Day 6 – Rocky Gully to San Felipe Wilderness Area – 34km

Today was an amazing journey. We rose at 4:30am after a sheltered night and walked 5km down the mountain and across the desert floor using head lamps for light. Walking at dawn is beautiful and freezing, we heard owls hooting and the smell of wet grass is over powering. We stop for a short time under a bridge called Scissors Crossing where water has been left for hikers to use along with some oranges and Keith from the army veterans group makes us a strong cup of coffee – and we think about taking a swig of taquila left for hikers passing by. 

Phoebe, Meg & Pine Cone at Scissors Crossing

Moon setting over Anza Borrego Desert State Park

We are all apprehensive about our next clime, 22kms and no water. As the sun rose into the valley we rose off the desert floor and through some truely amazing flora. The cacti in this particular area completely transported me and lifted my spirits. All in bloom the tall spinderly plants seem to sway and defy gravity resembling coral and giving it an under-water like feeling. 

Ascending San Felipe Hills, amazing cacti diversity!

I (Harriet) have recently been given the trail name Pine Cone (because of picking up giant pinecones near Mt Laguna with my long nail extensions) this kept me feeling positive and entertained whilst also having some rather amusing pseudo-hippie thoughts like;

Who are we animals? We are not bound to earth like plants, unlike soil we are animate, unlike water we are contained . . . 

I’m sure this will seem pretty lame in about 2 seconds. 

We push on until 1:30 when we feeling well and truely footsore and the sun is burning us off the path. We stop in some chaparelle and essemble the tent fly for some shade. We eat lunch and rejoice in the fact that we have already walked 29km and most of it uphill! 

We rest and read and lie around until we set off again and reach the second water dispatch. We are limited to 3 litres each which seems so little in the heat of the afternoon. After chatting to fellow hikers about the abundance of snow in the High Sierra we push on to the very top of the range and set up camp for the night! I’m so proud for our resilience and endurance today! Our bodies are amazing! 

View from San Felipe Hills

Meg is cooking chicken tonight! (Chicken of the Ocean, her favourite)

3 thoughts on “Day 6 – Rocky Gully to San Felipe Wilderness Area – 34km

  1. What a fabulous effort…we are proud and impressed with your resilience and endurance as well! Wonderful young women!!!! Love youse all. Gayl


  2. If you ladies are already strong enough to be doing this kind of mileage, and are wiling to get up @ 4:30am to accommodate the trail, then you should be fine in the Sierra.

    When there’s snow, if really doesn’t matter if it’s 10″ or 10′ deep, either way you’re walking over snow. The key is to adapt to the trail as it dictates the situation (just like you’re doing in the desert right now). For the Sierra, that means getting over the passes between 7-9am. If that means getting up @ 4am and hiking in freezing pre-dawn for 3 hours before reaching a pass, then that’s what needs to be done.

    Hiking during the spring in the Sierra is one of life’s great experiences. Those who do it never forget. I go every year about the time PCTers are heading north from KM. Whatever you do, don’t let anyone try and talk you out of doing it if the conditions and weather are ok ie 6/15 ->

    Here’s a trip report from last year to give you a sense of what it’s like:


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