parallels the highway for quite a while so it feels like it takes forever to get there.

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