Day 9: Hurkey Creek CG to Little Round Valley (17.7 miles)
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
May 16, 2016 - After a good night sleep I got to hiking in the early morning hours. With only a few miles left of the detour I was so ready to be done with it and get back to the official PCT. About a mile into my hike I ran into a few other hikers so I decided to hike and chat with them since I hadn’t seen many people since the Paradise Cafe. Didn't last very long as they started hiking slower than I wouild have liked so I moved on without them, I guess they didn’t want to hike with me or the pace was too fast for them. So far it’s been hard to found someone to match my pace.
The detour took me right into the town Idyllwild, a nice little mountain town right at the base of Mt. San Jacinto. I arrived into town right as the post office opened to pick up my first mail drop on trail. This was one of my mail drops I was able to mail myself before I left home. I kind of forgot what I had packed so it was like opening a present. It was just a small package that contained a few things like maps/guide book for the next section and a few other things I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in town. Right after that I hit up the grocery store to buy enough supplies to get me to Big Bear Lake. Then after that I went over to the campground to take a shower. That was the first real shower I had taken since I started. I was scrubbing so hard I took off at least 1 layer of skin if not more. Then it was off to do laundry and since I didn’t want to put dirty clothes on my clean body I just wore my rain suit also known as the hiker tux.
Now I was all clean again I went to a local restaurant for a good burger. By now I had been in town for 5.5 hours so it was time to get back to the PCT. Seems like I always stay in town longer than planned.
Had to take 2 different trails to get back to the PCT, Ernest Maxwell and the Devil’s Side Trail. Had a little hard time hiking through town to find the trails I knew once I got back on trail I was at around 6500 feet, having climbed 2000 feet since I started the morning. However I still had over 4000 feet to go to the summit of Mt San Jacinto.
I tried to leave town with as little water as possible, didn’t want the extra weight uphill. The lady at the ranger station told me there was a water fountain at where the 2 side trails intersect so I planned accordingly but I get there and no water fountain. Luckily I had crossed a small stream about 0.10 mile back from the trailhead. So I had to waste time filtering all that. Then my last water stop for the day was flowing much less than I thought so it took forever to get a liter. However by then it was getting close to sunset so I was sprinting up the mountain, was not going to miss the sunset. I was trying to eat and hike at the same time which was hard because I was out of breath quick because of the high altitude. Also I had to start dealing with snow at around 9000 feet.
Since the summit of San Jacinto isn't on the PCT I had to take a side trail which added some mileage but I figure it would be worth it. Near the top I came across an old shelter that is used for emergencies. I had thought about spending the night in it but I prefer to tent.
I finally made it to the summit and it’s just breathtaking. I know the pictures I took of it just won’t do it justice. Looking to the north & east you could see the desert and to the west & south cloud covered forest. I ended up hanging out at the summit with 4 other guys so we all sat and chatted and watched one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen. I even took a shot of whiskey offered by one of the other hikers. As soon as the sunset the 5 use hiked down the steep rocks back to the shelter. The guys had planned to stay there for the night but was able to convince 2 of them to hike the 1.5 miles to the next campsite in the dark.