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What an adventure! A colleague sent me an article from the Desert Times in Palm Springs asking if Jack and I have experienced some of what the article was about. I looked at the date the article was written, then the exit trail the hikers took to get to safety and realized those hikers were camping about 30 yards from us that night. We woke up to snow on the ground and ice in the trees, and were told there were wind gusts of 80mph. Much of the night our tents were close to being flat due to the strong wind blowing. Fortunately we have some excellent Mountain Hardware tents and gear that held up and kept the rain out.

The next day we assessed San Jacinto and overlooked the valley below with a feeling of accomplishment. After the long day trudging through the snow down the mountain we set up camp and felt safe. Hiking another ten miles to the valley floor, where the trail meets I-10 was my favorite day so far. I love the heat and dry climate of the desert and after being in rather cold and blustery conditions, the 95 degrees was welcomed. We hitched a ride into Banning , west of Palm Springs, to In and Out and hit Walmart for some tuna packs, peanut butter and more protein. Hiker Hunger is real and around 9pm went back to In-and-Out and filled up again. A guy named Cody approached us and our large backpacks with gear hanging off, and I swear he thought we were Elvis. He called us heroes, asked if he could buy us dinner, asked if we needed money. It was comical. We said no thanks but could you take us to the trial about 25 minutes east (little did I know they were heading west to LA). They were happy to do so and after photos, videos, and some stories, they dropped us off around 10:30pm where we walked about a mile and set up our tents away from the buzz of I-10.

Forty-two years ago I graduated from high school. Phil and I are 1981 classmates of Sunset High School, and how life is, we have not seen each other since. Phil, living in So Cal, and I re-connected on FB a few years ago. I've watched with envy from afar of all the mountains he has climbed and hiking he has done in the past decade or so.... he is a beast. Phil got wind of our journey and chased us down at Big Bear Lake to meet us for breakfast! It was a special connection after 42 years. We listened to each other's stories, stories that we didn't know of each other then, and how those stories shaped us long before and long after our high school years.

The trial is full of surprises.

Highlights: the storm, breakfast with Phil, taking a shower in a motel room in Big Bear Lake after getting dirty and stinky, the heat, being entertained by Cody and Jim (they were a riot) at In and Out.

Lessons Learned: do not ask a 23 year old for his limited supply of food when you run out of food. Also, a hungry 23 year old can put down one single In-and-Out burger, three double-doubles, two animal fires and a lot more.

The Legend, San Jacinto John, keeps hikers safe by educating them on YouTube before needing to get rescued. Impressively he has summited San Jacinto a record 762 times! We bumped into John while he was coming down and we just began ascending.

The calm before the storm. To the right is a view of the cost, to the left is a view of the valley.

Top of San Jacinto with Palm Springs in the background.

Cowboy Camping on the way to the valley below.

Cody and Jim at In-and-Out. They were funny and made us laugh, oh and went way out of their way to drop us off at the trail.

Breakfast in Big Bear Lake with Sunset High School classmate Phil. Thanks for making the effort to catch up with us Phil!


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