Day 11, May 14, Idyllwild to Fuller Ridge Trailhead + San Jacinto, 16.8 miles (27km)
Let me start by saying that today was a magnificent one! It was a tough one but so worthy! I’m really tired but I’ll try not to fall asleep while telling you how my day progressed.
Left the rangers campsite in Idyllwild around 7 with Tom & Delphine, a lovely couple from Paris, France. We walked half a mile on the road before we were at the trailhead of the Deer Spring Trail. We started climbing and soon each one had his/her own pace. That’s how it goes.
The trail would take us to a junction where you could decide whether or not to tackle San Jacinto, a 10834ft (3293m) high mountain. I had long before I started this walk at the Mexican border decided that I wanted to be on top of this one so no choices had to be made here.
At the junction I had already gained about 3500ft (1050m) elevation. I took a short break, got some energy in the tank and took the sidetrail to the top of San Jacinto. Not before long I started to cross some snow patches. Nothing really dangerous but still, you have to place your steps carefully. One bad slip and you can easily get injured.
After 3.2 miles of more climbing I arrived at the top and was stunned by the 360 degrees panorama I had. The climb out of Idyllwild was in the forest and views of the surrounding areas were scarce. This was all made up for on top! You could see the desert floor, surrounded by more mountains about 8000ft lower than where I was standing. It was spectacular, words cannot describe it, you have to stand there to enjoy the greatness. Future PCT-hikers, I’d recommend you put walking up this mountain into your planning!
After about an hour I made my way back to the junction. After I got there it was time to start thinking about the water for the next stretch. I knew I was going to cross the N Fork San Jacinto River soon and that this would be the last water available for the next 20 miles. So I stopped at this beautiful natural water attraction and filled up with 5 liters. My backpack was all of a sudden less fun to pick up.
I made my way over Fuller Ridge, a notorious section for people who cross it in March or April because of the sketchy snow traverses. At this time however almost no snow was there. Not much later I came to Fuller Ridge trailhead and called it a day.
Today was all about gaining and loosing thousands of feet in elevation but when you do that you know the rewards of the views will last forever. Today was great!