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Frank "el caminante" Qualls
Begins: Mar 30, 2012
Date: Wed, Apr 18th, 2012
Start: Mile 162 Near Cedar Spring Trail Junction
End: Mile 152 - Highway 74
Daily Distance: -10
Trip Distance: 93.0
Entry Visits: 675
Journal Visits: 8,018
Guestbook Views: 222
Guestbook Entrys: 10
Pacific Crest Trail Map
Wednesday. Didn't wake up. Didn't sleep at all the previous night. Foolishly camped in a saddle where the wind was a nightmare. All night long the wind kept buffeting the tent from both sides as if playing beach volleyball with me. Eventually the tent pulled loose from all the stakes and the only thing keeping it from bouncing thousands of feet down towards Palm Springs was my weight. I spent all night with my hands and feet outspread toward the corners trying to keep the tent stable hoping that in the morning the winds would abate.
No such luck. As the sun rose above the mountain rim I desperately needed to pee so I crawled out with much trepidation into the windstorm. One hand on the tent, one hand disrobing, you can imagine the rest. Now, I don't know about you, but I find it hard to pee in a stresfull situation.
Well, I was angry, anxious, and sleep deprived. Packing was a major chore as I needed to simultaneously hold onto the tent, hold onto the backpack and stuff something into it. I decided to hike the same ten miles I had hiked yesterday, only in reverse. I could have gone forward toward Apache Peak and then down the Spitler Alternate, but I decided I had had enough of Mount San Jacinto so I headed downhill.
Immediately, I regretted my decision as I retraced steps and hard-won altitude. I was bitterly surprised how much climbing I had done the previous day (nearly 2,000 feet). However, I went down, passing several groups of uphill hikers including Seth and Twist. I saw a helicopter overhead and reflected that it might be looking for me had I heroically soldiered on.
When I got back to Highway 74, John (Oddball) came to pick me up. He looked clean, smelled OK, and had a new hat. John lives in Palm Springs where there is greenery in abundance in the midst of a starkly barren landscape. We stopped at Barnes and Noble (John spiffy, Frank stinky) so John could get some study material for the GRE. Then we headed for the Suguaro Hotel (formerly a Holiday Inn) with its delighfully upbeat color scheme. $ 170/night - yikes. Fortuneately, there was a nearby Motel 6 ($ 57/night). Showered, hydrated - I was in a much better frame of mind than I began the day with.
Hope to see you on this journey - Frank