At 6am we waited outside Burger King in Cabazon for it to open. It was situated in a parking lot with giant dinosaur statues. Of course Phoebe (aka Quiz) was ecstatic and got her photo taken running around. It’s nice to do something a little touristy amongst all this hiking.
In Burger King we shove as many flavour sachets will fit in our pockets to spice up our trail meals. Hillbilly them drives us back to the I-10 to start hiking from where we left off. It was an awesome and funny experience to stay with trail angel Hillbilly and he’s definitely conversation point amoungst our group now!
The trail climbed very gradually at first lifting us away from the noise and smells and sight of civilisation and back into the wilderness. Our walking troop spread out along the trail, all getting comfortable with our speeds and hikin our own hike. As the path near reaches the edge of the valley it switches East and weaves up a valley occupied by wind turbines. It is the last couple of days of the seasonal Santa Anna Winds and all the windfarms in the valley are on over drive.
I (Pinecone) enjoy the aesthetic of the power grid, wind turbines, train lines and highways in this desert environment. The infrastructure elludes to the mass of America that we are not seeing through this journey but also shows how the desert can be a place of production and economy.
The path today climbs steeply out of the valley with the windfarms and skirts around the side of a ridge until it plummets back down to meet white river. Signs tell is that we are now in the San Grigorio Wilderness Area and technically White River is the first annually flowing stream we cross on the PCT.
We take a turn off the PCT to go to Whites River Preserve for lunch. We hear there is swimming there and little fish that will eat the skin off your feet. In reality it’s more of a strange urban park with tranquil fish ponds situated in a beautiful valley. The shade from trees was greatly appreciated and the day visitors there with poodles and terriers seemed absurd after spending days mountain climbing.
After lunch we head north upWhites River Valley. It’s amazing to see such abundance of water after sourceing it from so many troughs and water cashes. We cross the river and head east up a valley. The path undulates 3 times slowly climbing, glimpsing view of San Jacinto and San Grigorio. We finally switchback down off a desert ridge to camp at the picturesque Mission Creek! Over all a tiring, hot and windy day with Meg seeing her first rattle snake and phoebe and I seeing an unknown yellow and orange snake. Just another day on the PCT.