You need special shoes for hiking – and a bit of special soul as well.”
Campsite along Mission Creek (mile 232) to Onyx Summit (mile 252)
I did indeed get a 5:00 AM cool morning start with the help of my new Petzl Zipka 2 Headlamp. What I didn’t completely take in account was that the trail ahead of me following Mission Creek is washed out in many places. During the daylight a hiker has tall posts that mark the placement of where the trail should be. In darkness not so. 🙁 It was an interesting navigation and I was super thankful for my powerful yet lightweight headlamp.
Soon after daylight my surroundings changed dramatically from old burn desert to lush green pine forest. I had read that near mile 135 on the PCT there was going to be a nice campsite with Poodle-dog Bush. Poodle-dog is much like Poison Oak and many hikers were forced off the trail last year from painful rashes. I was able to identify the plant, take photos, and dodge about 50 or so plants that lined the trail.
Soon after I talked to a hiker that told me that the temps the day before set record highs. I now don’t feel like such a wimp and a whiner. Today I am hiking in my long underwear bottoms because the heat rashes from yesterday hurt, which surprisingly turned out to be a good solution.
The trail stayed high in PCT style that commanded views of San Jacinto, San Gorgonio Peak, Mount Baldy, and an amazing marine layer in the far distance. I loved this small section and would come back again. The highlight of the day was visiting Mission Creek’s source, a beautiful little spring. As I rounded the corner to the cave-like entrance, I first thought someone had placed an old chair next to the clean cold water (this would not be unusual for the Southern California PCT Section). Upon closer inspection it simply was melting ice forming the comfy scoop for a chair. Just to think a day later I would not have had the opportunity to view this bizarre formation.
I got to the car starved and very dirty, but thankful for a safe and interesting trip. Next weekend Dan and I will be back in this area to hike from Idyllwild to I 10. This section sports the infamous Fuller Ridge. We are told that it is still iced over. In my world that just means bring more gear: regular crampons, ice axe, and of course my trusty GPS using Topo Maps on my iPhone.