The wind howled all night, moving down the mountain behind us and funnelling into the small valley where we are camped. Today had 3 main themes, windy, hot and down.
We hit the road early and heading out onto the exposed ridges and the start of a 20km, 1500m descent back to the desert floor. We traversed the steep sides of San Jacinto via switch backs (about infinity of them), and promptly stopped at number 2 for breakfast and coffee. The wind was strong but we managed to stop behind a pile of rocks protecting us from the wind.
We were passed by about 6 other hikers while we stopped for breakfast, you sometimes forget that your on the hiker superhighway. Snakecharmer lived up to her name a few kms later showing us a boa she found by the trail.
It was either hot hot hot or windy as all hell, and we switchbacked our way slowly down the mountain crossing below our path sometimes by as little as 10m. We saw more snakes, baby black ones or angry rattlers, and lizards that have camo tails. And finally ended up camped out in a small cave escaping the sun and the wind.
After lunch we only had 2kms till we reached the desert floor and our next water source, a poorly designed drinking fountain that was nearly impossible to use in the high wind.
The heat increased as we walked deeper and deeper into the valley towards the I10, a busy freight train line and multiple wind farms. But so did the wind and soon we were wading through hot sand, with dust being blown into every crevice of our bodies. It was only 5km to the I10 underpass but those kms seemed to take forever and made us question our sanity.
Meg had called trail angle Hillbilly at lunch to see if we could stay at his house tonight and like the angle he is he was waiting for us at the I10 underpass with his show truck. We all piled in and then after a 5mile drive piled into Hillbilly’s house where he cooked us dinner, gave us beers, let us dirty up his shower and even wash our clothes. Thank you Hillbilly you are very gregarious, friendly and generous. Oh and also, Meg/5Layers has been busy getting everyone a Trail name. Names given today ~ Quiz, that’s me Phoebe, Mouse, our new friend Danny, ?Blossom for Tameika, Fun Dip for Dave. We have also named our troop Osmosis as we are a bunch of Aussies who suck all single hikers into our vortex.